Falanx Group Ltd (LON:FLX) Stirling Assynt Managing Director Charles Hollis caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss the company’s expertise in geopolitical intelligence, sources of growth & being a strong fit with Falanx’s cyber security offering
Q1: You’ve just been appointed to head up Sterling Assynt, the business intelligence arm of Falanx Group. How do you view the business?
A1: I must say I’m really excited, it’s my first day in the role, it’s a great organisation and it’s got a highly respected reputation in the field of political analysis, geopolitical reporting. We do reports of 33 emerging market countries particularly in Middle East and North Africa but also South-East Asia, part of Latin America and parts of the CIS, it’s an organisation I’ve known about for a while and I’ve respected its output so to be asked to take over is a very exciting thing, particularly on the back of a great year.
We’ve had a strong result for 2016/2017, the results came out last week for Falanx Group as a whole but also broke out the results of Sterling Assynt’s part of the business, we delivered 13% organic revenue growth over the past year with profits up over 30%. I’ve already discovered we’ve got a fantastic team in place to help us deliver more of the same in the future.
The only thing I would say is the brand deserves to be better known and that’s one of the things I hope to focus on over the next few months to build up the brand profile, to build up its reputation to those who don’t know of it and make sure it gets the profile it deserves.
Q2: So, where do you see the principal sources of growth over the next few years?
A2: Clearly, we’re looking to continue what has been successful over the past couple of years and to accelerate the growth trajectory. I think continuing political uncertainty globally, underpinned demand for our core offering of geopolitical analysis, and within that we have a recognised speciality in reporting on jihadist activity and clearly with the current events in this country, across Europe, across the world, to have expertise on that, is considered very valuable. So, I do see that the market conditions will continue to favour us.
On the consulting business, which is a bit more of a bespoke product, it’s a business I know very well having been in the sector for more than 10 years, I think there’s a lot of room to grow there and that’s something that we also tend to focus on.
Finally, our third business line is really the use of embedded analysts inside clients which has proven very popular and a big success with a growing base of major blue-chip clients. There’s scope to push this further and I do think that’s the third business line which will be on a growth trajectory.
Q3: How does Sterling Assynt fit in with Falanx Group’s cyber security offering?
A3: I think that’s a very good question because Falanx Group Ltd has really 2 businesses; 1 cyber security, the other Sterling Assynt, the geopolitical reporting, and some might question whether they fit there. Actually, it’s clear to me and to others at Falanx, that companies are wanting to go beyond the reactive cyber defence to a more proactive intelligence-driven analysis of threat which allows them to act in advance of the event.
I think the 2 wings of the Group have a very strong basis for providing that sort of service, I can’t think offhand of a similar company which can offer not just the defence side but also the intelligence side. So, I think they’re a strong fit there and it’ll help the company grow as a whole.