Letter from Australia | How Momenta is carving out a new niche

Australia

Australia is proving an exciting market for contracting, and Simon Rippon is the man tasked with leading Momenta’s new team down under. He tells The Mix about the opportunities and challenges opening up there – for both associates and clients.

“Australia opens up a tremendously exciting opportunity for Momenta, and our associates.

“We wanted to grow and develop the core business and expand into new geographies as part of our diversification strategy. When we looked at Australia and how the regulatory landscape for financial services had been changing there in recent years, we were struck by the similarities of those changes when compared to those we had already worked through in the UK.

“Many of the fundamental levers, issues and industry drivers are the same– so it’s an appealing prospect for us.

“The Australian regulator ASIC, has taken most of its approach of dealing with advice review and remediation from the FCA in the UK; looking at the standards and regulatory frameworks that are in place and replicating them.  And having, as a business, worked within this UK regulatory-driven environment for 25 years, it’s one we’re very familiar with, so we can add a lot of value as we really understand the detail.

How is contracting viewed in Australia?

“Contracting as a career choice is a very new concept here in Australia, so that is both a challenge and an opportunity for us. As the financial services sector matures in the way it has in the UK, it will become better known as a way of working and provide good opportunities for people to tailor-make their careers.

“As the industry and contracting develops, people will soon see the advantages that come from being a contractor – for example, how what may start out as a 6 month contract, often becomes a 9, 12 month (or even longer) one. In the UK, people know this, as contracting has been a career choice for many years, but it will take a bit more time for people here to see it happening and become more comfortable with it.

“Without a track record in Australia of contracting in financial services, it’s still somewhat unknown and potentially daunting for people who have never considered it before. So it’s our job to start to change perceptions and help them make the move.

Attracting new associates

“The type of people we are able to attract as associates are those who have the experience of the financial services sector, but find the compliance, review and advice side more appealing than what can be a more sales and target driven environment.  For people who like the industry, have a broad understanding of areas of financial advice and like ‘doing the right thing’ this type of contracting is a great option: they get to use their existing skills, knowledge and experience in a way that is focused on the customer’s best interest.

“In Australia people have been used to being employed in a permanent role with decent benefits and typically quite a lot of flexibility.

“So what we’re doing is focusing on attracting people who are looking to change role and use their financial services skills in a rewarding environment that is not sales orientated. If you are coming to Australia, or are already here and looking for work, there are a number of current and prospective opportunities. And if you hold the Diploma of Financial Planning known as RG146, that will make you eligible for a wider still range of contracts.

What is the Momenta difference, down under?

“We’re in a very good place as we are different to other providers here in Australia. Typically, we are competing with ‘high street’ recruitment agencies here, who do not necessarily appreciate fully all the challenges and complexities of regulatory driven, compliance, advice review and remediation projects – so with our UK experience we can offer a lot of value.

“We want to work in partnership with clients where we’re able to share our experience and collaborate, rather than just being ‘a supplier’ who sends out CVs. That’s how we will build our reputation. We are in a good place to create a very strong position for the future as we have already been through in the UK, what our clients and prospective clients, here in Australia are going through now for the first time.

“We can draw on our experience in the UK to give advice and use our ISO9001 certified processes for the supply of specialist resource, which adds credibility regarding the people we provide.

A personal perspective

“Because we’re in the early days of contracting in this market, and because we are still establishing our brand and reputation we want to give the personal touch but also start the development of a contractor community and help people transition in the best way. We help them understand what the opportunities are for them and work hard to put in place the foundations of what will be long-term business relationships.

“It’s a terrific opportunity for me to be out here with my family, embarking on this fantastic journey. I believe that from a personal perspective it’s important to be able to adapt and grow and to take on new challenges and this role is providing plenty of opportunities for this!

“I am privileged to be leading an important step in Momenta’s diversification strategy. It allows me to put to use a number of the skills that I have developed over the past 19 years while working in the business: everything from specialist search and selection, quality assurance standards and resourcing, new client acquisition, key account development and relationship management through to the ongoing need for delivery of results for clients. 

Building our reputation

“One of the things I’m very aware of is that just because something has worked in the past in the UK, doesn’t necessarily meant it will work in the future. Adapting to any change is not something that happens overnight; you have to work hard at it to be successful. And we realise that, as a business with a very strong reputation in the UK, we had to start from scratch here in building that reputation in Australia.

“It’s an ongoing process and we’ve tried to engrain it in every element of what we do as a business here. The advantage being that we can build and shape people’s view of who we are and what we stand for as a business, and that is key in a market that is only in the very first stages of seeing contracting roles appear in banking and financial services. 

The Momenta advantage

“One of the exciting things about starting to work with clients in Australia is that as we’re new and relatively small at the moment, we can be lean, flexible and agile to meet their particular needs. We have an excellent team in place with first-rate local knowledge and experience together with the backing of the well-established business in the UK to give additional support and firepower. We’re in a fantastic position because we are able to replicate the things we know work, but can be agile enough to be adaptable where things might need to be done differently for the best client outcomes in a new and developing industry.

“It’s certainly a great place to be right now, both personally, and as a business!”

If you are interested in knowing about the current opportunities with Momenta Resourcing in Australia click here.