Following the exciting news that Lexington is expanding into England by launching a new office in the South West, our next Staff Spotlight focuses on James Cox – who will be heading up the new team in Bath.

Tell us about your career to date.

I started my career on the graduate scheme at DC Advisory, where I worked in the Business Services team and was mostly involved on the sell-side mandates of founder-owned businesses. After three years, mostly to scratch an itch, I moved to UBS to work with larger corporates and dip my toe into the world of public markets and IPOs.

I quickly found that working with founder and family owners was far more rewarding, so wanted to return to the mid-market. I also wanted to go back to the South West, where I grew up, so joined PwC to head up its South West Corporate Finance practice out of the Bristol office. After three years with PwC, I wanted to move back to an advisory boutique that could provide unrivalled, independent corporate finance advice to its clients; that led to the recent move to join Lexington Corporate finance, with the exciting opportunity of expanding the firm in the South West.

What attracted you to join Lexington Corporate Finance?

Gary Partridge was my predecessor at PwC, so I was aware of Lexington when I initially relocated back to the South West. Gary and the team’s reputation in the Welsh market was very strong and Lexington was renowned for providing a market-leading service to its clients.

This reputation has only continued to grow over recent years, as it has been picking up more and more awards for the team’s excellent work. This great reputation, along with the exciting opportunity to be involved in launching and driving forward the South West expansion, made it a no-brainer to join the Lexington team.

What excites you most about the launch of Lexington in the South West?

Being born and raised in Somerset, I am very passionate about the region and the local community. I think the South West has some of the most exciting businesses and talented entrepreneurs that the UK has to offer, and being in a position where we can support these local businesses to help them secure an exit or investment is incredibly exciting. I love to see the local success stories of businesses thriving and flying the flag for the South West, and if we can play even just a small part in the impressive journey of these businesses, then that really gets me excited.

I also think the opportunity for Lexington is massive. It has a great track record in South Wales, where it has serviced clients since 2016; so expanding into the South West, where there are so many exciting companies that would benefit from Lexington’s differentiated offering, presents a great opportunity for the firm.

What sets Lexington apart from others operating in the sector in the South West?

Having worked within corporate finance at an international M&A boutique, an investment bank and a Big 4 firm during my career, I’ve  been able to identify what type of advisor best suits certain types of clients.

Lexington is able to provide a market-leading, differentiated service to its clients due to a number of factors. Firstly, it is a wholly independent advisory firm; that means we can provide the most appropriate advice to our client with their best interests at heart with no potential conflicts or external agenda at play. Additionally, being a regional-first model allows us to spend far more time, in person, with our clients throughout a process. This is particularly important with private business, where the preparation required for a sale process or investment is much greater.

Being able to be hands-on through the preparation phase lightens the burden on the management team and being able to ‘hold the hand’ of our client through a long, and sometimes emotional process, makes the whole experience more manageable. Finally, the Lexington team are all highly experienced advisors, with a strong track record of successful outcomes for their clients across a wide range of sectors.

All of the above differentiates Lexington and positions the firm well to provide a market-leading service for its clients.

What do you hope to achieve at Lexington over the next five years?

Over the next five years, I’d love to be able to replicate what Gary has done in the South Wales market, here in the South West. The Lexington team has grown to be a market-leading, award-winning advisor in South Wales, and I’d love for the Lexington team in the South West to grow to a similar stature and be the pre-eminent corporate finance advisor in the South West.

However, more importantly, I’d like to be able to look back over my first five years with Lexington and be able to see the value we have added to every single client; be that helping shareholders achieve a full exit or raise investment for growth. I want to be able to see that the South West businesses and our clients that we have advised are in a better position in five years time than when we started working with them.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I am a big rugby fan; however, after playing for over 20 years those days are long behind me, so can now usually be found watching Bath at the Rec on weekends. Otherwise, I can usually be found on a golf course, cricket pitch or walking my Irish Terrier, Murphy, around Bath, the surrounding countryside or to the local pub.

Name three of your favourite hotspots in the area for food and drink in the area

My go to in Bath is Walcot House; you can get anything you want there at any time of the day. They do a great breakfast through to amazing lunches and dinners; you can also venture downstairs into a great cocktail bar and club later in the evening.

My local pub, the Curfew, is also a great spot. It is a ‘proper pub’; it’s dog friendly, has a great landlord, and arguably the best pint of Guiness in Bath!

Further afield, Root in Bristol or Wells are also fantastic restaurants, offering an amazing small plate menu with a great wine list to boot!