Neil Cunningham

Director and General Manager at Touchstone Financial Analytics (an Equifax subsidiary)

Been with Equifax for almost two years

Equifax Touchstone provides market intelligence on sales of life, pension, investment and mortgage products through financial intermediaries in the UK. Our range of services are used by all the major UK financial services providers to plan and execute their Sales and Marketing strategy. It’s a small and agile niche business. We listen to what clients want, build a prototype and say, “Is this the sort of thing you’re looking for?” Then, if it’s not quite right, we tweak it and get it back in front of them quickly again. It’s this level of responsiveness that has driven our success. 

My role is mainly strategic. On the product development side, it’s all about making sure we’re working on the right products and making the best use of our resources. Looking at marketing, I check we have the right objectives and are achieving them. With regards to sales, the focus is on ensuring we have the right strategy with the right people, resources and materials to allow us to achieve our objectives. It’s very varied. I usually spend some time in London and then at our headquarters in Glasgow each week, attending lots of client and internal meetings to control progress and hold things on track. The best business advice I’ve been given is that your most precious commodity is time so it’s important to focus on spending time on  the things that will make a difference and drive the business forward, and I make an effort to ensure that’s what I do.  

This discipline has helped me play a leading part in two big achievements for our business. The first was the launch of a data cleansing product. It means we can take a client’s file with all their data on Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs) and clean it, so any incorrect data is corrected and any partial data completed. Until then there was only one company that offered such a tool. We quickly overtook them and became market leader. The other high point was a major project we undertook last year to move our products from CD to online. We only started the design phase in January, but it was completed in nine months, I’m very proud of that. I’m now having discussions about my future and can see myself potentially moving into other areas of the Equifax business either in the UK or abroad. Both my boss and Human Resources (HR) are supportive of my ambitions. 

Of course, having such a time consuming job means some things have to fall by the wayside. I hold the St. Andrews University student golf record at the old course in St. Andrew’s with a score of 65, which is seven under par. Now, with this role and two kids under five I’d be lucky to get that on the front nine!! 

It’s all worth it though. The job and the prospects here are fantastic. Our share price in the US has doubled in the last 18 months. We have strong leadership and business is doing well globally. In the UK, we’ve grown quarter on quarter for over two years now, and increasing investment will help us grow more. We’re very much in an expansion phase and, if you can contribute to that, you will share the rewards.