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An Interview with Ben Stoop

Ben Stoop  joined Numis as a graduate and has progressed in his career to Managing Director position. To celebrate success of Graduates at Numis, we asked Ben about his experiences working at Numis and what future employees can expect from a career here.

What has your experience of working at Numis been like?

I joined Numis in the Corporate Broking & Advisory department as a graduate in April 2007 having completed the then very informal internship programme the summer before.

Having been at Numis for almost 12 years the firm has changed materially from the one I first joined. I remember in the very early days of working at Numis when people used to ask where I worked. I would receive blank looks. Today people know who Numis are and what we are about.

Because companies didn’t immediately recognise the Numis name on our business cards or when we phoned them, we had to be more determined, more innovative, more collaborative, more nimble and more entrepreneurial than our competitors.  With this ethos came unique opportunities and responsibilities at a far earlier stage than one might get at one of the large integrated investment banks.

When I started there was very little structure in terms of formal training. I learned on the job, from some great market practitioners and in some cases we learnt the hard way, by making mistakes; this was fine but you made sure you didn’t make them again. Today I think we can offer graduates a training program that is as good as any other bank in the City.

"It is with pride today that I tell people I work for Numis, now one of the pre-eminent London Investment banks with a great client list and a leading track record of  advising on headline transactions".

Ben Stoop Managing Director, Investment Banking
I really learnt a lot during the difficult years of the global financial crises. Oliver Hemsley, the founder of Numis was very focused on the adage of “you build businesses in difficult times” and this is exactly what Numis did. We hired great people, won some great new clients and had some high quality mandates. Many of the people we hired joined us from big banks where they had become disillusioned with burdensome processes and not being allowed to provide clients with the services they wanted. 

Working for Numis during this period of time has been incredibly exciting and fulfilling. From my early days I had exposure to CEOs, CFO’s and company boards – it has been an incredibly privileged position to work with and understand the thinking behind some the leading UK companies. The structure at Numis is very flat so we all talk to each other and not just those colleagues in our department but across the firm which gives you a fantastic perspective on what is happening, what is moving the market and specific share prices.

It is with pride today that I tell people I work for Numis, now one of the pre-eminent London Investment banks with a great client list and a leading track record of  advising on headline transactions. So in summary my experience of working at Numis so far has been a fascinating one; working with great people, who are like minded and driven with a can do attitude and a preparedness to challenge the norm. It is a great environment in which to work.

Can you describe what a typical day / week looks like for you?

There is no such thing is a typical day at Numis, let alone a typical week. One of the great motivations of this job is that no one day is ever the same.

However, I am generally in the office early to digest which companies are reporting and what this means for our corporate clients, and occasionally I have breakfast meetings with clients or potential clients.

Examples of day to day work I have been involved with over the last few weeks include: helping a company buy a material stake in another listed company using an innovative structure; advised a large FTSE 250 company on preparing for its results presentation and the drafting of its statement; had a sector team meeting to assess how we are performing and what we can do better; spoken to and emailed multiple clients on what is going on in the market and what this might mean for them; assessed a corporate clients strategy and presented a paper to their executive team on what we view as the potential areas that investors might poke holes in; and met a candidate who is potentially thinking about joining the business.

What qualities should a person demonstrate to succeed at Numis? 

Resilience is a key attribute that everyone working in investment banking will benefit from. Whilst the work is rewarding, clients and colleagues expect the best therefore you need the capability to deal with pressure. Numis recognises this by offering an extensive Wellbeing problem to help support employees. 

Being a self-starter is also hugely important. There is always a role for the person that says – I can do that for you – even better when people do things before you have to ask them. We also remind ourselves to stay humble. The ability to take a deep breath and think objectively about a particular challenge always pays in the eyes of clients.

Finally, an ability to be organised is very important. At any level at Numis you might receive multiple requests to do tasks on any given day, to be able to prioritise and manage the expectations of colleagues and clients is a key skill – and certainly one I could still improve at!

What can a candidate expect from working at Numis? 

Numis is a friendly and collegiate place to work. Senior colleagues are always happy to help more junior colleagues; all they have to do is ask! The organisational structure is flat which encourages this behaviour and you get exposure to senior members of the firm very early on in your career.

Furthermore, we actively encourage all members of the team to get exposure to clients in their first year of working at the firm. Whilst we are very careful as to who and how people communicate with clients, if we believe individuals are capable then we encourage them to build their networks and client relationships from the very outset of their career. I believe this sets us apart from other investment banks.

Interested in joining the team?

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