The finance industry is one of many which has seen a shift in both business operation and mindset. Technology has advanced, allowing companies to cater for compressed deal timescales, while their personnel must constantly to adapt to these changes.
Whilst innovation and forward-thinking approaches are critical in the industry today, is this enough to sway clients to choose one financial print company over another? Or does industry experience speak louder?
Michael Gallagher, Production Manager at Black&Callow, has worked in the financial printing industry since 1978, when he began a 5-year apprenticeship with Oyez Press whilst studying at the London College of Printing. Michael went on to work with Burrup Mathieson, St Ives and Imprima, the financial printing and VDR (Virtual Data Room) services provider, before its MBO in 2014 and more recent rebranding to Black&Callow. In his time he has worked on the largest and most complex deals including Privatisations, Demutualisations, Cross-Border M&A, global IPOs and Corporate Reporting.
Here, Michael provides an insight into his nearly 40 years’ experience, and how Black&Callow’s collective experience benefits clients and keeps them coming back.
“Over the years, the industry has been both exciting and challenging! When I started out I could never have predicted that - technology-wise - we would be where we are today, yet what an immense difference it has made to the process of production and communication.
I think the fact that I have grown with the industry enables me to relate to long-standing clients, in a way that financial print companies of recent years may not be able to. There is no substitute for experience as it is always going to benefit the client. Straightforward, complicated, large or small deals: they all shape how you work on the next project and allow you to advise the client of what is best for them. We have a great mix of experience at Black&Callow to ensure a tailored approach for every client.”
Michael was part of the Black&Callow team which helped Lloyds TSB Group plc acquire HBOS plc, creating Lloyds Banking Group plc in January 2009. Black&Callow subsequently assisted Lloyds with both its £13.5bn Rights Issue and £9bn Exchange Offer. Their role included typesetting, proofing, personalising, printing and mailing multiple financial documents to 2.8m shareholders within an incredibly tight timetable.
“This deal was colossal; these volumes and timescales had never been achieved before. An additional challenge was that the project involved many advisors, the London Stock Exchange and the UK Government, and so we had to adapt the documents to meet ever-changing demands.
I certainly think that the experience and expertise of the team helped Lloyds achieve its critical deadlines. For instance, on receipt of shareholder data, we processed and tested it immediately with the live run commencing after two hours; while our proofreading and typesetting teams were not only quick, but pro-active. It could have been very easy for us to be overwhelmed by a project like this; but with combined levels of experience and expertise on board we successfully met every challenge.
What I love about working in this industry is that every deal is unique. Each project we work on is exciting as it challenges us and enhances our experience. We are fortunate enough to be highly regarded for our unrivalled customer service and for working closely with our clients to point their projects in the right direction. Clients trust our insight and know we’ll deliver solutions specific to their needs.
I believe that these factors have an influence on how clients select the companies they would like to work with, and that as our industry progressively changes, experience and knowledge will continue to go a long way.”
What are Michael’s tips?
- "Communication is key. Let your printer know as much detail as possible about what you are doing and what you need to achieve. This is particularly critical if you need Court approval and Witness Statements need to be produced for the mailing."
- "Ensure your printer can produce Comparison files in-line, not offline. Our guaranteed LSE-compliant strikethrough blacklined and Comparison files are driven direct from our typesetting system, ensuring there are no issues at Stock Exchange approval stages."
- "Share your timetable as far in advance as possible, so your printer can ensure it has adequate resources and can build in contingencies in case of any delays unforeseen circumstances. Fortunately our unrivalled in-house capacity has helped more than one client deal with the unexpected."
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