Q&A: Jock Gardiner CA - Partner, Maven Capital Partners UK

By Robert Outram

24 August 2015

Jock Gardiner CA, partner at Maven Capital Partners UK, gives us an insight into his career.

When did you qualify as a CA and who did you  train with?

In 1990, with KPMG (Aberdeen). Believe it or not, I was a prize winner in the TPC2 exams.

What does your job involve?

I am one of six partners at Maven. My role is head of energy services investment throughout the UK and I am also responsible for all deals in the north of Scotland. Also play a key role in new fundraising initiatives.

Who do you report to?

To my fellow partners, and ultimately to our clients (the institutional and private clients who invest in our deals).

What appealed about this career path?

Having qualified as a CA at KPMG, I  didn't want to become a management accountant/financial controller as I thought that would be too routine. I joined AAM  in a corporate role and quickly moved into private equity, working with SME management teams and providing funding for them to grow businesses and ultimately sell at a profit. This is both a challenging and rewarding career.

What's the best thing about your job?

The variety and also the ability to influence the direction in which our business grows. We have a collegiate approach and an entrepreneurial "can do" approach to business that brings out the best in our team.

…and the worst?

Keeping up with changes in computer  systems and regulations. I am a bit of a Luddite (as my colleagues would confirm)  and struggle with mundanity.

Can you acquire a "nose for a deal" or do you have to be born with it?

Experience definitely helps in  deal doing but I firmly believe  that the best deal doers have a "sixth sense" and nous for the craft.

There is definitely a mix  of skills required to achieve a  quality portfolio of investments – intuition is a key part to this and analysis is also important, as is thorough due diligence, but I would also urge caution against "paralysis by analysis".

Proudest moment so far?

Being part of the senior team at Maven who have trebled the size of the business in the six years since the MBO and established the business as the "go to" provider of private equity capital to SMEs throughout  the country.

How's your work/life balance?

Manageable – I still get to my kids' school events and also Aberdeen FC and Scotland matches, as well as fulfilling my various  work commitments.

What do you do to relax?

Watch the Dons, coach my son's Primary  5 football team, The Ashley Red Devils,  play golf (badly) and head for two weeks  in the summer to the magnificent Isle of  Barra, where the mobile phone signal  is very patchy.

How has your ca training helped you to prepare for this role – if it has?

I enjoyed my CA training at KPMG as at  that time the firm was very much  focused on supporting local SME businesses and, as such, getting exposure to business leaders at an early stage of career shaped  my progression.

What single piece of advice would you give to a CA looking to pursue this career route?

Go for it. It is an exciting, challenging and rewarding career.


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