Prior to coming into Adelaide financial services firm, Taylor Collison, as an executive director in March this year, Matt Davies was a big bank guy working in the natural resources sector.
He started at Macquarie Bank, before moving to Gryphon Partners, an Adelaide-headquartered boutique mergers and acquisitions advisory house (with offices in Australia and Canada), which then got bought out by Standard Chartered Bank.
Though he was based in Adelaide, running one small team here and, ultimately, two teams in Sydney, Davies serviced clients predominantly based interstate and overseas.
For some, the jet-setting nature of the finance industry might be seen as a perk, for Davies, it was not.
“Eventually, I was flying out every Monday and coming home every Thursday, and that took its toll, having two young kids at home,” he says.
Determined to pursue his career while maintaining his life in Adelaide, Davies made the decision to leave his position at Standard Chartered Bank and consult on mergers and acquisitions deals for contacts he’d made during his 14 years in the industry.
Whilst consulting, Davies would often come into contact with partners at Taylor Collison, and a conversation began about how the two parties could combine forces.
“That conversation just evolved towards them saying ‘With your background, you can do a lot of what you want to do within Taylor Collison and have autonomy to build a business within Taylor Collison, and we can support you with all the administrative back office stuff, but also give you access to our client base and the deal flow that we have here… rather than having to constantly be out there chasing on your own,’” Davies remembers.
“There was a good fit there, between my skillset and what I’ve done in the past and what I wanted to do, and where they identified some gaps within their service offering.
“I think they saw an opportunity where they’ve got relationships with a lot of companies, because they would’ve helped with capital raisings here and there over many years, but they probably weren’t necessarily having that strategic-level dialogue and capitalising on all of those relationships.
“I saw an opportunity to make a difference, having spent time in my career within a boutique environment, as well as a major international bank environment. I was also attracted to the prospect of an existing broad client base, combined with diversity of industry focus and equity capital markets as well as M&A”.
Davies’ move away from larger banks into a firm like Taylor Collison is part of what he sees as a trend in the stockbroking industry, and long-held personal preference.
“I prefer the boutique environment… which is what I see Taylor Collison as being,” he says.
“One of the things that’s happened within stockbroking is there’s been a bit of an emergence of non-bank brokers… A number of your big banks, they haven’t all been really successful in their equity capital markets businesses, so you’ve seen them trim down a bit, and I think you’re seeing more and more of your non-bank brokers grabbing market share.
“I think [Taylor Collison] have also built a really good name for themselves [and] they differentiate themselves a little bit from some of the other brokers out there.”
With Taylor Collison’s roster of clients, and the network that Davies has built throughout his career, he’s wasted no time in helping to build the firm’s mergers and acquisitions arm.
“On the existing relationships that [Taylor Collison] already have, it’s important for me to make sure that I’m seeing those relationships and introducing myself, my skillset, and emphasising to those corporates that we can now provide a broader service offering,” he says.
“We can give them merger and acquisition advice, as well as the equity capital markets advice, and also make sure that those corporates get a bit of a refresh on how Taylor Collison has changed, and how strong its platform is, because I think some of those clients maybe still view Taylor Collison as the business that it was 10 years ago.
“So some of it is getting out to the existing client base and really showing them we can bat with the big boys now, and that we have a really strong platform, and also showing them that we have additional service offerings.”
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