A City of London broker is aiming to tackle burnout among its staff after the pandemic by offering unlimited paid holiday from next year.
FinnCap Group, the financial services advisory firm, will also stipulate a minimum of four weeks that each of its staff must take off. It will define activities such as caring for a sick child or pet, attending a school meeting, or dealing with essential house maintenance as outside of this limit.
Chief executive Sam Smith said mental health and burnout had emerged as big issues during the pandemic. “We went out to our staff and said: we trust you, if you get the job done, take what you need to take.”
Many people when faced with unlimited holiday actually take less, she said, which makes the minimum number of days off required every quarter also important. “It’s just trying to be a bit more sensible about people . . . feeling guilty.”
Smith said the group had experienced a particularly busy period during the first half of its financial year, with revenue up 55 per cent to a record £32m. Pre-tax profit was up about three-quarters to £6.3m.
The M&A and IPO markets had been particularly busy, she said. FinnCap acquired specialist M&A advisory business Cavendish three years ago, which has boosted its revenues in that market.
Smith added that she now wanted to acquire a professional services company to add to FinnCap’s advisory services in areas such as sustainability, diversity and inclusion.
“We want to create a strategic advisory business with multiple revenue lines, diversified income, servicing the growth companies of tomorrow,” she said.
However, Smith acknowledged that the market for IPOs had slowed considerably since a boom in flotations earlier this year. She said the market bounce back from the pandemic had led to a rush of companies to the market, with some better suited than others.
“Suddenly, valuations were very good. Suddenly, there was a lot of money. And what happens in every single cycle: the IPOs go a bit bonkers. You can get a lot away at quite punchy valuations. Some of them are good. Some of them aren’t so good. Some of the valuations were priced wrong.”
The market now faced a “bit of fallout, a bit of indigestion”, with a number of potential IPOs being pulled in recent weeks, Smith said. But she predicted that M&A would continue to be busy for FinnCap, given the extent of the money among private equity funds to take companies private.