Monzo taps ex-Purplebricks CFO James Davies to lead finances as recovery continues

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D

igital bank Monzo has poached its new finance boss from outside the banking industry, tapping up the former chief finance officer of Purplebricks.

Staff were told on Tuesday that James Davies will join as CFO later this month. Davies is currently the finance chief of household repairs and insurance group Domestic & General. Prior to that he was in charge of the numbers at digital estate agent group Purplebricks and William Hill’s online division. Davies has done stints at Deutsche Bank and Close Brothers in the past.

In a statement, Davies said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to join Monzo and am really energised to become an integrated member of the exceptional team already in place.

“Monzo has developed an unrivalled customer proposition and I believe it is reaching a further inflexion point as the consumer craves a modern, nimble and unified platform to manage their financial lives – Monzo is right at the forefront of this shift.”

James Davies, Monzo’s new CFO

/ Monzo/James Davies

Davies replaces Alwyn Jones who has been finance chief at Monzo since 2018 but announced plans to join cryptocurrency exchange Luno earlier this year. Jones is the latest senior executive to leave the startup bank, which has been hit hard by the pandemic and is facing mounting scrutiny from regulators. Monzo’s chief technology officer and chief regulatory officer have both departed in the last 18 months.

The highest level departure was founder and chief executive Tom Blomfield, who resigned in May 2020 citing stress. He was replaced by TS Anil, a finance industry veteran with experience at Citi, Capital One, and Visa.

Anil said in a statement: “I’m thrilled to welcome James on board. He’s got all the skills and experience we were looking for in a CFO, having worked for over two decades in financial services and tech across large businesses and innovative tech disruptors. He’ll be a great fit and importantly, he shares our vision for the future.”

Anil is leading a push to get Monzo to profitability after a difficult pandemic period. The collapse of card revenues forced Monzo to furlough and lay off stuff, as well as raise money at a discounted valuation. Auditors issued a “going concern” warning in the bank’s latest set of results, saying it needed to raise more funds to keep going.

TS Anil has launched new paid-for products like Monzo Plus and says the worst is now behind the business. Revenues have risen 40% since February.

Elsewhere, Monzo is facing scrutiny of its compliance capabilities. In July the bank disclosed an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority into possible anti-money laundering breaches. The bank is cooperating with the investigation, which could lead to civil and criminal charges.

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