Dragon saves Akamai

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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."