Chatsworth Communications turns 18 this year. The team has carved out a reputation for its fintech work, starting when the sector was in its infancy and growing to become the go-to for this heavily invested sector.
Over the years, fintech has proved to be an extremely resilient industry as firms are always looking for cost savings, efficiency gains and innovation. It is projected to be worth $698.48 billion by 2030.
We sat down with Chatsworth Communications’ PR directors Nick Warren and Michael Deeny, as well as PR manager, Shayla Reid, to talk about their career journey so far, the agency’s culture, secrets of success and more.
Shape your fintech PR career
Nick Warren has been at Chatsworth since 2007 and has developed alongside the agency. He covers the full spectrum of fintech clients with a current focus on blockchain firms, fixed income and data analytics. “It’s given me exposure to a huge range of clients and experience in pretty much everything required of a PR person,” he says.
Michael Deeny joined as a senior account executive with a small amount of tech PR experience. He has since gained in-depth knowledge of the fintech industry through a mixture of training and learning on the job. He works across multiple areas including capital markets, digital identity, fixed income, payments, RegTech and trade finance: “I’m now a director, managing a small team in Belfast, working with some really exciting firms and industry influencers.”
As directors, Warren and Deeny’s main responsibilities are leading and coaching the team and being the main interface with the clients. “We’re also pretty hands-on when it comes to media relations”, says Warren. “We still spend a lot of our time speaking with reporters and analysts and writing content.”
For Deeny, one of the great things about Chatsworth is you can really make a role your own as the job descriptions aren’t set in stone: “I enjoy business development so I run the marketing and selling workstream which includes coming up with new ideas on how we can grow and develop the business.”
Shayla Reid says her PR skills have improved massively since joining Chatsworth in April this year: “While pushing the boundaries to improve my media relations skills, I’ve also been able to take on more of a management role.” She also works across many areas of fintech, including embedded finance, blockchain technology, trade finance and international payments.
Pictured (from left to right): Shayla Reid, PR manager; Michael Deeny, PR director; Nick Warren, PR director - Chatsworth Communications.
Join a fast-moving specialised sector
The last few years have particularly seen a huge amount of innovation with new technologies changing the landscape of the tools that financial institutions rely on to do business. So, what makes a good fintech PR? “It’s a very specialised space”, says Warren, “it’s all about knowing the subject inside out.”
“In a fast-moving industry like fintech, proactivity is vital”, adds Deeny. He insists you need to constantly monitor the news for the latest trends, data and regulatory updates, and have the ability to act quickly to insert your client into the story.
And relationships are essential, says Reid: “Whether it’s with our clients, journalists or our fellow colleagues, the ability to develop and maintain strong relationships is what makes a difference to the work we do.”
“Over the next few years, I think we’ll start to see the potential of blockchain being fully realised and truly changing the way firms interact and trade with each other for the better”, predicts Warren. He also emphasises the shift to data-driven banking as a major trend.
The ability to develop and maintain strong relationships is what makes a difference to the work we do.
- Shayla Reid, PR manager, Chatsworth Communications
Reid points out that cybercrime is a prevalent issue in fintech and has been on the rise over the past few years, particularly when the majority of the world was confined to remote working over the pandemic. “This has led to a need for businesses to prioritise data privacy and security.”
Warren describes how the media landscape has changed since he started out: “The amount of fintech trade titles has expanded significantly and the amount of reporters covering this beat at the tier 1 business press has also grown. The shift from print to online has been a major trend, as well as the growth of social media, which has completely changed the way PRs and reporters interact.”
Learn quickly and progress
“We have a really collaborative working environment so the kind of hierarchy you typically see in larger agencies doesn’t apply here”, says Warren. “As a junior member of the team, you won’t find yourself stuck doing media lists and reporting all day – everyone gets stuck in with suggesting news angles, meeting clients, writing and pitching reporters. This creates an environment where you can learn quickly and progress in your career based on your ability rather than just how many years you’ve been at the agency.
“Our clients are also a big part of what makes the agency special – a lot of them are at the top of their game, changing legacy financial systems with truly innovative technology. In particular, being able to work with start-ups taking on huge incumbent players is really exciting.”
We achieve strong results for clients, even in a quiet month for their business, and deliver real business impact.
- Michael Deeny, PR director, Chatsworth Communications
Having previously worked in an in-house role, which involved managing multiple agencies across the globe, Deeny believes what sets Chatsworth apart from the rest is its fintech expertise and proactivity. “Instead of waiting on clients to ask us to do something and relying on press releases, we are constantly on the lookout for stories we can piggyback on and ideas that we can pitch. This ensures we achieve strong results for clients, even in a quiet month for their business, and helps us deliver real business impact.”
Reid adds: “Chatsworth is one of a kind since we treat development as a high priority. There are many different ways to progress at the firm through training programmes, seeking out opportunities to try new things and being a team player to achieve the best results for our clients. Even if you don’t have the most experience, we like to push each other to hone our PR skills, collaborating as a business to deliver quality work.”
Enjoy a relaxed, flexible working culture
Although hybrid and remote working has become the norm since the pandemic, Chatsworth has always been flexible when it comes to working arrangements that suit the lifestyle of team members.
Now I split my time between Tulum in Mexico during the winter and the Catskills in upstate New York during the summer – basically on a quest to permanently avoid cold weather!
- Nick Warren, PR director, Chatsworth Communications
“My own situation is the perfect example of this”, says Warren. “I started out working in the agency’s London office for over 10 years and then moved to New York to support our clients across the Americas. Now I split my time between Tulum in Mexico during the winter and the Catskills in upstate New York during the summer – basically on a quest to permanently avoid cold weather!”
Deeny agrees that Chatsworth has created a relaxed, flexible environment where work-life balance is respected, and people don’t take themselves too seriously: “It’s also a really supportive place to work as, in my case, the firm helped me move back to Belfast after a few years in London and even set up an office here which enabled us to tap into a new talent pool. We now have monthly trips where the Belfast office visits the London team and vice versa – it gets very competitive between the two during team socials!”
Reid adds: “Chatsworth as a business has a ton of energy and we’re constantly bouncing ideas off each other to provide results for our clients. As well as the day-to-day PR work, we also take pride in building Chatsworth’s reputation and make it a priority to look after the business side of things, writing innovative thought leadership, sharing regular updates on our social channels, and planning social activities together – they’re definitely not something you’d want to miss out on!”
Why work at Chatsworth?
In summary, Warren highlights that Chatsworth offers “an environment that fosters proactivity, focuses on outputs and getting the job done”.
Deeny sees the agency as an opportunity to specialise in a fast-growing, global industry that doesn’t come around too often so there’s “a real chance to build a niche for yourself”.
While Reid concludes: “If you want to work at a place where each day is different then Chatsworth is definitely worth looking into”. She also points out the office dog, a dachshund called Fig, who boosts morale!