Altium is an exceptionally entrepreneurial business. It’s also independent because it’s owned by employees – and these are just some of the reasons why we all love working here and why there’s a strong bond between us. We’re proud to work here, proud of what we do and proud of the relationships between us and our clients. For us, the starting point for any client relationship is not client to adviser. It’s a partnership from day one. And we’re fiercely proud of the fact that many of those initial client relationships have, over the years, evolved into true friendships. Now we often work on deals with friends – and you can imagine how hard we work to get them right. Every member of our team is extremely competent and motivated. For all of us, getting great outcomes goes way beyond any thought of narrow personal gain – often we are working with clients on the culmination of their lifetime’s work or even sometimes, with family businesses, the work of many generations, so we approach every transaction as if it is the most important one we will ever do. If you were to fly above Altium and take a bird’s-eye view of any deal at any stage, you would see senior people personally involved in the process. They are always happy to talk to you about your deal and make it a point of honour to ensure total quality throughout every project.
There’s something else we all love about work here at Altium. The people are fun to be with. Yes, this is a pressure-cooker industry. Sometimes there’s stress; the hours can be long, the work sometimes arduous. But we know there is more to life than deals. So we like to unwind from time to time. Whether it’s a staff ski trip, a summer trip to a sunny place or a client dinner after closing a deal, we enjoy socialising and taking good care of each other.
We don’t believe in the ‘template deal’. For us, every deal is unique. We love solving problems, figuring out puzzles. Maybe that explains our success with complex deals, where the aims, the people and the deal process itself can look daunting from the outside. If we have to invent a totally new way of doing things, so be it – that’s what we love to do. We didn’t get into this industry because it was easy, but because we believe it’s a brilliant way to build value.
Most, if not all, corporate finance advisers will say they put the client’s interests first. But how many would turn away from a deal if they felt it wouldn’t best serve those interests? For us, rejecting inappropriate deals is a non-negotiable position. It doesn’t happen very often, but we stick to our principles when it matters. You get many chances to do deals; you only get one chance to build a relationship. We firmly believe that business runs on relationships, not money. We would rather sacrifice a short-term financial gain than lose the deep value we attribute to our relationships with our clients. Lastly, we make no distinction between large and small deals in terms of effort, attention or the focus we bring to them. If we take a project on, then it is of equal priority to all others. Why? Because it is to our client. And that’s what matters to us.