Case Study: Onyx

Matthew Broaden
Managing Partner
Onyx Equity Partners, London, UK

Matthew was heading up the private client and wealth management practice of the Onyx Equity Partners Group in Boston when he was asked to move over to the UK to set up an operation for Europe, initially by making a strategic acquisition in the UK. Matthew had previously worked for other banking firms in London, Paris, Hong Kong and Prague; and relished the opportunity to develop Onyx outside of the US. The first task was to acquire a targeted company and recruit a marketing director, a compliance officer and a 'big hitter' in the area of fund management. Matthew had an existing relationship with a professional headhunter in The City and after some time received a short-list of apparently good & suitable candidates.

In the light of recent press coverage of events surrounding people not declaring truthful commercial information Matthew thought that he should at least look at some form of discreet vetting for everyone prior to actually employing them within the new company and giving them access to proprietary information relating to the Onyx customers and accounts.

Matthew remembered a previous colleague mentioning about Box89, who whilst referencing the key management in a buyout scenario had discovered that a potential finance director had been investigated for money laundering. Matthew therefore made contact with Box89 and requested a meeting to discuss what could be done to assist Onyx.

Matthew mentioned his concerns relating to the risks associated with not vetting people properly as well as the legal & regulatory implications of not taking diligent steps in knowing exactly who he was going to employ. Box89 explained the appropriate requirements of vetting and what the process would actually look like, from verifying education to checking professional qualifications, to identifying track records, market reputation and also how the person interacted with colleagues and clients.

Matthew wanted to make sure that he was ‘legally, regulatory & procedurally covered’ so engaged Box89 to perform discreet vetting on the three key candidates. As a result, the prospective marketing director was rejected based on findings relating to a disciplinary matter with the Financial Services Authority. The other two positions were filled satisfactorily.

Since the vetting, Matthew has also engaged Box89 to look into the motivations of three directors of a company in a recent investment in the North of England.

He is also speaking with Box89 about investigating accusations of money laundering associated with a fund based in The Czech Republic.

From a day to day perspective Onyx now also retains Box89 to run simple yet necessary regulatory checks on companies with which Onyx is intending to enter a relationship.

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