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Handling communications whilst working remotely

Covid-19 has created a large-scale working-from-home experiment with many businesses encouraging employees to work remotely until the virus poses less of a threat – Chatsworth is now one of many working from home.

While the communications sector is much more suited to remote working, without the right foundation, it can be a challenge to implement. It was important for us to make sure everyone at Chatsworth was prepared, supported and had the resources needed to make it work. So, we decided to share some of our thoughts on how we’re working during this period.

Being tech-savvy

With a large proportion of our clients working in fintech, we’d be pretty ineffective if we didn’t also have a tech-focused approach. This goes double when our team works remotely. Having our documents on a secure cloud server gives everyone access even if they’re not in the building, while still ensuring our clients’ information remains safe.

Also, client calls and meetings still need to happen, which is why we’re using platforms that allow conferences calls on both phone and over the internet. People’s working habits can change when they’re not in the office, so it’s important to make sure there are alternative options of communication for both our team and clients.

Having good chat

That sense of communication was vital to us when confirming that teams will be working from home. It’s very easy for remote working to become isolating, for employees to feel overburdened and for individual development or coaching to take a back seat. It was something we did not want to happen.

Opting for an instant messenger service was important for us, allowing the team to still share ideas, catch up and check in even when they’re not in the same room. While nothing can replace that direct interaction with another person, the option to have a video call or drop a voice message to someone can break down those barriers.

Keeping the office culture

Ultimately, it goes back to that whole idea of office culture. Even when working outside the building, people still need to feel connected, sharing those same things that make being part of Chatsworth so fun and engaging.

Managers are still catching up with their teams every day, colleagues haven’t stopped collaborating and we’re still making sure our clients are being supported. Our goal is to make things work so well that, even with the changes taking place within the modern office, things remain the same here at Chatsworth.

 

With many businesses stepping into the remote-working world for the first time, it will undoubtedly be a period for evaluation, change and growth. For us, we like to think we have a good setup – both for our clients and our people.

Investors splash the cash on British fintech startups

Chatsworth was the first PR agency to focus on fintech. We have been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launch, growth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

And our sector is booming. Heartening news this month with reports that global investors poured money into the UK’s fintech sector last year, almost doubling the amount invested here between 2018 and 2019 — despite the rest of the world suffering a slight downturn in funding.

British fintech companies attracted USD 48.5bn (£37.4bn) of investment in 2019, up 91 per cent from USD 25.4bn a year earlier. Data released by KPMG also revealed the number of deals in the UK reached a six-year high, defying the amount invested globally where overall fintech fundraising fell just short of 2018’s record at USD 135.7bn.

Across Europe, the UK accounted for half of the top 10 deals and netted more than 80 per cent of the continent’s record-setting total of USD 58bn.

Read more here.

R3 – Leading the enterprise blockchain revolution

Chatsworth leads global PR support for enterprise blockchain software firm R3, currently rolling out its Corda platform across industries like financial services, healthcare, shipping and more.

Working with R3 since its launch, we have provided strategic and tactical communications to support the growth of its client network from an initial group of nine banks to over 200 institutions across the public and private sectors, backed by over funding from over 45 investors.

Utilising R3’s team of expert spokespeople, we have positioned the company and its partners as thought leaders in enterprise blockchain, securing tens of thousands of pieces of coverage across the globe in outlets such as The Economist, CNBC and Financial Times, positioning Corda as the only viable alternative to legacy financial systems. R3 was also recently named one of the top tech companies to watch by the Wall Street Journal.

R3 is now widely seen as the leading voice on blockchain technology, with a consistent stream of media requests for comments and speaker opportunities, and an ever-growing network of clients and partners.

Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launch, growth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

Looking for intelligent, informed and connected fintech PR which delivers results and value?

Get in touch and let us help build your reputation and tell your story.

Chatsworth reflects on International Women’s Day

This Sunday will mark the 109th International Women’s Day, an annual celebration of gender equality across the board, and an important discussion of the work to be done in achieving parity. As a woman working with clients in fintech, I thought I would take this opportunity to share my own thoughts and reflections on the specific challenges and successes in the sector.

Despite the huge progress we have seen since the very first International Women’s Day 109 years ago, the truth is that a fair amount of underlying, residual bias persists. For the finance sector – historically one of the most male-dominated of them all – it is particularly challenging to shift gender stereotypes.

Change is on its way, however. Fintech is the UK’s fastest growing sector and this growth has engendered discussions around the kind of talent we need to feed the industry, in order to remain competitive. We are brilliantly represented globally by Innovate Finance, led by CEO Charlotte Crosswell, who has done a fantastic job with her team to champion women in fintech.

We are now at a place where we recognise that the technology industry as a whole needs a good roster of female talent if we are to remain competitive in a digital world. I am encouraged to see this in the number of discussions, panels, and debates that call on young women to apply for jobs in tech.

From my own experience representing some of the most exciting fintech companies that are out there, I am proud to see that many of my clients have women in senior positions. More than this, many of those women are often in tech roles. R3, the global blockchain firm, has Dr. Katelyn Baker as its Principal Software Engineer. Mosaic Smart Data calls Diane Castelino its Data Science and Research Lead.  LiquidityEdge has Nichola Hunter at its helm. These examples are testament to fintech’s status as a growing sector that is fostering female talent.

On a personal level, I am lucky enough to work for a company that prides itself on gender equality and actively encourages a pipeline of female talent. Chatsworth Communications has a 50:50 gender balance and I am convinced this is absolutely crucial in creating our dynamic, talented workforce.

However, the conversation is far from over. The fact that International Women’s Day is still taking place is a testament to that. Fintech is no exception here. Across the industry, women make up just 29 per cent of the employee base and the inequality is even starker at a leadership level, with men holding 83 per cent of executive roles. Clearly, this needs to change.

The number of UK fintech firms is due to double by 2030, with thousands of new jobs set to be created across design, developing and marketing. If fintech represents the future, we need to make sure that future is equal.

Part of the problem remains the challenge of getting female students into the subjects that feed fintech. But it is changing. More female students are recognising that coding, advanced maths and computer engineering are pathways that are open to them. Today, there are dozens of organisations set up to encourage women to learn how to code. Some of our clients run these, too. There are more opportunities and networks at women’s disposal than ever.

I can’t think of a better way to close than to use a quote from Sheryl Sandberg from her book ‘Lean in’: ‘“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”

Until we get to that point, we need to keep talking.

For more information about our culture and job vacancies, check out our careers page: http://www.chatsworthcommunications.com/careers/

 

Written by Catherine Day, Account Manager at Chatsworth Communications.

Q&A session with our interns Isabel, Max and Eleanor

Isabel, Max and Eleanor joined Chatsworth as interns and progressed to take on full time roles with the company. We sat down to talk with them about their journey into Fintech PR.

Tell us your Chatsworth story so far.

Isabel: “After graduating from university, I joined Chatsworth in July 2019 as an intern with a six-month contract. In September I was then offered a permanent contract and came on full time as an Assistant Account Executive. However, 2 weeks ago I was really pleased to be promoted to Account Executive.

“Prior to joining Chatsworth, I had minimal PR and fintech experience. However, seven months in, my confidence and knowledge has hugely increased thanks to the support and training from the rest of the team.

“As my first job after uni, Chatsworth has been a great introduction to the working world where I have been challenged but with constant support. Despite being one of the junior members of the team, I am still given great client exposure and work where I feel like I am making a real contribution to the accounts.”

What is a typical working day like at Chatsworth?  

Eleanor: “I can tell you that no one day is the same. We operate a variety of tasks spread across a number of clients, so we are always kept busy. Even when clients are quiet, we come up with innovative ways for optimum exposure to their key target audience. This could include nominating clients for awards, creating press releases off the back of company announcements or creating ads to promote their products.

“My supervisor keeps me on top of things, helping to prioritise work so I never feel overwhelmed.”

What were your preconceptions of the PR industry before starting at Chatsworth and have these now changed?  

Eleanor: “On the surface, you might assume PR is easy but there is so much that goes on behind the scenes. We have to develop the appropriate strategy and key messaging for clients and communicate this effectively to the right publications.

“The important part is keeping the ball rolling. We’re always on the lookout for opportunities to share client stories, meaning we have to maintain relationships with journalists and the clients themselves. After all, it’s about building a client’s reputation over time.”

How did you find the transition from university to working life?

Max: “Working life is very different from life at university. The hours are longer than those worked by the typical student and commuting is not to everyone’s taste. Despite this, I found my transition entirely painless and, after a few weeks, I didn’t give it a second thought.

“My transition was definitely eased by the way Chatsworth enabled me to grow and learn. Instead of chucking me in at the deep end, I was pushed to progress but never really found myself out of my depth. On the rare occasions I did, there was always someone ready to help.”

What is it like to work within the fintech sector?

Max: “Fintech encompasses such a broad range of businesses, using a diverse set of technology to solve problems I never knew existed; however, you will very quickly get to grips with it.

“The sector sees some of the most interesting developments in the financial world and presents the perpetual challenge of communicating intricate details with both clarity and precision.”

Tell us about the employee culture at Chatsworth?

Isabel: “Being a company with under 20 employees, there is a great sense of teamwork at Chatsworth, where your achievements are always noticed and acknowledged. Regardless of the varying levels of authority, there is no sense of superiority and I feel like I can go to anyone in the team for advice and guidance.

“Outside of work, we are a social team and regularly go to events such as pub quizzes, crazy golf and after work drinks. During work hours, we know when to get our heads down but also when to keep things light-hearted – such as with our office bake-off.”

Find out more about internship opportunities at Chatsworth.

FXCM Group Adds Ripple and Bitcoin Cash To Expand Crypto CFD Offering

FXCM announced today  that it has expanded its cryptocurrency offering with the addition of Bitcoin Cash and Ripple.

Since launching crypto CFDs in 2018, FXCM has seen rising demand from retail clients seeking to expand and add new cryptocurrencies to their portfolios.

Bitcoin Cash is borne from Bitcoin but has the capacity to process more transactions due to a larger block size. Ripple tokens, known as XRP, have also become increasingly popular with retail investors.

By trading these cryptocurrencies as CFDs, FXCM traders have the incentive potential opportunity to go both long and short. Micronized CFD contracts allow clients to place trades in fractions, which lowers the minimum margin required to enter a position. In addition, profits are credited to a trader’s account instantly, rather than held in a crypto wallet or cold storage.

Brendan Callan, CEO of FXCM Group, comments: “Having successfully launched three different cryptocurrencies in the past 12 months, our clients are asking us to improve the range of crypto CFDs they can access. The addition of Bitcoin Cash and Ripple marks the latest stage of growth for FXCM’s burgeoning cryptocurrency offering and is in direct response to increased demand from our clients.”

 

Using effective infographics to frame your business narrative

The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is a vast underestimation. In fact, the human brain processes visual content 60,000 times faster than it does text.

Communication is 93% non-verbal, even in the virtual online space. The brain sees in pictures and that’s how you can easily access your memory.

Images communicate. They make us curious and stimulate our minds as we view them. Visual content works and infographics, in particular, offer a highly effective way in conveying complex information in a simple and concise way.

Infographics are great for breaking down research and multiple data points into a digestible format. As a result, they are one of the most used B2B marketing tools where concepts are often complicated and benefit for a clear visual structure.

They are also excellent at fostering engagement. Infographics are liked and shared on social media x3 times more than other types of content. Speaking of engagement, people following text directions alongside illustrations perform with 300% more accuracy than with no pictures. Clearly, Ikea and Lego are onto something here.

Chatsworth employs our understanding and experience to deliver effective infographics which explain complex structures and ideas with clarity and context. Get in touch and we’ll help bring your narrative to life. 

Crisis public relations and issues management

When it gets stormy, Chatsworth’s special situations service helps protect and enhance your reputation, ensuring we tell your side of the story and mitigating potentially negative news which could impact your reputation. Our team has decades of experience advising organisations and individuals with intelligence and discretion. 

Working with full confidentiality, Chatsworth delivers strategic and tactical PR advice and support when our clients need it most. We give leaders informed advice whether they are facing a potential crisis or in the midst of an existing one, helping them to prepare for and manage the communications challenges which affect their organisation’s reputation, ability to operate or valuation. 

Chatsworth has extensive expertise in litigation support – managing the communications process during the course of any legal dispute or adjudicatory processing to protect the client’s reputation. We work closely with in-house and external counsel, leveraging our media relationships to counteract negative publicity, interpret often complex legal issues. 

From positive story formulation to rapid rebuttal and response. Chatsworth will move the compass needle your way.

CordaCon – live from London

R3’s annual flagship conference kicks off this week in London, bringing together hundreds of developers, business leaders and blockchain engineers.

If previous years are anything to go by, the content will be fantastic – real examples, real case studies, knowledge sharing for developers, issue analysis and discussion and engaging presentations.

CordaCon provides a unique opportunity to meet and hear from R3’s clients about how they are leveraging Corda to solve real-world business problems.

Taking place over the course of two days with separate tracks of content – Developer Day (DevDay) and Business Day (BizDay) – it includes senior leaders from financial institutions, corporations, insurance firms, technology firms, independent software vendors (ISVs) and more.

The event, now in its third year, has consolidated its reputation as the fulcrum event for professionals working to apply blockchain-inspired technology to their sectors.

This is in part due to R3 having attracted a critical mass of members and partner, but also because the team’s approach was right from the start.

Rather than build an off-the-shelf blockchain solution and take it to market, R3 worked tirelessly to bring together the leading thinkers from their respective markets with the best developers and software engineers.

The resulting technology, Corda, was launched earlier this year and dozens of CordApps are being developed for it.

Such was demand that this year’s CordaCon was oversubscribed several times over. R3 and Chatsworth will be live tweeting from the event and sharing content and updates as they arise.

Look forward to seeing you there!

UK Holds the Crown for Worldwide Fintech Investment

The UK has received more investment in its fintech sector than any other country in the world, according to KPMG’s latest Venture Pulse Report.

With over US$16.1bn of inbound investment during the first half of the year, the UK is firmly ahead of China (US$15.1bn) and the United States (US$14.2bn).

Europe currently stands as the leading continent for fintech investment ($26bn), with the UK accounting for over half of this. Moreover, four of the ten largest European fintech deals were conducted in the UK. This includes the US$250m raised by Revolut in April and US$100m by eToro in March of this year.

KPMG also predicts that the UK will retain its crown in the second half of 2018.

The report cites artificial intelligence (AI) as one of the main sectors responsible for attracting fintech investment in the UK. Hot startups such as Previse and Mosaic Smart Data are utilising the technology to revolutionise areas as diverse as late payments and data analytics in wholesale financial markets.

Brexit

With the shadow of Brexit looming large, it is a timely reminder of the importance of the UK to the global fintech community. In a keynote speech at London Fintech Week earlier this month, our CEO Nick Murray-Leslie noted how finance and technology are almost indivisible; nowhere comes close to London in terms of dominance as a financial centre and, by extension, a fintech hub.

The strong data also dismisses the notion that Brexit is affecting the way investors think about the City and the rest of the UK. Our view is that Brexit is not the biggest risk to London; rather, it is the risk that the UK, and London in particular, becomes a victim of its own success and unaffordable or unattractive for people.

This city has been undergoing its own version of what scholars of US cities have termed “the Great Inversion”. This is the return of people, high-end housing and highly-paid jobs to city centres. If it becomes too expensive these people will go elsewhere and there may soon be only two types of people left: the wealthy and those who are in social housing. This will be a problem.

Looking Forward

Beyond the UK, fintech as an industry has sky-rocketed this year. Worldwide global fintech investment this year has already exceeded the whole sum value of 2017, proving why it’s crucial for the UK to remain at the forefront of this vital sector.

Chatsworth has been working with a number of award-winning start-ups and established fintechs such as Previse (late payments), Mosaic Smart Data (data analytics), R3 (blockchain), and can personally avow for how London can support a fintech business of any size, better than any other city in the world.

Looking forward to the third-quarter of the year, tax reforms in the US, a significant amount of dry powder and the continued flow of funding into the VC world are expected to keep the fintech investment market strong over the next quarter.

AI and data analytics are expected to remain high on the radar of VC investors. It is also expected that companies in maturing sectors, such as e-commerce, will continue to broaden their offerings and investments in order to access new or adjacent verticals.

But as KPMG notes, an area that may be one to watch over the next quarter will be valuations – particularly for companies with no tangible assets, where investors are focused on what the company might do in the future. The level of assumption and risk involved in these types of valuations is quite high and it is still to be seen if these valuations will be substantiated.

London’s Fintech Scene Greatest Threat Is Not Brexit

Finance and technology are almost indivisible. Nowhere comes close to London in terms of dominance as a financial centre and, by extension, a fintech hub.

Activity in the sector has really exploded in the last half decade. Inward investment to London has doubled since 2014 and it was the leading sector for investment in 2017. UK fintech attracted a record £1.34 billion VC funding, double the amount of any other European country.

That is why some of the most exciting fintech companies in the world, like R3, a consortium of over 200 banks and funds building a blockchain for finance and business, are building right here, in London.

Why London?

This city has been the beating heart of international finance for centuries. The Bank of England was the second central bank in the world and provided the financial flexibility which would be the foundation of the Empire’s power and which has pertained to this day.

Towards the turn of the millennium, the “Big Bang” reforms of the 1980s complimented the infrastructure and expertise which had evolved from running the Empire and led to London becoming the model for global financial administration. Only in a city with London’s concentration of intellectual capital would this have been possible.

So while our cousins across the pond had to deal with the bureaucracy and the restrictive regulation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, we didn’t. Companies simply decided to avoid the hassle by conducting their business in the US and listed their stocks in London where the people and skills were ready for them.

London also holds a unique position in terms of our legal environment, M&A expertise and even our timezone which, even today, remain important factors.

Financial professionals are redefining fintech

Fast forward and these advantage carry over into the fintech sector. There are now legions of financial market professionals and traders moving into fintechs, working with the designers and coders.

Many of my clients are former desk heads or former heads of market data – they have had successful careers but had spotted opportunities to apply technology to improve what they do. These people are bringing their knowledge of the markets, instruments and the complexities of international regulation to the table.

Brexit

Just because London is the undisputed home of fintech today, doesn’t mean that is always going to be the case. I see a couple of threats on the near horizon that need dealing with to stay on top.

Brexit is an obvious concern. We simply must make sure that we remain open for business and be seen to be open for business. I do not agree with the former Foreign Secretary’s reported view that business should go “reproduce” with itself.

If the final deal jeopardises the status of London in the global markets there’s more at risk than just transactions going elsewhere. This is about a concentration of talent and access to capital. The way the UK makes relationships with other countries and structures its own agenda in the run up to Brexit will be key to its success.

London’s talent pool

So Brexit is clearly a risk, but I don’t actually think it’s the biggest risk to London. I think the biggest risk is that it becomes a victim of its own success and unaffordable or unattractive for people.

This city has been undergoing its own version of what scholars of US cities have termed “the Great Inversion”. This is the return of people, high-end housing and highly-paid jobs to city centres.

Inner London’s growth was in part fostered by the ability of creative people from various fields to cluster together and share ideas.

If inner London becomes too expensive these people will go elsewhere. In inner London there may soon be only two types of people left: the wealthy and those who are in social housing. This will be a problem.

London needs to be good for both business and for people and their families. That means ensuring individual and corporation tax is sensible and that families can afford to live in a capital with effective services.

Word to the risk takers

Some final words of tribute to the fintech risk takers who have put their time, their own and their investor’s money, plus a whole lot of coffee and sleepless nights into their concept, design and build.

If you’re doing it in the wholesale markets space, you’re competing for attention in the face of an established tech infrastructure, highly resistant to change. It’s tough, but ultimately the USP of your platform or offering will do the talking. Never give up. Get it right and you will change a – part of this business world for the better.

SWIFT and Chatsworth leading the debate at SIBOS, 2017

The Chatsworth team is proud to be supporting SWIFT at SIBOS, the world’s premier financial services conference, exhibition and networking event. What started out as a banking operations seminar in 1978, has grown into the premier business forum for the global financial community to debate and collaborate in the areas of payments, securities, cash management and trade.

Organised by SWIFT for the financial industry, Sibos has brought financial leaders together, over four decades, to network, collaborate and make sense of changes in the industry, helping to build an understanding of the forces affecting the financial community. 

 SWIFT is all about connectivity. The organisation remains the world’s leading provider of secure financial messaging services, providing a platform for messaging, standards for communicating and products and services to facilitate access and integration; identification, analysis and regulatory compliance.

 The organisation connects more than 11,000 banking and securities organisations, market infrastructures and corporate customers in more than 200 countries and territories. Headquartered in Belgium, SWIFT’s international governance and oversight reinforces the neutral, global character of its cooperative structure.

 The Chatsworth team will be in attendance throughout the event in Toronto, where the team will be working to support SWIFT in highlighting the challenges facing the financial eco-system and how their connectivity and experience can help. Chatsworth’s CEO will also be moderating some of the panel debates.

Get in touch

Email: swift@chatsworthcommunications.com   

Twitter: @chatsworthcomms

We look forward to seeing you there. 

Burberry continues to set the standard

Chatsworth stopped by Burberry’s take over of the Old Sessions House, soon to be London’s hottest new club and restaurant venue, near our office in Clerkenwell. 

The British brand is hosting a photographic exhibition curated by president and chief creative officer Christopher Bailey, entitled ‘Here We Are’, with the accumulated work of over 30 social and documentary photographers who made their aesthetic mark on the 20th Century.

Burberry remains a real case study for smart integrated brand communications, using digital channels, event space and marketing to remarkable effect. 

Marketing by association and advocacy is a clever technique and Burberry use this to the max by curating both new and established art and music to reinforce their own creative work. 

As they say, it’s the company you keep. Great brand, great reputation.

Richard E Grant joins the cast of Downton Abbey

 

 

Richard E. Grant, Chatsworth’s cover star, is to join the cast of Downton Abbey

 

Richard lent his considerable grace and style to front Chatsworth’s rebrand and we’re delighted he’s joining one of our biggest TV exports, adding to his already impressive roll call of great movies and TV.