Andrew Murphy is a Director and Co-founder of Coopman Search and Selection. Starting his recruitment career in 2014, Andrew has extensive experience specialising in accounting, finance and risk across all levels. Get to know Andrew in this spotlight interview covering trends in financial services (FS), managing a business during COVID-19, the Coopman brand and more.
Q1. WHY DID YOU GO INTO RECRUITMENT?
I was advised to go into recruitment and I thank my lucky stars that I was! When I moved to Ireland, I was working with a recruiter who asked me if I had ever thought about going into recruitment, that with a sales background and a psychology degree it would suit me quite nicely. He advised that I should consider IT and finance as they were areas that were performing well. So from there, I met with a few companies and started my career in FS recruitment.
Q2. WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES MARKET, EITHER NOW OR COMING IN THE FUTURE?
A trend across many sectors including financial services is that of digital transformation and the AI movement. People using technology more to drive results and having the human ability to interpret and talk about what they are seeing will be key. It is important that FS professionals adapt to technological advances, in order to not be left behind.
On the back of COVID-19, people will need to be a lot more flexible. So traditionally, the FS sector is largely office based and that’s going to change. Take traders in international banks for example, they are setup trading at home – that is unheard of, people never thought it would happen. And with remote working becoming the norm, FS companies will have access to a widened pool of talent from jurisdictions they didn’t before – so the whole talent movement will be very different.
New regulation from the Central Bank of Ireland means companies are always analysing how they do business. Some big institutions on the banking side are hampered by regulations and the costs involved in meeting requirements, which allows for start-ups to come in and take market share. And with the rise in fintech, regtech and insurtech, it will be interesting to see how traditional companies react to stay in the game.
Q3. HOW IS COOPMAN DEALING WITH THE CURRENT MARKET UNCERTAINTY AND CHANGE?
As we saw COVID-19 becoming more prevalent in the EU, we put ourselves out there front and centre to say we were not meeting people in person in order to mitigate the risk of spreading the potential virus. So I think from the outset, we were always looking ahead as to what was happening in relation to COVID-19.
Once the shutdown was announced, we reviewed our business model and asked ourselves – what do we need to do here to get through this? Cost-cutting and revenue were the two areas we focused on. For example, on the cost-cutting side, we decided that our office space was something we could forego and our team has since been successfully working remotely.
It was then a case of reviewing day by day and week by week what was happening in the market and a big focus for us was bringing people together during such a difficult and unusual time. We ran webinars on remote management with senior leaders and c-suite professionals and we even had an individual from BNP Paribas Real Estate join us to discuss how to re-open offices once it was announced it was ok to do so. And we kept in frequent contact with our key clients to see how they were getting on, to advise on remote interview and selection processes and to just make sure they were in a good position and that their staff were ok.
Q4. WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE ANYONE EVER GAVE YOU?
My uncle was a General Manager at a very successful bakery production company in New Zealand and he used to say that there is always work to be done, most of the time it can wait until tomorrow – basically not to always feel that you have to get everything done that day and to find that balance of being able to switch off. It can be hard to put it into play when you are starting a business, but it is certainly something I try to live by.
Q5. HOW WOULD YOU PITCH THE COOPMAN BRAND IN 30 SECONDS?
Coopman Search and Selection is a specialist financial services recruitment company, positioned in the market across all sectors of financial services, focused on qualified professionals in accounting, finance, risk and compliance. We really care about the people that we work with so through our established networks on the client side and also the individuals side, we really see it as our mission to bring people together in a consultative approach that focuses on engagement throughout.
Q6. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
Working with people and helping people, that’s what motivates me and drives me to be creative. This business, for example, involved creating something in your mind and then transforming that into its physical form in order to bring people in and help them to reach their career goals. I enjoy seeing something created, seeing people buy into it, appreciate and like it.
Q7. WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE COOPMAN SEARCH AND SELECTION IN A YEARS’ TIME?
Now that we have lived through a pandemic, or we are living through a pandemic, and we are potentially facing a recession, I would like to see Coopman in the same position in the sense that we are stable, that we are looking at opportunities that are presenting themselves, and that we are continuing to build the brand. I think if Coopman in a years’ time is really seen as an industry specialist, that would be a good win. In terms of headcount, there is no particular number we need to be at, that will come as and when the business requires it.
Q8. HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
My work week runs from Sunday evening to Friday close of play and I make sure to switch off at the weekends. I spend time with my family, we always have something planned whether it is a walk, visiting relatives or even a movie night in. I think it is important to find those moments where I can really switch off and just be present with my family. Outside of that, I exercise regularly. I run a lot, I actually use that time to think away from the desk. I also always try to be in bed at a reasonable hour, usually around 10/10:30 pm in order to get a good 7-8 hours’ sleep.