More due diligence due

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The boom in overseas listings on the Alternative Investment Market (Aim) is fuelling demand for a new species of extra-rigorous due diligence expertise.

Chris Rollason, Director of Corporate Finance at Collins Stewart tells us there is increasing demand for intelligence to "de-risk" projects. While Nominated advisers (Nomads) help companies list on Aim can provide some intelligence in-house, Rollason says some must be outsourced.

A new breed of risk analysis boutiques like Diligence has emerged to cope with the problems of analysing companies from Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Far East.

Diligence already employs some 80 staff with legal, investment banking and regulatory backgrounds, and may be looking to employ more. Managing Director Russ Corn tells us the company is hosting a forum for Nomads in November, which will help it define the skills it needs from its staff.

Jim Robinson, Manager, Corporate Finance & Equities, Michael Page tells us there is strong demand for people to "do due diligence", but it is a job function rather than a job in itself.

The jobs are done by auditors, transaction services and corporate finance people within practice as well as by corporate finance professionals at the Nomads. Demand has increased with the flow of companies to Aim but supply is still restricted.

At the junior end salaries are in line with second or third year banking analyst packages of 40k or 50k for analysts. However, a candidate who is Nomad registered can command up to 200k.

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