People: A strategy for success


Investing in people from the boardroom to the shop floor is the key to achieving maximum value and excellent returns.

People are at the heart of our investment philosophy. We believe that great people are the key to success for all businesses.

The teams we work with are the reason why we invest in a company. And we invest in people at all levels across a company as much as we invest in the business.

Since we founded Palatine, we have helped all our portfolio companies to recruit the best in the business to help drive forward growth and achieve excellent returns.

We are committed to supporting directors, management teams and employees across our portfolio companies, and believe our People Strategy methodology enables investee businesses to achieve their growth aspirations.

While augmenting and enhancing board composition has long been a major priority for private equity houses when investing in businesses, few have paid attention to initiatives for middle management and below. However, we believe that people at all levels should be at the heart of an effective strategy for a business to achieve its maximum potential.

The People Strategy focuses three areas; board effectiveness, leadership training and development and a company-wide people strategy.

Our strategy begins with an initial assessment of where the business is and where it wants to be in the future. The assessment forms a Gap analysis to identify areas for development including culture, leadership, training and staff engagement.

We then work closely with management teams to evaluate the findings and work out a roadmap to deliver a people strategy that will benefit the business and all its employees during the lifetime of our investment.

The initiatives we have put in place for senior management and directors include mentoring and resilience training to foster team building when working under pressure.

Elsewhere, we have carried out employee engagement surveys using analytic software for the first time to assess responses and plan for staff development. We have also assisted with utilising apprenticeship levies to develop a young and ambitious workforce and liaised with external providers to ensure flexible working practices are in place to align businesses with modern working.

Case Study

In June we completed the buyout of SMP group. Established in 2007, SMP Group has grown into a leading international provider of fund administration and corporate and trust services. Headquartered in the Isle of Man, the company now employs more 200 people across seven global offices, which include Jersey, Switzerland, Malta, Hong Kong, Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.

The MBO came as part of a planned leadership succession process which will see the former group business development director, David Hudson, move into the role of group CEO. He will be supported by an executive board drawn from within the existing leadership team, consisting of Anne Baggesen, Ian Begley, Daniel Cadamy and Ted Pepper.

We commissioned external due diligence to ensure that there is a clear focus to deliver a successful people strategy. While we have already restructured and augmented the senior executive team, the strategy does not stop there. It targets the entire organisation to ensure alignment of the workforce and clarity on the investment SMP will make to support its people.

As part of the strategy, a gap analysis was undertaken pre-deal to assess areas for development and this was then discussed with the MBO team to ensure their values were aligned and to determine the areas for development. The four key areas are:  creating a modern, diverse and collaborative culture, a reward and remuneration strategy fit for a modern international business, training and development for all staff to clear progression through the organisation and a leadership program to deliver succession.

The people strategy will be delivered alongside a value creation plans to ensure investment is made where required and more importantly resources are available to deliver it. The strategy will be supported by Palatine’s partners and operational teams.

Human capital will have the most important influence and impact on our business. We need to create a modern, diverse and collaborative culture and place emphasis on creating leaders for the future. Palatine get this. They focus beyond the numbers and already in short space of time have brought value in this area.

David Hudson

CEO, SMP Group