We sat down with Nicola Horlick to learn about her career prior to Money&Co. and find out why she decided to leave the city for alternative finance, in this week’s Founder and CEO Q&A.
Horlick, originally from the Wirral, spent much of her career working in some of the UK’s top investment institutions before setting up Peer-to-Peer lending platform, Money&Co. Money&Co. offers individuals, family offices or institutions, looking for a better rate of interest on their cash to lend to small businesses that need to borrow in order to grow.
Tell me a little bit about your career prior to Money&Co.
I started my career as a graduate trainee at SG Warburg. I then went to Morgan Grenfell and was given the task of turning around its failing UK investment business. I then set up Socgen’s fund management business in London and stayed there for 6 years. I set up my first totally independent business in 2004 and launched it in 2005 – Bramdean Asset Management. Derby Street Films was established in 2010 and then rockpool in 2011. Money&Co. was set up in 2013 and launched on 29 April 2014.
After having such a successful career in traditional finance, why did you decide to move into the alternative finance space?
I moved into alternative finance when I set up Bramdean in 2004. I felt that it was difficult to add value as a traditional fund manager as markets had become so efficient. I saw a much greater opportunity in the AltFi area. Money&Co. was my first foray into fintech and I truly believe that fintech businesses will continue to disrupt and will experience very rapid growth over the coming years.
What role do you see fintech companies playing in the future?
I think that fintech will continue to disrupt traditional finance businesses. In particular, the banks are inefficient and very unhelpful towards small and medium-sized companies, which gives businesses like Money&Co. an increasing opportunity.
What fintech companies are you watching at the moment?
I have been most focused on crowdfunding (equity and debt + invoice discounting). There are a number of companies that I admire in our ‘space’. With regard to other areas, you could argue that Hargreaves Lansdown is a fintech company and it has done spectacularly well, which is very commendable. Nutmeg is also interesting.
Since starting your career, do you think the number of women holding senior positions in finance has increased?
When I started in finance, there were very few senior women and women were very under-represented throughout financial firms. There are now many more women in junior positions, but there are still too few at senior levels. This is partly because women start in finance and then frequently leave after 2-3 years and change careers. I have seen this happen many times when I have worked in large banks. When I have asked women why they are leaving, they say that they don’t like the environment and they don’t think it is creative. I disagree and feel that I have had a great opportunity to be creative during my time in finance. It is incumbent on women like me that have had a long career in finance to try and attract more women into the sector and to retain them.
What does the future of finance look like?
Very different to how it is now. I envisage a large proportion of investment and fundraising taking place online in the future.
Please visit Money&Co. to find out more information on their current opportunities. Your Capital is At Risk.