Financial services consultancy
Ninety-eight percent of Penrose’s clients came to the firm by referral, either from by journalists, current and past clients and former colleagues. That’s the kind of thing that happens when you focus on a specific sector—in this case, the financial services industry—when you know the players in that sector inside and out, and when you do good work.
Penrose has more than 30 full-time employees and turnover of around £2.7 million, up about 20 percent over last year, with a bumper crop of new clients: 29 over the past 12 months (24 on retainer) including Standard Asset Management, PIMCO, Independent Risk Monitoring, Investit, Watson Wyatt, Pensions Management Institute, Pensions Action Group, Threadneedle Asset Management, Ecofin, E.Capital Partners and Kleinwort Capital. They join a client list that includes State Street Corporation, AXA Investment Managers, Credit Suisse Asset Management, and SEI Investments.
Historically, Penrose was organized into four practice areas: the institutional fund management and investor services team, led by managing director Gay Collins, works with fund managers targeting institutional assets, consultants or providers of investor services; the retail financial services team, led by partners Louise Hatch and Claire Burston; the private equity and hedge funds team, led by partner Shona Prendergast; and the banking and research team, led by partner Andrew Nicolls, which works with clients on both sell side and buy side. New in 2004 was the addition of financial technology group, led by new hire Emma Thorpe, who joined from Weber Shandwick as associate director, working with new clients such as Virt-x, MarketAxess, SecFinex, ITG Europe, Scrittura, and Barra.
Client assignments span a wide range of challenges. As pensions became a hot political issue, especially in the run up to the election, Penrose helped client AXA Investment Managers create and launch the U.K. Pensions Manifesto Challenge to encourage new thinking on how to solve the pensions crisis, working with The Financial Times and culminating in the presentation of awards by David Blunkett, then-secretary of state for work and pensions. The firm also generated national and international coverage for Coller Capital’s barometer on limited partners’ views on the private equity market and helped publicize Wagamama and Jimmy Choo transactions for Lion Capital, a leading European private equity firm.
The firm handles pan-European public relations strategies for about 25 percent of its clients, working with HDL Communications in Paris and hand-picked affiliate agencies in Germany and other key markets.