Hey, Tom here, we are looking for new a location for our MarketsFlow office. Tell us what you think?
Hi Tom, I know the temptation may be to locate closer to tech startup firms and away from more expensive locations in the City / Canary Wharf but my view is that, even at this early stage when the firm might prefer to operate in a ‘lean’ manner, it could prove better to maintain some proximity to potential institutional clients in London (whether that be near / in Canary Wharf, the Square Mile or otherwise) in order to save time on travel when acquiring new clients or meeting existing ones operating in that particular area. I feel that the ability to visit MarketsFlow and meet with its people with relative ease may be crucial for institutional client acquisition in the early stages but, as the company grows, the benefit of maintaining close proximity may dissipate and it could move away from those traditional centres.
At the same time, the real answer to this may be easier to discern if say, there is a clear plan for what the savings on rent will be used for (presuming the primary proposal is to move to less expensive office space). If there is a significant, definable saving on rent and there is a clear plan to use those savings for another hire or to further fund a strand of the wider client acquisition strategy which may have otherwise been de-prioritised then that may well offset any of the aforementioned advantages associated with proximity to (prospective) institutional clients in Canary Wharf and the City.
Hope this helps.
I agree with VishalWilde’s comments and I am thinking along the same lines. I can see the more space, less cost driver for this, but for selling to the Institutions, and sheer presence, I think Lothbury takes some beating. It even looks similar to the Boston offices to the extent they almost look as if they are themed.
Is there an argument around splitting the Institutional and Retail sides of MarketsFlow. As the Team expands accommodating the majority of staff and functions in more spacious/cost-effective premises, but retaining a smaller footprint in the heart of the City to showcase the Platform, feature in publicity material, meet clients, and interface with the Institutions?
Just a thought, because I can always see the reasoning behind the numerous arguments for keeping everything under one roof.
Another question is around whether MarketsFlow will retain the people in the firms being acquired or will those firms be able to retain their previous offices too.
The city has indeed many plus points like the institutional access.
Other than the cost savings, another reason for the move would be to find a location where MF can harness the creative energy in terms of the talent pool.
MarketsFlow is on a roll with its trajectory and needs a thriving hub which will enable its incessant growth.
@tom_mf When a hedge fund or prop trading firm looks at opening up a new branch in the States they usually consider the following:
- Relatively young population
- Proximity to decent unis to hire quality grads
- Decent level of wealth to encourage future investors / clients
- Proximity to ancillary service companies or potential partners
Whilst it wouldn’t save you much in costs, I would suggest somewhere like Bristol is a good bet. It matches the top 3 quite easily and is one of the main cities in the UK that is benefiting from people and financial firms looking to move out of London. There are also a number of financial start-ups in the South West (take Crowdcube for example), which will probably attract even more fin start-ups looking to benefit (Silicon Valley-style) and there are a load of family wealth offices and financial advisor firms that could be potential future acquisition targets. Exeter could also be a good bet for the same reasons.
P.S. I have no affiliation to Bristol or Exeter. Spent the last 12 years in London, in ‘the City’ and currently travelling round South America. Just seems to make sense based on those criteria.
I really get the thriving hub, talent pool, harnessing creative energy, cheaper premises, all under one roof advantages of a move.
But can you talk us through the ramifications of the impacts on showcasing the MarketsFlow Platform, selling to Financial Institutions etc if MarketsFlow no longer has a presence in the heart of the Square Mile.
You obviously don’t regard a move as having anything other than positive momentum for MF, but surely there will be a gravitational pull back to The City at some point?
I see your angle @tom_mf - then perhaps the ‘Silicon Roundabout’ area in London makes sense?
London is and remains the financial powerhouse of the U.K., and arguably the leading centre of the world. A base in London is essential I would argue.
The silicon roundabout would be good, it gives access to talented tech people but is also on close proximity of all the financial institutions.
It gives the perfect blend of creativity and financial services.
Thanks all, yes it is safe to say MF will remain in London, although @JamesWhitt Bristol is not a bad alternative considering all your points.
So, we are thinking Farringdon. It is very close to the City, yet has that quirky, edgy and creative vibe. It has a mix of creative, tech and finance businesses. It also provides access to young, energetic and enthusiastic talent pool.
On the face of it, will the Holt Capital tie-up impact on the premises decision?
I agree with all of the arguments that MF would have difficulty justifying operating from two sets of premises at this stage of development. But, Lothbury was chosen very carefully, for very specific reasons, and to me is still the perfect shop-window, for selling the MF Platform to the high end fund managers, global wealth managers etc. Possibly it was part of the image, and indications of MF direction of thinking and ambition that was part of the Holt decision.
A creative hub, with more space, is essential and I fully agree that this happens quickly. But MF is now addressing two completely separate market opportunities: the Accessible Portfolios, and the global capital managers - two sets of premises would be costly, but would they justify the expense sufficiently quickly? - or do I like the Lothbury premises, image, persona and location too much?
This may not be an issue initially as the team is quite small. Once it ramps up, what I typically see - and what my company did - is that you have a smaller “shopfront” in the City for engagements with the financial services firms, and a larger “digital garage” style in Shoreditch or similar where the scrum teams sit.
The former is dearer money wise but needed for reputational issues, the latter is more creative and lower-cost.
However, at this moment in time Tom is not only CEO but also, in agile terms, the product owner for the platform so co-location is essential. As the tech team grows, he will eventually have to appoint a product owner, who can then migrate with the scrum teams to an off-site.