Mudlarkers Club

Each year, COLWMA gives out the Mudlark Award for Exceptional Performance in the Back Office which is presented to the worthy recipient as determined by the COLWMA judging panel.

The Mudlark Award was introduced by Clay Harris, an award winning Journalist for the Financial Times from 1979 to 2007.  In his Mudlark column, which ran from 2004 - 2007, Clay regularly championed the “back-office” staff who he believed were often overlooked and taken for granted. His FT article from January 2005 that launched the Mudlark Award can be seen on the right (click the image to see a larger version).

Mudlarkers, like Clay and Goodacre, know that exceptional “back-office” staff are key to the success of a company.  By starting this Mudlarkers Club we aim to promote and champion our “back-office” colleagues to start the ball rolling and request nominations for recipients who deserve consideration for a prestigious Mudlark Award.



2024 Alex Stoate: Arbuthnot Latham 

Alex's career trajectory has occurred in a relatively short space of time and is testament to Alex’s drive, commitment, and willingness to take on extra responsibility.

2023 John Davies: Charles Stanley (collected on his behalf) 


2022 Winner:  Emma Ellis, Rathbones Group

2021 Winner:  Kevin Norman, Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management


2020 Winner:  Ian Clogg, Fiske PLC


2019 Winner:  Michael Waddington (Tilney Group)

I started my seven year “apprenticeship” at Illingworth & Henriques Stockbrokers in 1980 at the age of 18 and have been in the stockbroking/Investment Management industry ever since.  I have subsequently worked for Charlton Seal, John Siddall, Security Settlements/Hambro Clearing, Gall & Eke/TD Waterhouse/Midas and have been employed by the Tilney Group since July 2017….always based in sunny Manchester.  I have always been employed in settlement, custodian and operational roles. Despite having numerous official titles over the years, I am proud to call myself as simple “back-office” lad 

In my time in the industry, there is generally that “old man” who sits in the corner keeping his head down and always working away.  For the past few years at Tilney (Manchester), I have been that “old man” admiring my younger colleagues and enjoying telling the stories of how it used to be back in the day! Having said this, I am still the first in the office every morning and hope to be around for many more years in the industry. I still feel young – you do the maths! 

It was such an honour to be awarded a “Mudlark” in 2019 after so many years.  I’m still trying to work out who actually nominated me!

We all know lots of people in the industry from the “back office” (now referred to as “operations”) who go above and beyond the call of duty and, often unnoticed.  If you know such a person, please send in your nomination to Goodacre.  

2018 Winner:  Kevin MacDonald (Shore Capital)

I began my career at the age of 16 in 1986 (Big Bang) with Giles & Overbury Stockbrokers Ltd.  From there I went to James Capel and Co having a stint in each back office department. From 1989 onwards, I spent 3 nutty years as a Bond trader buying and Selling US Treasuries and Japanese Government Bonds. I then returned to the Operations world and took part in a start-up outsourcing organisation (Kas Bank) thereafter worked at Panmure Gordon, Fidelity and Deutsche Bank. I then took part in the creation of an online execution only stockbroker (comdirect) where, as the operations manager was fully involved with the design/development and creation of the online trading platform whilst briefly managing the dealing desk and creating a Funds hub before being reassigned to work for Lloyds Registrars and assisting with their online product offering. Since 2005 I have worked at Shore Capital as the Operations Manager and now Head of Operations.

Throughout my career I have participated in a number of Industry related committees including the RBLG at Euroclear, Pershing client advisory Committee and have been on The Personal Investment Management and Financial Advice Association (“PIMFA”) operations committee since 2005.

2017 Winner:  Stephen Gavin (Brewin Dolphin)

Last year (2018) was a personal milestone when I was proud to celebrate 25 years with Brewin Dolphin having joined under Bell Lawrie White in September 1993 as a school leaver.  My first role was in the Mail Room progressing through a variety of operational administrative and managerial positions.  I was appointed to the Business Support Senior team in 2007 and became Head of Edinburgh Business Support in 2016. My current role has responsibility for the Group’s Settlement, Cash Processing and Reconciliations functions.  In addition, I am accountable for all aspects of people management, process controls, change initiatives and budget management.

I am fortunate to have worked alongside many talented colleagues in my career which has helped me to adapt and refine my leadership style to keep pace with our every changing business. Over the last 25+ years I have watched the industry change dramatically from a paper based manual environment to the highly innovative technical landscape in which we now operate.

This has been a hugely rewarding journey and I look forward to the next chapter with the same enthusiasm that I had back in 1993.

2016 Winner:  Sarah Thi (Mattioli Woods)

A year after graduating from university I started at Mattioli Woods in Leicester in 2003, where I had a fantastic experience all the way up to when I left in 2018. I grew (up?) with the wealth management company from 40 employees to over 600 across eight locations. Over that time, as investment operations manager, I helped to launch from scratch, and managed the centralised administration and trading of the in-house core investment propositions. This included advisory and discretionary portfolios, four OEICs, a REIT and a structured product fund. In summary, regulation, systems, processes and procedures! 

I developed the investment operations team from myself to 14 outstanding, enthusiastic members across Leicester and Newmarket. I couldn’t have had the career I had without every single one of them; they were not only supportive of me, but each other as well. The Mudlark award was for all of them for keeping the cogs turning smoothly! I left Mattioli Woods to have a career break and have travelled, focused on hobbies and am volunteering. I have also taken a proofreading course as I enjoy reading and am familiar with our industry’s terminology!

2015 Winner:  Perry Downward (Ramsey Crookall)

2014 Winner:  Paul Murphy (Tilney Group)

I have been lucky enough to work with some of the most talented people in London over the last 30 years with great managers and teams capable of dealing with any situation thrown at us.
My career started at a very early age whilst at junior school as my Mother worked for W. Greenwell & Co who were acquired by Midland Bank in the 80’s and my role from around 6 years old involved annoying anyone in the office!  As it was in the blood and I couldn’t make any sense out of a couple of other roles I had taken from leaving school I started work in the late 80’s at Security Settlements In Stratford, working in most areas of the back office at a very fast pace which became addictive. That is where I had the great fortune of meeting and being trained by some amazingly talented managers – I never looked back after that experience.

After life at Security Settlements a handful of people moved on to Citymax Integrated Information Systems and a new Bureau service was launched, in my short time in the City we had to learn quickly and know our limitations. Being able to say No and I don’t know were not often used but the ethos behind that still exists today 30 years on and should never be forgotten. A few years later I returned to the other side of the fence and back into Broking to run the Systems and Settlements at Fiske and Co who back in the day used Ledgers bound in leather to record all client cash & stock positions.

The transition onto the first computer system was a fantastic opportunity and to this day I still remember how to run positions from a couple of ledgers which when you look back is as simple as this business can be and should not be forgotten.  Taurus came and went, Crest achieved what it was supposed to do and Y2K passed without a problem for the quality systems that were in the industry.

Once I had achieved everything I could do at Fiske I remember having a conversation with the MD who said once this system comes in you will have nothing to do (never true in this day and age) but the challenge that I took had come to an end he was correct to a certain degree.

The noughties took me to City Merchants/Invesco’s private client team where my career moved on under great leadership, as a larger organisation with more AUM we built what some said at the time will never work (but did very well) a solution that delivered to clients way beyond what they - and our competition - were expecting.
As time moved on Invesco Private was sold to Singer and Friedlander who were subsequently taken over by an Icelandic bank. Again great leadership saw the situation prior to the crash of 2008.
Ingenious Asset Management was my next home for 10 years under that name anyway (although via takeovers I am still with the same team 13 years on). A boutique was created offering a full discretionary service built with the team from Invesco providing a top quality service to our clients, so good that it was taken over by Tilney in 2016!

Over the years I have used both outsourced and in-house solutions and there is no right or wrong way, the flexibility that the city provides is endless and I am proud the be part of it and to have received the Mudlark award, thank you COLWMA.

2013 Winner:  Rob Jennings (Brewin Dolphin)

2012 Winner:  Sarah Angus (Selftrade)

I have been a Financial Services professional for 23 years and after a short stint of work experience, was asked to join Kleinwort Benson Investment Management (KBIM) upon leaving school. It was a fantastic grounding in Certificates, UK Settlements and Transfers, and these remain my areas of specialism. I left KBIM to build my Operational knowledge in both Trade Support and Dividends and joined Fimatex, a start-up internet stockbroker owned by Société Générale. When Fimatex closed its UK branch, many of their clients moved to E*Trade, and I successfully landed a role in their Cambridge office and spent the next six months living out of a suitcase whilst awaiting their relocation closer to home at Canary Wharf. At E*Trade I gained extensive knowledge of CREST and the settlement and reconciliation processes for both the UK and Overseas markets.

I moved from E*Trade to Comdirect/Selftrade (another retail internet stockbroker) where I took my first managerial role, and gained many industry qualifications and promotions into various roles around the business, including spending time working in the front office, which was of great value to my Operational background. More recently in my career I have become the Head of Operations for Jarvis Investment Management and spend much more of my time studying the intricacies of the industry and attending forums, workshops and committees, driving the Operational processes to meet the requirements of a fast changing market, balancing client expectations and regulatory obligations. This exposure enables me to mentor and train colleagues to increase their own knowledge and develop their thinking. The CISI exams have been crucial to my development, and winning the Mudlark award gave me recognition for this hard work.
2010 Winner:  Matt Aylward (Brooks Macdonald)
2009 Winner:  Kampik Wan (Brewin Dolphin)
2008 Winner:  Donna Jupp (Brooks Macdonald)
2006 Winner:  Norma Smith (WH Ireland)
2005 Winner:  Roger Cloughly (Charles Stanley)
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