Jon Aarons, FTI Consulting’s senior MD, talks to Gorkana about the firm’s international growth, its affiliate network and his own personal career highlights.
FTI recently formed a network of affiliate companies, what was the thinking behind that?
As today’s world markets grow increasingly interconnected, investors are compelled to travel further in search of value. Business leaders find themselves accountable to a more complex international array of regulators, stakeholders and customers than they ever imagined.
Financial communications, corporate reputation and public affairs have risen to the strategic agenda. FTI has a strong presence in the world’s key financial and regulatory capitals, but clients also seek our support when they have to manage change or mitigate risks in other parts of the world. Our affiliates are typically the most highly regarded independent leaders in their respective markets.
What are the outcomes you expect to see?
Above all, we aim to serve the needs of our clients wherever they do business around the world, especially at those moments when events are moving fast and when local market expertise and insight are at a premium. Across large parts of Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America, capital is flowing and the business environment is developing in distinctive and complex ways. The most successful companies are highly skilled at navigating regional issues and expectations, but we anticipate continued strong growth in the demand for globally coordinated advice and support.
How are you going to measure those outcomes?
Over many years, we have tracked the globalisation of client demand and can see very clearly that cross-border work is growing. Our affiliates are highly motivated by the opportunities that we can bring them from our global client base, and by their own ability to connect clients with FTI’s deep expertise. We recognise that these independent firms have a choice and they have chosen to align their business with FTI by joining our network. Going forward, we are therefore confident that the scale of collaboration will keep developing.
What does the future hold for FTI?
Given the seismic political events that we have witnessed this year, prediction is a risky game. We must also be conscious that FTI Consulting is a publicly traded NYSE stock, so there are regulatory restrictions too.
But, we are pleased with the ongoing progress we are making towards becoming, on a multi-year basis, a real engine for growth. Our corporate goal is to become the number one firm that companies turn to when they have to manage significant change or mitigate a substantial risk.
As you expand, how do you ensure that all of your outposts stay true to FTI’s principles or defining features?
Each market presents its own particular challenges and FTI has consciously developed its network model to respond flexibly to the individual characteristics of different territories. It’s important that we maintain the agility to support our clients with solutions that fit the market, but we also understand the rising expectation for consistent worldwide standards.
We are rigorous with our due diligence and are investing in actively supporting and integrating the network, for example with a learning and development curriculum to help develop professional capacity.
What has been the highlight of your career to-date?
That’s a tough one. It’s hard to avoid a cliché such as “there’s a new one every day” or “the best is yet to come”. Two key events definitely stand out for me personally: the day in 2000 that I joined a single office firm called Financial Dynamics, and the day in 2006 that we joined forces with FTI Consulting. A decade later, the crystallisation of a truly global network feels like a big moment, but we’re really only just getting started.