Adam Tavener, Chairman of Clifton Asset Management Plc

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We welcome Adam Tavener, Chairman of Clifton Asset Management plc to our regular series of interviews with leading figures in the South West business community. 

Hello Adam, tell us about Clifton Asset Management and your role as Chairman.

Clifton provides a funding solution to business owners.  In brief we show them how to monetise the hidden value in their business, for instance goodwill or branding, then we facilitate an investment into this intangible asset via the business owners pension scheme.  The result is a healthy reduction in reliance on banks and a bigger pension pot for the client.

My role is primarily business development and I travel the country introducing the concept to groups of introducers such as accountants, IFA’s and corporate finance professionals.  I also chair board meetings and determine company strategy with the other board members.

We are planning a main market listing in a few years so getting the business in the right shape to achieve maximum value is also a priority for me.

How has the economic recession impacted your business? 

Yes, but positively.  Since the banks have become somewhat less eager to lend many business owners are seeking out more imaginative ways to acquire the funding they need to grow.

What challenges are you facing over the next 12 months?

Primarily to continue to develop distribution channels and grow the business in a controlled and orderly manner.  We currently employ about one hundred staff and this will probably double over the next few years, so that whole process needs managing carefully.

Do you think that the government should intervene more?

Like most business owners I feel that the government should back off in terms of regulation, especially in the area of employment legislation.  As far as the wider picture is concerned I am not convinced about how much use politicians can be to business owners apart from keeping taxes reasonable and letting business get on with business.  Oh, and stop changing the rules all the time, especially in the pensions sector!

What is your view on the South West’s business scene?

We operate nationally so I don’t have a particularly well informed opinion about this, other than to observe that it appears to be pretty resilient and seems to be weathering the recent ups and downs pretty well. This is probably to do with having a mixed economy.

Do you have any Non-Executive Directorships? If so, what have you learned from the experience?

No, all my time and attention is focussed on delivering our business goals.

Do you have any advice that you’d pass on to a newly appointed company director?

Be original; don’t just do what everyone else does.  If you put enough energy and commitment behind an idea you will make it happen.

What do you like to do outside of work? 

Cooking is a big passion, as is eating out, visiting the hugely engaging Watershed and various live performances.  I also run, badly, do yoga, badly and enjoy sports, generally.

Hiking trips with my wife are probably my times of greatest happiness.

Who is your hero / personal inspiration?

I don’t really do ‘heroes’ but I suppose I would most like to emulate the business success of Peter Hargreaves (and fully intend to!) as he has shown us all that it can be done from sheer determination, intelligence and focus.  I always admire people who have genuinely made it on their own, without any outside patronage.  I should point out that this is also true of Steve Lansdown.

What is on your I-Pod and what are you reading right now?

I have hundreds of tracks on my ipod, ranging from Chicory Tip to The Black Eyed Peas.  Current favourite is the Lovers Concerto by The Toys.

I am reading A Week in September by Sebastian Faulkes.  

Working with Moon Consulting

Why did you choose Moon Consulting?

Recommendation by a Private Equity contact.

What roles did Moon Consulting recruit for you?

The head of our Banking Relationship Division.

What has been your experience of working with our company?

All good.  Professional, well connected and concerned to listen carefully to a brief.