Start-up business had successfully raised enough capital to start trading as a start-up investment bank in a new jurisdiction, although other parts of the group have been operating for a little under 2 years. Financials were required for regulatory license approval in addition to an updated business plan, 5 year financial projections, capital planning, budgets/forecasts and a robust corporate governance structure. Clearly, the business had never given this important area any thought or due attention. Only when the stakeholders repeatedly demanded business performance reports and put senior management under pressure, they only then realised the seriousness of the situation.
Senior management had very limited time to present an updated business plan, financials, strategy document, funding structure (including capital planning) and existence of robust corporate governance structure, which included demonstrating evidence of group finance policies and procedures. Other challenges included adoption of GAAP for preparation of financials, accounting system implementation (including chart of accounts), regulatory reporting and finalisation of front office system configuration – to ensure adequate risk management of trading positions.
Part of the PWC team, who were flown into the company’s headquarters, were tasked with meeting all the business requirements within the deadline and helping the business obtain regulatory license. Core team took up the responsibility of preparing finance policies and procedures (TORs), advising on implementing a corporate governance structure, updating the business plan, preparation of the 5 year financial forecast and budgets, capital adequacy and all the other documentation to demonstrate to the regulators that the business was ready to start trading. After 3 weeks of concerted effort, the regulator accepted the business documentation and regulatory approval was granted. This was then followed by the recruitment of the finance team, implementation of SAP as the company’s accounting system, implementation of SOPHIS as the front office and risk management system, adoption of IFRS as the company’s GAAP, appointment of a big 4 firm as the auditor and producing the company’s first set of financial accounts within 2 months of the regulatory approval.
Successful implementation in one jurisdiction lead to the business expanding in 7 other jurisdictions and also expanded into different markets by acquisition or start-up. Initial experience of being involved in the start-up of an investment bank helped develop an understanding of what formalities are involved in setting up a business from scratch – statutory, regulatory, stakeholder management, recruitment, implementing policies and procedures, systems, business performance reporting, technical accounting and most importantly the relationships with the auditors, regulators, the board and other stakeholders. A different but group aligned approach was developed in the due diligence of target acquisition firms – key aims being regulatory and statutory compliance, fit with the rest of the group and robustness of the business model and strategy. This extensive period of over 5 years in the region helped me successfully expand the business from a small start-up to a large group, which now employs around 200 people and is remaining successful to this day in its 8 lines of business.
Case Study: Aditya Malviya