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Dragon saves Akamai

James Caan looks set to save the day at Akamai. Is the need for a cash injection a nasty omen for other financial services recruiters?

James Caan, an entrepreneur and one of the investors on Dragon’s Den, is considering putting an unspecified amount of cash into the UK business of Akamai Financial Markets, which seems to have come perilously close to hitting the buffers.

In what may yet be seen as the golden age of financial services recruiting, Akamai (formerly known as Alexander Mann Financial Markets), expanded its operations fast and furiously.

Between 2006 and 2007 it opened new offices in Singapore, Tokyo and Dubai, and added a raft of new consultants and researchers – seven were added in London last September alone.

More recently, however, there have been indications that all was not well in the Akamai empire. Shares in holding company Hat Pin were suspended from Aim in February following revelations of accounting irregularities at a subsidiary.

Bonuses at Akamai have still not been paid for last year, and one consultant says there was concern that February’s salaries wouldn’t be paid either. In the event, they were, and a spokesman for the company (talking before Caan’s intervention), said salaries have also been guaranteed for March.

A spokesman for Hat Pin was unable to comment on Caan’s investment.

Caan, a veteran recruitment industry investor, was one of the original investors in Akamai. He says: “I founded this business in 1985 and the people I put in to run it 10 years ago are still there. I back good people and this business has a good professional and stable team. I am therefore considering my options with regards to acquiring this business.”

Comments (10)

  1. Be sure your sins will find you out eventually!If I was a consultant at Akamai I would get out now; once a company has problems paying salaries and bonuses that is the end. There are many other recruitment firms that are going to go the same way this year.

  2. No Dragon is going to announce he is considering putting money into a firm in order to revive the fortunes of the organisation. He is either embedded in there already and using his “clout” in the market to drive up investor interest or, as above, nothing but a PR stunt!

    Director. Recruitment Firm. Reply
  3. Whilst not sure if this is necessarily ‘an omen’ for other financial recruiters, for any staff within any recruitment firm (large or small) owed money – commission, bonus or otherwise – be very very careful.
    Duped by a former employer claiming only ‘very short-term cash flow issues’, he and his company went to the wall 2 months later: staff were owed 100k in back pay and commissions of which, a significant part was contractually due to me.
    A horrible, painful and costly lesson I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to endure.

    Been there, be careful Reply
  4. Totally agree with been there, be careful above. I too have been screwed by unscrupulous former employer who owed me 40K and could not pay me due to “cash flow problems”. In the end I had to bill one of my kind clients direct to get the money I was contractually owed, and got it but it was a very stressful process and I would not wish it on anyone. So to all consultants at Akamai I would get out while you can, if you are any good there are lots of other more secure firms out there which will snap you up if you are any good. Look after yourself – No1!!!

    Anon, seasoned 20+ years recruiter Reply
  5. The writing was on the wall when the shares were suspended on aim – why would anyone in this climate look to make a cash injection into thwat is a clearly failed business. The costs of being a ppublic company in todays market dont leave much margin for errot – the employees will be the ones who suffer in this. afterall an investor, will seek a return – in a declining market how will this be possible. The good will of the employees will be lost and if there is anyone in the company with a ounce of commercial acumen they will walking out the door asap. Recruitment firms are only as good as the people in them – if those people are disenfranchised there really is no future. I also seem to rememeber that Caan was bought out of the original alexmann by share sale to 3i – however from what i have been told this was consdired neccessary to take the company forward – as the management style was stopping sustainable growth.
    I iwsh all the consultants well – but what firm stands a chance by reverting to old management, no doubt bundles of debt and consultants who wish thet were elsewhere in a market thats getting tougher by the day..
    good luck you will need it –

  6. Interesting to see whether Caan will now pay bonuses – more likely that he’ll give everyone stock, which you can bet won’t go down very well.

  7. stock…that ole chestnut –

  8. Employees are suppose to be the greatest asset of any firm, clearly this is not the case…The man responsible behind the scene should be black listed in this industry.

    I say get out while you can and bring all your clients with you.

  9. Told you so!!! I see Akamai business in Dubai has been sold for 1 to Hexagon…..says it all.

    Anon, seasoned 20+ years recruiter Reply

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