The Story Behind CityExec

Our Journey to Becoming the Fintech Recruitment Experts We Are Today


It All Started with One Brilliant Man.

A long time ago, in a land of jobbers and brokers, a man named Chris strode into a City career. He joined a stockbroking firm called Wood Mackenzie and became an analyst of – at the time – the nascent but fast-growing Scottish oil and gas market.

As a qualified accountant, he quickly eased into his role and became an institutional salesman, before being awarded partnership of the firm. He took a keen interest in what we now call fintech and creating innovative solutions that were ground-breaking at the time.

One of his employees, Ron, had to write down prices from the stock exchange floor. Chris installed a video camera above his hand on a bracket and then beamed it back to the office. Cutting edge stuff. Of course, they dubbed him “Real-Time Ron.”


What Came Next: Breaking the Mould

Chris also pioneered the monetising of research. First at Wood Mackenzie, who at the time were one of the City’s top brokers covering the oil markets. They decided to start charging outside clients for the research written for their broking clients.

The partners met and discussed what price the market would bear for these reports, and they settled on the princely sum of £500. Of course, Wood Mackenzie is now the number one research house for the energy markets and was bought by Verisk Analytics in 2015 for $2.8bn.

Following the spate of acquisitions of London brokers and banks post-Big Bang, through several different moves and institutions, Chris’s last role in the market was as global head of equities at Banque Paribas. After a successful few years there, Chris decided to leave investment banking and started up a headhunting firm, leveraging his extensive contacts built up over 30 years in the equities world.


Fintech Recruitment Experts

On 5th August 1994, City Executive Consultants was born, the name mirroring Christopher Egerton Cartwright’s initials. The firm was successful very quickly, and Chris ran the recruitment boutique for 12 years, from his office at 69 King William Street. Many people who visited that office would never forget the lift that was a small coffin’s size!

In 2007, Chris decided that he wanted to take a back seat from the business and work part-time and he started looking for a partner to run the company moving forward.


Enters Miles

Following a career in trading solutions and market data sales, Miles Nicholls had just started his recruitment firm. One sunny afternoon in 2007, he walked down King William Street when he bumped into someone he used to work with at Bloomberg. As luck would have it, this friend was renting a desk in Chris’s office. He told Miles that Chris was looking for a partner and said he should call him. He did, and Chris took Miles for a lovely lunch in El Vino’s, discussing their business philosophies, the market and recruitment. Chris sensed someone who shared his values.

A week later, he called Miles, and they met again, and Chris asked him to come on board. They created a contract that was half a side of A4. Chris’s view was always that “if we have to refer to contracts, the deal is over.” He did not want a complicated contract.

And so, Miles went from running his business from his spare room to having an office in the City. Right from the start, they clicked, and business built very quickly. It was a real pleasure to be introduced to his clients, many of whom were City grandees who Miles had only read about in the financial press.


Enters Lucy

At the end of 2007, they decided that they wanted another partner to join the firm. When Miles was using fintech recruitment agencies, the best consultant he worked with was an extraordinarily energetic and smart woman called Lucy Taylor. She worked for a large national firm and wanted to go out on her own. She was the perfect fit for the firm and came on board.

She was the best headhunter Miles has worked with and taught him so much about the business’s nuances.

The beginning of 2008 started well. Little did anyone know what was about to hit their market. Post the crash and going into 2009, London felt shut, and they began to worry seriously about the future.


Moving into the Asian Market

Lucy, ever the entrepreneur, had some contacts in Hong Kong. “Let’s jump on a plane and look at the Asian market”, she said. So off they both went and found a brilliantly dynamic and very open market.

Over the next few years, they racked up thousands of air miles back and forth on that very long flight and of course, having a growing business they could only afford to be in ‘the big room’ on those flights! Business built very quickly, and after a few years, it was clear that they needed a good base in Hong Kong and someone to run their business there.

Ironically being headhunters, they couldn’t find the right person for the job. That’s when Lucy made the huge decision to move with her son out to Hong Kong in 2015.

Once based there, the business grew very fast, and with the help of their fantastic clients, they became established in the fintech market in Asia. In 2017, they opened a Singapore office.

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City Executive Consultants
Morphs into CityExec

Twenty-seven years after Chris Cartwright started City Executive Consultants in that little office in King William Street, it is now time to move on to the firm’s next chapter and rebrand the business. CityExec is still established in the City of London, although they are much more international now. And with a nod to what Chris started, the next chapter of the business has arrived.