Tony Sarin: chief executive officer, Numerica
1 Sep 2001
1 Sep 2001
Tony Sarin is chief executive officer of Numerica Group - the newly-established business services group formed to integrate accountancy and other related services firms across the UK. Having agreed to acquire top 20 accountancy firm Levy Gee as its cornerstone, Numerica has already made two further acquisitions since its formation in July, and Sarin is well on his way to creating the company that he aims to float on the Alternative Investment Market before the end of the year.
But things could have been different for the 39-year-old. A far cry from the world of accountancy, Sarin could have made the Bollywood big screen. Although born and raised in the UK, his roots are in India, from a family of talented actors, producers and directors (his first cousin is Shekhar Kapur, the internationally renowned director of Oscar-winning film ).
'But I wanted to make it in my own different way,' he says. After attending King's College School, London, Sarin studied economics at Essex University, and then worked for accountancy firms Lewis Golden & Co and Beavis Walker. He qualified with the ACCA, of which he is now a fellow, while at Beavis Walker in 1988.
From 1990 to 2000, Sarin worked for accountants Morley & Scott, and became a senior partner and member of the firm's executive. While he enjoyed his time there, he couldn't help feeling 'the constraints of something that wasn't my own'. So he moved on to become founder and CEO of internet and technology fund Softtechnet.com plc, which he successfully listed on AIM in March 2000, after raising £26.5m. Softtechnet was then acquired by early stage technology investor NewMedia SPARK plc for £33.5m and Sarin was invited to join the board.
Today, after teaming up with Peter Jenkins, his chief financial officer (ex-Regus plc), and Levy Gee and its front man Julian Synett, Sarin is working long hours to make Numerica a success. And he's confident that he'll achieve his goal. 'The firms that we're talking to are very receptive, and we believe in our strategy of integrating those we buy instead of just bolting them together.' Rather than worrying about the competition - such as accountancy consolidator Tenon, which floated last year and is already ranked 15th in 's top 60 survey - he seems genuinely inspired by its success, but maintains: 'We're a different animal.'
Despite his hectic work life, Sarin still finds the time to sit on various committees, including the Bank of England Small Business Panel advisingon Asian businesses, and the Asian Business Association where he is vice-chairman. He is a council member of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a member of a subcommittee of the UK government's task force for the 'New Deal' initiative, and an advisory board member of the Liberal Democrat Business Forum. He is married with two young children, and is a useful golfer with a handicap of eight.
It was on the golf course that he once had a conversation about the collapse of Barings bank: 'I can't believe ING has agreed to buy it,' he told the man who he later learned was ING's European chief executive.