Specialist search and selection company secures co-investment for expansion

A South Wales-based specialist search and selection company has secured equity and debt co-investment from Finance Wales plc, HSBC and the Welsh Assembly Government as part of a £475,000 expansion.

Agg Jones Search and Selection Ltd based in Newport, South Wales, provides recruitment services to the financial, professional services, technology and private equity/venture capital sectors through its offices in Newport, London and Manchester. It plans to extend its geographic coverage as part of its growth plans. Finance Wales plc has taken an equity stake in the company and HSBC is providing debt investment. The management team has also secured a Single Investment Fund grant from the Assembly Government.

Founded in 2006 by David Jones and Dr Jennifer Agg, the business focussed initially on executive recruitment in the finance and professional services sectors. It has since expanded its offering to include the placement of professionals across all disciplines in the technology, private equity and venture capital industries.

Mr Jones said his company was not like the usual recruitment consultancies. “We are different in that we don’t operate in a commodity market, where the volume, not suitability of placements is the principal focus. Instead, we are interested in and dedicated to understanding the role, the culture, the personalities, the industry sector and the strengths and weaknesses of the existing management team which allows us to influence the right outcome for the client, rather than just providing someone to fit the slot. Our role is to work with our clients to assist them in the identification of the areas where they need to invest in additional talent and to go out and find those individuals, thereby ensuring our clients remain ahead of the competition. It is a genuine business partnership and only works when we have a meaningful understanding of our clients strategic objectives and operational capabilities.”

He added: “This round of funding will allow us to further develop our offering across the UK by continuing to invest in highly experienced consultants operating in their respective niche markets. We are particularly pleased by the commitment shown by Finance Wales in our business model and believe that the genuine alignment in our values will enable us to leverage the benefits of having a private equity investor on board, allowing us to fully unlock the potential within the business.”

Steve Elias, Portfolio Executive at Finance Wales plc, said: “Agg Jones has demonstrated a solid track record in search and selection, developing a robust business plan for growth throughout the UK. This second round of investment by Finance Wales demonstrates Agg Jones’ strategic approach to making it a significant player in the UK.”

Ieuan Wyn Jones, Welsh Assembly Government Minister for the Economy and Transport, said the Single Investment Fund was designed to help companies expand and access new market opportunities. “The Assembly Government is committed to supporting businesses and the Single Investment Fund is one of many ways we are helping businesses which is critically important given the current economic climate. Its always good news to hear of companies like Agg Jones Search and Selection Ltd expanding and I am pleased we were able to support them with their growth plans.”

David Jones has been involved in a number of successful start-ups where, as operations director, he was responsible for the establishment of two accountancy and finance recruitment consultancies, Sheridan Maine Finance and SML Accountancy, with operations spanning southern England. In these roles he gained first hand experience in generating shareholder value, co-leading successful MBOs from the parent company. Prior to this Mr Jones established his recruitment credentials with the international firm, Walker Hamill, as well as working with a regional boutique.

Dr Agg, Head of Research, was previously director of a research consultancy where she was responsible for quantitative research working predominantly for blue chip corporations and strategy consultancies. Her formative career spent as a university lecturer provided her with the ideal platform for her transition into market research. Both Mr Jones and Dr Agg graduated from the University of Wales.

Lee Newman of HSBC added: "HSBC are really pleased to be able to support Agg Jones in its objective of becoming a leading specialist finance/accountancy recruitment organisation. I am looking forward to further developing our relationship and being part of the success of Agg Jones.”