5 QUESTIONS WITH PARRISH PRYCE-WILLIAMS
We spoke to PryceWilliams’s Director, Parrish Pryce-Williams about his experience in the financial sector and his vision for the company.
What can you tell us about PryceWilliams?
At PryceWilliams, we’re specialists in three things: strategy implementation, regulatory compliance and technology automation. Our clients tend to be in banking, financial services and the fintech space — which of course, is an up-and-coming area.
How did you become a specialist in these fields?
I began working in financial services through a job at PwC in their banking and capital markets practice. I had the opportunity to work on both the Morgan Stanley and RBS bailouts — which resulted in quite a few interesting projects. RBS had bought ABN pre-crisis; I worked on integrating their operations across Europe and Asia into RBS, predominantly around the treasury function. For Morgan Stanley, I worked on the global FX management process, which allowed them to measure all their risk exposure in one central place.
In addition to these big projects, I also had a variety of work that included brands like Deutsche Bank, UBS as well as other areas of RBS. It was during this period that I began working with all the top tier banks and was able to build a book of contacts, which has held me in good stead today.
What makes PryceWilliams different from other companies in the sector?
What makes us different, and where we really help our clients, is our drive to deliver extremely high quality work — whether it’s in the strategy, technology or regulatory space. The key difference between us and other firms is that we make real progress happen in the most efficient manner possible. We don’t let challenges or issues stop us from delivering. We look for solutions and find ways to help our client overcome whatever they might be up against.
Of course, it’s not just about doing the work. We always need to remain in touch with the theoretical aspects of the sector to really understand the evolving world of financial services. Personally, I have a wealth of experience in this space. I’ve worked with some of the world’s biggest banking organisations. I have an MBA as well as an MSc in finance. I studied Digital Currency at MIT and I’m also a part qualified accountant. I mention all of this because it really highlights our depth of knowledge. For us at PryceWilliams, it’s not just about understanding how to develop a strategy. We understand the balance sheet of a bank, how derivatives work, how lending works — all those kind of things. I think that’s a key differentiator in how we present ourselves as a company.
How do you want the business to grow?
There are four of us now who have been working together for two years as part of PryceWilliams in an informal way. We’ve identified where our strengths are, especially in terms of how we deliver for our clients. Our next step is to build the brand, and a formal structure around that, as a legal entity.
We’ve made the decision to divide the business into three key areas that we aim to grow over time. There is of course the consulting piece which includes strategy, regulation and automation. Our second pillar is what we’re looking to offer our clients soon, which is accounting services — particularly in the small to medium fintech space. And then there is the third pillar which we intend to bring in later on, we aim to offer outsourced services to other businesses. That includes everything from administration to running a particular process and on-boarding new clients.
What was it like working with HERRON + CO?
When I launched PryceWilliams, it was a really informal set up. Once we had decided on the three different pillars of the business, I reached out to Paul and his team for help on how to position ourselves and go to market.
Before PryceWilliams, I was running a travel tech startup. Year one and year two were fantastic, but year three was a bit of a disaster, and we made the decision to shut it down. I had learned some lessons from the experience. When we first came to market with that product, we got it wrong. We got the branding wrong, we got the positioning wrong. We got the look and feel of our website wrong, we got our digital presence wrong. I was mindful of that. I wanted to get someone involved who could get it right for us the first time around.
Paul presented some work he had done for a legal firm. Based on his presentation — and the experience I knew he had, I felt that he was the right person for the task. As a designer he knew what he was doing, but he also understood our goals and vision as a company. We didn’t want to look like a dated legal or accounting firm, and we wanted to be able to attract some of the newer players in the market.
Paul and I worked through many of the initial key steps together. He helped us to identify who we were as a company, what we wanted to achieve, our overall vision and importantly, who our clients and competitors are. While we’re a very small consultancy, we’re competing with what is known as the Big Four — KPMG, EY, Deloitte and PwC — because we deliver that kind of quality.
Once the team at HERRON + CO spent time researching the sector and positioning of the company, they began developing the brand. They spent a lot of time creating concepts and really distilling the message behind the brand — which is where the slogan ‘Making Progress Happen’ came from. That brand message is really central to our business.
At PryceWilliams, we’re right at the centre of linking where the client is today and where they want to be in the future. We’re right there helping them every step of the way — and we’re delivering at a very, very high level in terms of quality and in terms of the deliverables.
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