Former Cognito execs join forces to launch Vested

Dan Simon and Binna Kim, both formerly of Cognito, are launching Vested, an integrated comms firm focused on the financial industry.

NEW YORK: Dan Simon and Binna Kim, both formerly of Cognito, are launching Vested, an integrated comms firm focused on the financial industry.

Based in New York, Vested aims to help both traditional and new financial firms tackle their sales and marketing objectives through paid, owned, earned, and shared media campaigns.

Simon is CEO of the new firm; Kim is president. Currently, Vested has five staffers.

The firm is focused on supporting companies to communicate "in the new financial technology landscape." Simon said banks, asset managers, and even hedge funds and trading organizations are being "deeply impacted" by changes brought about due to the new fintech industry.

"For a lot of new firms in this new finance space, traditional PR is probably not going to cut it in terms of being able to meet their business needs, so we’re really thinking about how to creatively and smartly leverage all different channels in ways that will help actually deliver business results for these firms," explained Kim.

At launch, Vested is representing 10 clients across the financial spectrum, including the Carbon Trade Exchange, Contix, HedgeCoVest, Polaris Consulting, and the Museum of American Finance.

Additionally, Vested is embracing an entrepreneurial partnership approach with its employees by offering each of them dividend-yielding equity stake in the firm; unlimited vacation days; flextime; a three-month sabbatical after four years of employment; monthly Uber and Starbucks accounts; along with other benefits.

"There’s a strong market right now and the winning firms are going to be the ones that can attract and retain the best staff, and that is why we’ve created a model where every staff member is going to be a real shareholder in the business," added Simon.

Earlier this year, Cognito president Simon and Kim, MD for New York and the US market, stepped down from their respective roles after about 10 years at the agency.

Gregory Papajohn was formally named MD and head of the New York office in March. No one is serving as acting president, and the agency has no plans to fill the role. Simon’s previous duties are now handled by the executive management team, including Cognito founder and CEO Tom Coombes.

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