Thinking aloud

21 January 2014

Brian White and Jon Wilson... Returning to the top of their game

Managing Directors of Client Relationships at Equiniti, Brian White and Jon Wilson, talk returning to the top of their game and what this means for clients 

Brian White and Jon Wilson

Transitional times

We have come so far in the past six years. We have worked hard to ensure that the service we provide reflects the individual requirements of our clients. This has recently been recognised by our clients as Equiniti returned to the position of number one share registrar in the UK according to the Capital Analytics* Survey. One of our differentiators is that we recognise our customers as individuals and we will tailor our solutions to fit their needs. We don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all philosophy; we listen to our clients’ needs. 

As part of our commitment to keep delivering the very best service for our customers, we have recently changed the Relationship Management structure. In a market and business that is fast changing, our new approach will allow us to better cater our offering and service delivery to our clients.

As Managing Directors of Client Relationships Brian and I have as our primary focus ensuring that we continue to deliver the best possible service to customers. To ensure this happens we are continuously working with our Relationship teams making sure that our clients’ needs are fully met, and where possible, exceeding our clients’ expectations. We have recently refocused our approach and we are delighted with the way this is starting to take shape.

Equiniti has also made a number of acquisitions in recent years, particularly in the Shareholder Solutions environment, which have delivered benefits to our clients, in terms of what Equiniti can offer and also have improved the breadth of our service. With this in mind, changing the structure of our teams was really important – as our client base broadens, we needed to make sure we have a structure that is fit for purpose and that can still deliver the level of service our clients have come to expect from Equiniti.

Our clients have a huge impact on the acquisitions that we look to make

Keeping customers at the heart

Every client is important to us and Jon will talk about this later. For me it is about understanding our clients but also being aware of their niche requirements and this is where the Relationship Management team is really important. Having this depth of understanding makes Equiniti’s and the client’s lives easier.

For me, it’s about listening to the voice of the client and understanding that each client has different requirements. We look after a whole breadth of clients from those that have millions of shareholders, to those that have very few, and we recognise that. We care about our clients’ businesses and keep our customers at the heart of what we do, and in doing that we can’t apply just one approach. It needs to be more proactive than that and this new approach allows us to deliver on this. 

Complementary acquisitions

Shareholder Solutions is at the heart of what Equiniti stands for and the acquisitions we have made over the last five years have complemented and broadened our offering.

Our recent purchase of Killik Employee Services (KES), now Equiniti Premier Services, has given us the opportunity to offer further services to our clients in international markets. Equiniti Premier Services helps us to present a service offering to our corporates that we couldn’t this time last year, so it’s definitely a good thing.

Our clients have a huge impact on the acquisitions that we look to make. Every acquisition that we have completed in the last six years has complemented Equiniti and helped in delivering to our clients and growing and taking the business forward. 

*Overall satisfaction results in the Capital Analytics UK Registrars Benchmarking Survey 2013.

Gaining capital

When the Capital Analytics results were published six years ago, we were ranked pretty low – in fact we were last. As a result of this, as you may expect, an action plan was developed which along with other initiatives used working groups and the principle of continuous improvement to tackle each category. Plans and workstreams were put in place that we worked through each year until we got back to the top spot.

We also looked at the root causes of where we were making errors or where we weren’t getting the best feedback and we eradicated those. That really helped us to turn around the areas of the business where we weren’t performing as well as we could. We enjoy being number one and our ambition is to stay there.

We absolutely strive to be number one, so even though we are there at the moment, we won’t become complacent – we will keep working with our clients to ensure our service continues to improve.

A year to remember

From a business perspective, being appointed to handle Royal Mail Group’s IPO against a competitive tender was a real highlight in 2013. The all-round delivery from across the Equiniti teams was outstanding in such a short delivery timescale. Our relationship with easyJet has also developed this year and we now handle all of its services in registration and employee share plans. I’m also really proud of our handling of the Barclays rights issue, a corporate action over a very tight timescale, where we had to communicate with 700,000 shareholders and deal with their varying requests.

There have been many highlights this year but for me the biggest achievement is having returned to the top spot in the Capital Analytics Survey. We couldn’t have done this without the help of all our colleagues across the business that are also being recognised within their own sectors. As an example, the Contact Centre has retained its Customer Contact Association (CCA) accreditation for the fourth year in a row. It has been a real team effort to get to where we are now, and we only intend to do better with every year that follows.

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