“It appears to me that in Ethics, as in all other philosophical studies, the difficulties and disagreements, of which its history is full, are mainly due to a very simple cause: namely to the attempt to answer questions, without first discovering precisely what question it is which you desire to answer”
G.E.Moore, Principia Ethica
In business, as in philosophy, we tend to turn simple matters into laboured and complex issues; most of these situations could indeed be resolved, as Moore suggests, by analysing what is the question you really want to answer. After years of frenetic activity, suffering what Goncharov termed a ‘cruel afﬂiction’ (that human and unstoppable passion or tendency to let things happen without pausing from time to time to reﬂect on why they should necessarily happen), it is time to ask ourselves what kind of company we want to be. We, the partners of N+1, C.W. Downer, N+1 Swiss Capital, N+1 Daruma, N+1 Landmark, N+1 Singer and other companies in the group aspire to become a global ﬁnancial services institution specialised in the mid-market segment. Let’s pause for a moment to think about the items which deﬁne or characterise this “company” we strive to become:
By institution we do not only mean an independent organisation which services its clients, investors, shareholders, partners and professionals but also a ﬁrm which strives to endure beyond its founders and become a lasting endeavour for the generations to come. The path we have walked so far is nothing compared to the path before us; our project is only starting out. That is one of its charms. Transformation requires input from all. It requires all of us to take stock of the fact that if we truly advance, it will be a source of pride to have laid the foundations for an institution.
We conduct our business in the context of the ﬁnancial services sector. In our case, providing advice to companies, family ofﬁces and institutions with respect to their ﬁnancial strategies and the execution of related transactions; providing investment strategy advice to funds, institutional investors and families and managing the related assets. We believe in the virtue of having exposure, as we do, to the investment banking and asset management businesses, while investing in our products. This generates highly complementary ﬂows of income and greater income stability throughout cyclical ups and downs.
Our ‘target’ clients operate in the mid-market, whether they be companies, investment institutions or family ofﬁces. After nearly three decades working with these clients, we know them well. We can offer them more value added. We have built very long-term relationships with them. And we look at the world through the same prism as they do; we progress at the same pace as they do. It is impossible to ring-fence the mid-market with statistics; it requires a qualitative approach as it encompasses a myriad of economic agents. It is also impossible to penetrate the mid-market without sharing the same mindset. It is a space in which one has to ﬁght to survive; there are no crutches or guarantees; and mistakes come at a high price. But it is also a space for growth, for new ambitions, for creative and innovative spirits.