Martin Scott, SANNE’s head of client services in Guernsey, is passionate about the company’s growth plans in the island – including green finance –and being a good corporate citizen. Will Green met him
‘WE WANT to be the best and do it in the right way.’
Thirteen words that underline the passion of Martin, who is a man on a mission as head of client services in Guernsey for global fund administrator SANNE.
Chatting about why he took the role in December 2019, Martin explains that there was a ‘cultural connection’ when he was first introduced to SANNE’s CEO in terms of how they saw the opportunity.
The underlying principle centres on driving business growth through entrepreneurialism but ‘doing everything the right way’ – including helping mitigate climate change.
SANNE, as a London Stock Exchange-listed PLC, is obligated to report on its ESG (environmental, social, governance) policy and performance, he explains, as a market indicator of its green credentials.
In addition to offering a full fund administration service for high-quality clients, Martin makes clear his ambition in the green finance field and his intention to make SANNE’s Guernsey office go for clients and advisors looking for green fund solutions, and in so doing help the planet while making a return for investors.
It is all about meeting the growing appetite from investors across the globe for sustainable products and services, including building upon sector innovations such as the Guernsey Green Fund.
‘I understand from colleagues in other locations that many of the world’s largest pension funds now have investment policies requiring an allocation of funds into ESG-specific investments.
‘Therefore, it’s about us ticking all the boxes for key institutional investors, who ultimately drive where the money goes to be invested.
‘We don’t hide the fact we’re interested in making money, but we do it right. That’s the principle. It’s entrepreneurial, but we do things right in every way. We shouldn’t be ashamed of saying: “Bring your money here because we do this”, as the overarching message is we’re doing it right. We’re saying to investors, this is what you’re looking for, so here we are providing it for you”.’
Martin further highlights the interest internationally in the local green offering, such as the green fund designation or the green segment on the Guernsey-headquartered International Stock Exchange.
As an example, he discusses opportunities in the Middle East. ‘It is common knowledge that the Middle East is investing heavily in life after oil.
‘To that end, there are many initiatives in the region to develop clean energy and clean energy infrastructure.’
The SANNE executive recalls a recent call with a law firm in the region about green funds.
‘Their response was “Great, send us more information on it”. They were really keen to find out more as they see it as an opportunity.
‘As SANNE has to fulfil its own reporting obligations to institutional investors as a listed company, it means we can clearly show our understanding of both investors’ sentiment and what drives them when investing.
‘In doing so, we naturally align ourselves with the considerations of asset managers looking to raise funds from similar investors.
‘To my mind that’s how we complete the circle here, Guernsey takes the lead at a jurisdictional and product level and SANNE capitalises on its own experience in this area at the client servicing level.’
He adds: ‘At a more local level, ESG is also about being a good corporate citizen. From an environmental perspective, we can no longer look around and say that global warming or plastic pollution isn’t happening, it’s very clear. While our beaches are in great shape, if you do a beach clean and dig around in the seaweed you will find little bits of plastic. You can see it’s happening with your own eyes.
‘At the social level too, whilst we were lucky during lockdown in that we were able to carry on working, some other local businesses weren’t, so now they are open again we need to go out and support them to help them get back on their feet and rebuild their businesses.’
Hiring the best people to grow
At a time when the Covid-19 pandemic is hitting employment in the Bailiwick, a bright spot during the interview is Martin’s ambition to expand his already 16-strong team in Guernsey.
He intends to look for the best hires to signal his ambition to clients that his office is high-powered and motivated to fuel SANNE’s long-term business plan for the island.
‘My aim is only to recruit the best people because every team is only as good as its weakest point. So the stronger you make it at every level, the better you will be.’
Strategically, SANNE has moved to a jurisdictional model with each local office being given much greater autonomy to act and Martin is excited by the flexibility this gives SANNE to maximise opportunities in each location.
Martin believes that the island’s reputation as a place to do business remains strong and will continue to do so because of its deep eco-system of financial services expertise and effective regulation, he says, that helps it stand out as a location – and is ultimately why SANNE is investing in its Guernsey business.
‘We want to be the best. We want high quality business and to give that business client service that is befitting of a PLC. So, it’s very much utilising our prestige in terms of being a publicly listed business and working with the best, that’s our major selling point here, allied with the reputation of the jurisdiction,’ he concludes.