Richard Sayers: Nine highlights from my first 60 days
Tuesday 28 November 2017
Richard Sayers was appointed Managing Director of Equiom Singapore in August 2017. Nearly three months in, he reflects on his experiences and the challenges he has overcome so far.
I joined Equiom Singapore in August 2017 after moving from my previous company that I co-founded in 2005. I have over 22 years’ experience in the finance sector with extensive wealth management expertise in the trust, private client and fiduciary sector. Joining Equiom has been a very interesting and enjoyable experience. For the first two months I worked as Managing Director, I took on various assignments. Here are nine bite-sized highlights of my first 60 days.
The Employment Pass
Even before my Equiom journey began, the Singapore Employment Pass was the first challenge. The pass allows foreign professionals, managers and executives to work in Singapore given they meet the specific criteria. Fortunately our HR team are specialists in the application process and it was approved on the Thursday before I started on the following Tuesday, which was all the more relevant because…
The Grand Welcome
The Singapore office had a special visit from Sheila Dean, Global Chef Executive Officer, and Jeremy Evans, Global Head of M&A and Organic Growth. This was timed perfectly as they were in the Singapore office for my first two days as Managing Director. Their energy and passion for the business was undeniable and provided me with invaluable insight for my new position.
During Sheila and Jeremy’s visit, I was introduced to the ‘Town Hall’ concept. This is an impromptu update to all of the staff, announcing my arrival and role as Managing Director. Within the first half hour of joining, I gave my first presentation to the staff. This was daunting, although very worthwhile. It was a great opportunity to meet everyone and get a feel for what the business is like. I then got the chance to meet each of the Directors individually to get acquainted with all areas of the business.
Soon after my introductory period, I was given the assignment of running the interview process for Managing Director of the Hong Kong office – the now ensconced Peter Nagle. This was an interesting opportunity given that I had only recently been employed as a Managing Director myself.
Welcome to the Equiom Family
In the early days of my appointment, I was struck by how many of the Equiom staff at all levels of seniority from across the jurisdictions started emails or calls with ‘welcome to the Equiom Family’. This small yet sincere gesture truly demonstrated the warm and welcoming nature that Sheila and Jeremy had demonstrated on my first day. I am delighted to find that even three months down the line, this family-focused nature is truly part of Equiom’s core values.
One to one and the Skip Level
The early days were spent with one-on-one meetings with my 12 direct reports from the management team and skip-level meetings with members of their teams. Getting to know the team of 50 was assisted with birthday celebrations with local cakes made from a jelly like substance, singing and photos - a super team spirit.
Destruction in the BVI
Heritage Trust, the business we acquired in 2016 has an office in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) which works in conjunction with our Singapore and Hong Kong corporate secretarial teams. Unfortunately on 6 September 2017, Hurricane Irma struck the island with a direct hit as the eye of the highest category 5 passed across, leaving behind a trail of destruction and devastation. Our first thoughts were for our three staff, their families and everyone that we worked with on the island. Thereafter the disaster recovery plan was triggered and a working party formed with representatives from the Group Holdings Board, the Isle of Man office as well as seven directors and staff in Singapore. Once we had eventually established contact with each of the team we were horrified to learn that they had all lost their homes and most of their possessions. Our office building was fortunately not badly damaged although there was no water or electricity. There was, however, a generator which was able to provide electricity and also Wi-Fi which allowed correspondence by WhatsApp and then email.
When I joined Equiom there was a plan in place to grow the team in the BVI and change the management structure so they would be reporting into headquarters. This had the benefit of overlapping office hours, unlike Singapore and BVI, which has a 12 hour time zone difference. The office has managed to continue operations due to the dedication of the team and our non-executive directors who have gone beyond all expectations in a horrendous situation. The Equiom Board stepped in immediately to offer any assistance possible and the staff raised almost £11,000 to support our ‘family’ in the region. We look forward to helping with their recovery and wish everyone well who suffered from the natural disaster.
Integration and Harmonisation
For Equiom it is very important that any newly acquired business quickly feels part of the group and benefits from its support. There is a very thorough program of integration and harmonisation with a substantial, specialist support team. Whilst the process is always going to be challenging, it is amazing to see the business transform. Since I joined Equiom, we have acquired two businesses in two amazing locations –Malta and Monaco. Growth is a huge part of the business with Equiom now in 15 locations across the globe.
The Client Experience
Having worked closely with Equiom for more than a decade, I have watched the business flourish. It has been a privilege meeting with existing and prospective clients to share not only the history of Equiom but explain the range of services and depth of experience of our experts across the globe. It is still early days and I am thoroughly enjoying the challenges and opportunities while striving to meet ambitious growth plans in South East Asia and globally.
If you have any comments or questions, please contact Richard Sayers