We are delighted to have Non-Executive of the SIA Group and asset-based lending industry expert, Paul Beveridge, join us for the first instalment of our Asset Ingenuity® Insights series.
Paul Beveridge joined SIA Group in April 2022, as a Non-Executive working with the Board and the wider team to bring a wealth of experience and a fresh strategic perspective to the business as it embarks on the next chapter of dynamic growth.
Paul has over 35 years of experience in the lending industry with over 25 years at Board level. He has led three start-up asset-based lending businesses for international banks and a global conglomerate, all of which were successful. Most recently, Paul was the founder and CEO of PNC Business Credit UK. We look forward to hearing his reflections on the past year and learning more about how SIA Group is focused on helping its clients and partners achieve further success in 2023 and beyond.
Q: What made you choose SIA Group as an asset valuation partner when you were a client?
A: We really liked SIA Group because they offered something different and we wanted to support a young and dynamic management team that had taken the decision to set up a business for themselves. We also thought that they would provide us with a sound perspective on our business since Paul Craig has a strong background in the banking sector. The reason why I was drawn to working with the team then is the same as now; the dedication, expertise and energy of the team, as well as their desire to develop the business further. The perspective that their independent status brings to large and often complex assignments cannot be overstated. When working on disposals, you always know they have the best interests of the creditors in mind They also share a relentless focus on meeting and exceeding customer expectations, whether it’s for valuations from banks, asset-based lenders or disposals for restructuring professionals at auction.
Q: What does your role as a Non-Executive involve?
A: My role is all about asking the questions that will help the team gain more structure and clarity around strategic planning to help them achieve their long-term goals. That means defining what sectors we want to work in, who we want to work for, and how we’re going to achieve our goals. We aim to work with the right organisations that are growing and it comes as no surprise that we are partnering with some very entrepreneurial companies on a steep growth trajectory. If you are working with partners at the top of the market that are on a growth curve, there is a high likelihood that you will be successful.
I have a bit of a mantra that the goals you get are the goals you set. It is important to be both stubborn and flexible when working towards your goals. Being stubborn ensures that the goal is not forgotten, but it is also important to be flexible and adapt to new circumstances, being ready and able to take advantage of new market opportunities as they arise.
Q: What do clients expect from SIA Group?
A: Over the past year, I have met with senior executives in the restructuring and advisory space, asking them what they expect from an asset valuation and disposal firm. Broadly, they gave the same response. When clients engage an asset valuation and disposal specialist, they want the availability of key staff, on-time delivery of the output, a good understanding of their industry sector and business, the capability to provide the service most efficiently, and good communication and transparency throughout the process. It’s always important to remember that SIA Group is acting on behalf of professional firms and therefore making them look good by being a good choice and doing a great job for the customer is vital. We achieve that by providing clear recommendations to clients about value and process. It is not enough to simply meet deadlines; it’s also critical to be on point in terms of achieving the value or exceeding the expectations of value for their assets.
Q: How have you been planning to ensure that clients always receive the service and support they are looking for?
A: We have been working closely with clients and arming ourselves with a detailed knowledge of their requirements, making sure that we have the right structure and resources aligned with each client’s needs, in other words, the right people in the right place, doing the right things at the right time. The team has doubled in size between 2019 and 2023, and they have invested in opening new offices, strengthening the senior management, executive team and recruiting graduates.
At SIA Group, we never have conversations about where the next job is coming from. In an outstanding service business like SIA Group, it’s all about “OQP” – Only Quality People.
Q: How do you move away from the pattern of simply recruiting personnel from other businesses in the same field?
A: We are focused on creating the right blend of youth, expertise and experience. It is important to break away from the merry-go-round of hiring people from your competitors. To that end, we have implemented a graduate recruitment programme and hired six graduates in the past year. It is advantageous to hire and train young people because you can mould them to the SIA Group way of doing things, rather than having to unlearn what they did before. Furthermore, we can provide them with educational and qualification opportunities, which is beneficial for the development of the entire industry, be it finance, accounting, or valuations
Q: SIA Group’s reputation has been built on its core values of being innovative, incisive and informed. Has SIA Group been exploring any specific innovations recently?
A: Paul Craig and Matt Earl have always been very proactive in exploring and developing new products. Recently, they have recruited Emily Muir in Glasgow to provide a new service, appraising intellectual property and brands. This new capability has been well-received by clients and is a progressive move. For restructuring specialists attempting to sell a company, having someone who can validate their assessment of the intellectual property or the company’s worth can be immensely beneficial in the sale process. Lenders are increasingly funding technology businesses which traditionally have few assets but are built on IP, so this will only increase in importance.
Many thanks to Paul for such an insightful conversation about the progress of SIA Group over the past year. In the next edition of Asset Ingenuity® Insights, we’ll pick up where we left off, by taking a closer look at intellectual property appraisal with Emily Muir. Emily is an expert in the field and will provide invaluable insights into the current state of IP valuation. We look forward to bringing you the in-depth analysis of this discussion.