Frank Hoyt Moxon
Master of The Worshipful Company of International Bankers
Frank studied Economics at Loughborough University, graduating in 1988. Before, during and after his studies, Frank worked within both a fund management and a stockbroking firm. Set on what he wanted to achieve with a strong sense of a future career path, Frank’s work within banking, fund management and stockbroking escalated. Now the Master of The Worshipful Company of International Bankers, Frank shares highlights of his career and some of his experiences.
Loughborough not only had the advantage of a good reputation in economics under Professor David Llewellyn but was also a great university for sport. I had been captain of the fencing team at school and assumed the same role during my first year at Loughborough, becoming president of the fencing club and a finalist in the BUSF (now BUCS) fencing championships in my third year.
How has your time at Loughborough University inspired you and helped you to progress in your career?
I had already spent a year working in the City at a fund management firm prior to becoming an undergraduate student and spent academic holidays undertaking internship roles at the same company and, later, a stockbroking firm. By combining my academic studies with practical work experience and the ability to question other professionals I was able to get a fairly good handle on what I wanted to achieve.
University life introduced me to a broad variety of people and provided me with the freedom to discuss and exchange ideas on a whole range of subjects from unfamiliar viewpoints. If school had been the making of me then Loughborough provided the finishing touches, opening up my enquiring mind to a new world of possibilities. Some of the friendships I made at Loughborough still survive and we have been able to help each other along the way.
What advice would you give to current or prospective students looking to study the same course that you did?
I took my degree in Economics having done well at A-level and therefore found the first year of the degree rather easy. Unfortunately, this gave me an undeserved feeling of invincibility. I took my eye off the academic ball and received quite a shock when I got my second year results. Luckily, I was able to make a decent recovery in time for my finals.
My advice to any student is by all means enjoy the new freedoms and experiences that university life has to offer but keep your focus on the academic work – it will form the bedrock of your career progress. Nevertheless, do try to pursue outside interests since prospective employers will be looking for evidence that you have skills beyond mere book learning.
Capel Cure Myers (or CCM), the stockbroking firm with late 18th Century origins with whom I had enjoyed several internships while at Loughborough, promised me a job provided I obtained a Third Class degree. I accepted with a 2:2, still below their normal graduate entry requirements, and became a graduate Trainee Research Analyst specialising in multiple retail stores and leather goods.
My second career began at a start-up stockbroking firm, Beeson Gregory, set up by pre-closure defectors from CCM, I became a Graduate Trainee, Corporate Finance and spent seven years there rising to the rank of Associate Director, Corporate Finance and leaving to accept a directorship in the UK stockbroking division of the French bank, Société Générale. This led to similar positions at South Africa’s Old Mutual and the UK’s Williams de Broë, a subsidiary of Dutch bank, ING, where I became Head of Corporate Finance. In 2006 it was acquired by the UK’s Evolution Securities, now part of South Africa’s Investec. Its stockbroking operations largely comprised the original Beeson Gregory business and somebody quipped that this meant that I had effectively spent twenty years going nowhere. This remark had some resonance and I resigned my position effective 31st December 2007, thus neatly avoiding the banking crash of 2008, and set up Hoyt Moxon Ltd to undertake corporate finance and related advisory work on my own.
At Hoyt Moxon I now assist companies looking to get their foot on the quoted company ladder and also those who are quoted, and their advisers, who need additional assistance in times of trouble or when facing unusual situations. This has inevitably taken me into new avenues such as non-executive directorships and appearing as an expert witness in Court cases and regulatory tribunals.
How did you get into the Oil & Gas and Mining sectors? What is it about these areas that have interested you during your career?
The classic stereotyped definition of a miner is a liar at the top of a hole. At the start of my career I would have laughed at any suggestion that I would end up advising natural resources companies or joining their Boards. However, during the dot com boom, the tech bubble of the late 1990s, I was the most junior corporate finance director at a firm that had only one technology analyst and did not fancy my chances of being able to generate huge revenue streams under such an obvious resource constraint.
Discovering that the firm had the top rated mining team I decided, on Darwinian principles that the continued survival of my career depended upon my ability to adapt, to take up mining. When the specialist oil & gas corporate financier was headhunted away just a few months later it was assumed, quite wrongly, that my then somewhat limited mining experience somehow qualified me to be an oil & gas expert and I was given additional responsibility. I have now been a specialist in both mining and oil & gas for over 18 years.
I rapidly discovered that a life in natural resources sets one apart from the rest of a stockbroking firm. The UK economy suddenly becomes almost irrelevant, a good knowledge of global and regional geopolitics is essential.
I fell in love with natural resources very quickly and decided to sit a degree in geology at Birkbeck College, University of London at evening classes. I proudly completed most of the first year courses but had badly underestimated the amount of free time I had available for academic study and had to withdraw from the course. Nevertheless, this gave me a reasonable, technical grounding and has enabled me to credibly deal with technical experts on a range of issues.
You have affiliations and memberships with a variety of Boards, how do these impact upon your time and expertise?
I now enjoy a portfolio career and have never really given up the long hours that I became used to during my stockbroking career.
I currently sit on the Boards of two small oil and gas companies operating in East Africa and the North Sea and a mining company with assets in Brazil. I am also a director of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, the 40,000-member professional body for security industry professionals, and the Colchester Academy of Performing Arts which is currently applying for free school status. I am also a Vice Chairman of the RNLI’s City of London Committee.
As a non-executive director of natural resources companies I am able to offer the benefit of over 25 years of corporate finance expertise and a deep understanding of corporate governance requirements and the design and implementation of growth strategies.
In return, I am constantly increasing my knowledge of the industry and the commercial and technical challenges that it faces. My educational and charity work also enables me to leverage my skills, develop new capabilities and put something back into the community.
In 2014 I co-conceived and led the production of the “Rock’n’Oil Dinner & Gig” event at the Grand Connaught Rooms. This comprised, somewhat incongruously, a silver service dinner and rock concert featuring two bands each with lead guitarists with day jobs as senior oil & gas company executives. It was attended by some 450 members of the oil & gas industry and raised £68,000 for the RNLI. It was the perfect fusion of industry contacts and organisational talent in aid of a worthy cause.
Sadly, I have not spent significant periods of my life living and working abroad. Nevertheless, I have completed corporate finance transactions on the London, Toronto, Australia, Oslo and Stockholm stock exchanges and visited clients and mine sites in well over twenty countries in five continents during which my accommodation has ranged from five star hotels to a tent and a camper van. I was once given personal use of a helicopter for a week in order to cover a large geological area containing several mine sites worthy of inspection. I have experienced 46°C in the Eastern Desert of Egypt and -28°C in downtown Toronto. I have also lectured on corporate finance and related matters in the UK, Europe, Africa, South-East Asia and North America and met with a king, a president, a vice president, various government ministers and the odd central bank governor.
These trips rarely take me to the tourist spots and this usually means that I am either located in the middle of nowhere or getting to see a country from the perspective of a native inhabitant. Every place has its own achievements, problems, local customs and way of doing things and I have been privileged to receive quite an education accordingly.
How did you become Master of The Worshipful Company of International Bankers and what does this involve?
The WCIB is the City of London’s 106th livery company and has some 700 members, ranging from university undergraduates to main Board members, of over 50 different nationalities drawn from more than 250 banks and other financial services firms. Its principal objectives are the encouragement of high ethical and professional standards within financial services, good works in the fields of charity and education and fellowship. Its charitable trust has distributed over £1 million to good causes in addition to time and expertise donated to the community by WCIB members. It awards essay prizes at a number of universities and business schools, including Loughborough University, and an overall Lombard Prize to the best of these winners.
In 2010 I was appointed to the Court, the WCIB’s governing body, and in 2013 was elected Junior Warden. From there I progressed in successive years to Middle Warden (a position currently held by Mark Sismey-Durrant, also a Loughborough University alumni), Senior Warden and, in September 2016, Master. The Master holds office for one year and is the senior Liveryman and effectively chairman of the Court. There are also ceremonial duties, swearing in new WCIB Freemen and Liverymen, attending functions held by other livery companies and those connected with the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of the City of London and presiding over the WCIB’s own Installation Court Dinner, where the Master retires and his successor takes office, and its Annual Banquet which is usually held at Guildhall in the City of London.
My year in office is marked by the rare privilege of the WCIB being mother company to Alderman & Sheriff Peter Estlin who took office as a Sheriff of the City of London the day after my own installation as Master.
This is the oldest elected role in the country, long preceding Parliament, and is the penultimate stepping stone for any potential Lord Mayor. I have therefore assumed additional ceremonial duties as a member of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs' Committee which has oversight for the Silent Ceremony, the Lord Mayor's Show and the Lord Mayor's Banquet at Guildhall.
It is always tremendously exciting to successfully complete a corporate finance transaction and, from time to time, I take pride in the promotions and other achievements of younger people I have trained, mentored, supervised and become friends with.
My personal moment involves a comeback from adversity. I joined a new firm in 2001 to discover that its oil & gas and mining teams had been head-hunted away while I was on leave and the sole remaining resource was a mining analyst who had also only just joined and had been ordered to cover the oil & gas sector.
We got on with the job and quickly managed to win a mandate for the IPO of an oil & gas exploration company which was postponed indefinitely just weeks before completion when the 9/11 attacks disrupted the markets. In the two years I was at the firm, we had three different heads of corporate finance and a long interregnum, were acquired by another firm, both the mining and oil & gas sectors were not performing terribly well, the mining analyst left to join a firm where he was not forced to do oil & gas and I completed just three corporate finance transactions (including this dry spell I have averaged more than 5 per year over the last 26 years).
In 2003 I was made redundant when the firm decided to pull out of natural resources. This period was the absolute nadir of my career. Within 12 months I had joined a new firm, completed the cancelled oil & gas IPO and been appointed stockbroker to a FTSE-250 mining company and a larger Canadian mining company and a year later became head of corporate finance. I knew then that I had a great team around me and was at the very top of my game.