Corporate Finance Partner Carl Swansbury goes under the spotlight!

What is your role within RG?

Corporate Finance partner and head of Corporate Finance.

Tell me about your career to date and how you ended up in your position…

My career started with PwC, where I qualified as a Chartered Accountant. I then moved to RSM in Nottingham to join their corporate finance business as a very ambitious, inexperienced 21 year old who thought that corporate finance was the answer to my prayers. After 4 and a half very worthwhile years with RSM, I relocated back to the North East in May 2011 to join RG to set up the firm’s Corporate Finance service line.

What does your current role involve?

My current role involves providing shareholders with strategic advice at all stages of the business lifecycle, examples of which include:

  • Advising small, high growth businesses looking to secure growth capital
  • Providing shareholders with advice around attracting and retaining senior management
  • Advising on how a business can be scaled
  • Talking to clients about how they can fund working and growth capital, which might involve refinancing or fundraising
  • Advising businesses looking to grow by acquisition and helping integrate acquired businesses
  • Advising shareholders on sales to 3rd party trade buyers, existing management teams, Private Equity etc.

Throughout this journey we not only provide corporate finance advice, but we also work closely with RG’s Business Tax and Accounts & Outsourced Services divisions. If a business is sold and the shareholders have material wealth, it is sometimes appropriate to introduce the shareholders to our Personal Tax and/or Wealth Management colleagues. Collaboration is vital because we are advising the shareholders and the business on a range of matters which require input from multiple service lines.

What makes RGCF different?

We don’t just advise on acquisitions and disposals like many of our peers. The core of our corporate finance business is the provision of strategic advice to help shareholders realise their ambitions.

We have an opinion and we share this with our clients. Our experience is what our clients benefit from and we deliver our advice in a very clear and strategic way. We consider all options and we give our clients clarity as to which option we feel is the most appropriate, in the light of their objectives.

We are also different to our peers in the way we collaborate with other professionals. We work exceptionally hard to originate ‘off market’ transactions, which usually means we are in a position (even if the client is located outside of the North East) to introduce regional law firms and funders to our clients.

While we are sector agnostic, we have significant expertise and experience in the human capital, technology and engineering sectors.

Finally, we have won a number of awards which recognise our achievements. In 2018 we won the Corporate Finance Deal of the Year Award at the North East Accountancy Awards and I was named the 2018 Dealmaker of the Year by Insider.

My 3 most notable achievements to date would be….

Winning the Insider Dealmaker of the Year award in 2018, especially in light of the fact that I was the youngest ever winner by some margin. Whilst it was a personal award, I see it as recognition of the achievements of the whole RG Corporate Finance team during that 12 month period. An award with my name on but very much received on behalf of the team.

The second would be setting up the Corporate Finance service line from scratch in 2011, a time when the market was really difficult and when most other firms were looking at reducing headcount. To set up RG Corporate Finance from a standing start, and to have been profitable each and every year is an achievement which I am proud of.

Thirdly, my daughter. I think, without getting soppy, the achievement is not only having her but being able to spend quality time with her and not at the cost of my career. This is something that parents will appreciate is not easy, but I have found a balance that works and that gives me great contentment.

Tell us about your day so far….

My day has been really interesting!

5.15am: I started the day with coffee in my car, taking my beautiful daughter Esme to my parents’ house, as I do every Tuesday morning.

7.15am: Arrived in the office and looked at the list of things I wanted to achieve by the end of the day (I always prepare a list the night before).

8.00am: Conference call with a client we are currently advising on a management buy out, our client being a management team looking to purchase a business.

9.00am: Breakfast meeting with Jamie Fraser from Maven, a private equity house, talking about live opportunities and a financial due diligence opportunity that Jamie has kindly introduced to RG.

10.30am: A call with a prospective client who is considering the sale of their business.

11.00am: With David Nixon (RGCF team member), I met a client to advise on the sale of their business, talking though indicative offers received from interested parties to date and taking instruction on how best to negotiate these offers to a position where they would be capable of acceptance by our client.

3.30pm: Sending and receiving emails and dealing with various office admin matters before heading into an internal meeting.

5.00pm: Met with Paul Harrison, a partner at Waltons in Hartlepool, a fellow member firm of our network, Accelerate, to talk strategically about how we could work more closely together.

7.00pm: Home for dinner!

What do you enjoy outside of work?

Despite working on the ‘wrong’ side of the Tyne and doing business predominantly with Geordies, I am a Mackem and a proud Sunderland supporter.

I enjoy travel, visiting new countries and places and trying new food. I absolutely love embracing different cultures and appreciating how other people live and go about their life.

From a health perspective, I play squash (to what I like to think is a reasonable standard!).

And finally, leave us with one interesting fact about yourself…

I own a racehorse, or more specifically, one leg of a racehorse!

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