After 15 years leading Ocorian and seeing the business through a private equity backed MBO in 2016 and four acquisitions since, Nick Cawley decided the time was right to step down as chief executive of Ocorian. He told eprivateclient that his successor as chief executive, Stuart Layzell, had been the obvious choice.
Mr Cawley hired Mr Layzell in January 2017 as chief financial officer and chief operating officer. The pair has worked closely together, including on the four acquisitions the business made in 2018. In addition Mr Layzell has experience of working with private clients from his time at Tilney.
"The difficulty wasn’t deciding who to hand over to but deciding when was the best time to do so," Mr Cawley said. "There probably is never a perfect time, however, at the end of last year it felt natural to do so."
Nick Cawley, head of private clients at Ocorian
Moving out of the chief executive role did not mean that Mr Cawley was ready to retire so he became head of private clients at Ocorian. "It is great to be back focused on private clients," Mr Cawley said, adding he was "looking forward to rekindling his contacts in the intermediary world."
Prior to the business expanding via acquisitions Ocorian had been predominately Jersey focused. All four deals had brought private client elements, albeit to varying degrees, and expanded the firm's private client footprint throughout the world.
Currently private client accounts for around 25 percent of Ocorian’s business. Mr Cawley said that private client continues to be a core element that has the support of the management team and Ocorian's private equity backers, Inflexion.
One area he is "particularly excited" about is Africa. Ocorian purchased ABAX in 2018 which added around 300 people in Mauritius. ABAX has been serving African entrepreneurs, and investors, for over ten years. He believes this will open opportunities for the private client team in Africa. Ocorian now has staff in South Africa and the Ivory Coast. It is planning to ...