Ex-Bell Pottinger partner leads financial public affairs push at Grayling
Paul Montague-Smith is claiming to have got off to a flying start at his new agency.
Grayling has boasted of winning a number of "interesting" financial public affairs accounts after hiring former a Bell Pottinger partner.
Paul Montague-Smith joined Grayling as a director in November 2017 but the agency has kept the appointment under wraps until now.
He is leading on developing the agency’s existing financial services offer. It comes as Grayling looks to build on clients wins such as Lloyds Banking Group, which it picked up from Hanover in 2016.
In a statement, Montague-Smith said: "I’m thrilled to have joined what is a strikingly great team. We’ve already won some interesting mandates in the retail financial services space and I’m excited at the prospect of us building on that, while also securing clients in other areas like insurance, asset management and transaction support."
Sources at Grayling declined to name the new financial services clients but suggested that some had been taken from rival agencies. The new clients are expected to feature on the next APPC register.
Montague-Smith joined now-defunct Bell Pottinger in 1996 and advised firms such as HSBC, Citigroup, Friends Life, Bank of Ireland, Provident Financial and Open Banking.
In the new post, Montague-Smith reports to Grayling UK head of public affairs Jonathan Curtis.
“His deep experience of public affairs and reputation management, particularly in the financial services sector, will significantly strengthen our already strong offer,” said Curtis about his new recruit.
He added: “Paul has a reputation for providing excellent advice and ensuring first-class client service, leading to client relationships that have lasted well over a decade. We are excited to have him join the team and look forward to further increasing the profile of our offer within the market.”
Grayling was named Consultancy of the Year at the 2016 Public Affairs Awards.