Topaz

Non-Executive Directors (NED)

Overview

Topaz Finance is part of the Loan Services division of Computershare, the Australian world leader in financial administration. Since the acquisition of Topaz in January 2015 Computershare now offers a full range of solutions for mortgage providers from mortgage origination to servicing and acting as Legal Title holder. On acquisition Topaz acted as Master Services and legal title holder for two securitisations totalling c £500m. Subsequently in early 2017 Topaz was mandated to become legal title holder on a £13bn buy to let mortgage portfolio acquired by Blackstone and Prudential which goes live in March 2018. In preparation for this major increase in mortgages under management the business has undertaken a reorganisation and recruitment of a new senior team. To emphasise strong regulatory control and oversight the Board also wanted to recruit two independent Non-Executive Directors (NED) and asked Warren Partners for their help.

Challenge

The Chairman, Richard Banks, was keen to ensure diversity around the board table but at the same time, the specialised nature of the business required specific experience and the location in Skipton could present an issue with candidates. On completion of the assignment he commented that, “the range and calibre of candidates exceeded our expectations, with a good number of females on the longlist who we were keen to see. The candidate profiles were strong and relevant to the role.”

Going to market over the summer period can present a challenge and Richard said “I doubted we could do this over the summer but I was proved wrong; it was a well-oiled, efficient process and, Joëlle and Julia kept it tight and delivered to the timeline they had promised. I particularly appreciated the very regular updates to myself and candidates.”

Outcome

Topaz were delighted with the two candidates who were appointed in September: Marian Martin, Chief Risk Officer of Virgin Money, who was stepping into her first NED role and Tim Franklin, Chairman of Private and Commercial Finance Group plc, who has a strong track record as a NED and Chair and extensive experience of mortgage outsourcing.

 “We believe that we have two great non-executives, Marian and Tim are really strong hires for us and it is good to have a female appointment. We were very impressed with how much time you invested in helping us to make sure that we got these appointments right and making sure the team were fully briefed on all the candidates before the interviews, allowing more time to be spent at our meetings understanding the candidates’ fit with  the business and its culture.”

Richard Banks, Chairman

Commenting at the completion of the assignment, Joëlle Warren said “We always take a partnership approach to our searches and Richard and his team were very receptive when we pushed back to them or made suggestions around the assessments.  They were prepared to spend time helping the candidates understand them and the business, recognising that candidates have choice too and if you want the strongest candidates, you may have to woo them.”


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