paul barlow: ‘for a growing business, being in the right place is crucial’

UK business location

When a business is successful, growth happens.

So when a company doubles its workforce in a short space of time, you know things are going well.

Avox Data Services has been going places ever since it was formed in 2003.

In 2010, the financial services company was fully acquired by The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) - a leading global financial services technology and infrastructure provider. And its growth rocketed.

So much so, the workforce in Wrexham has more than doubled in the past two years, with 550 people now employed at the site.

You have to admit – that’s going some.

So when a business grows at such a rapid pace, what challenges do managers face?

We recently met with Paul Barlow, site lead at DTCC Wrexham and chief operating officer at Avox Data Services, to get the inside track on the company’s experiences.

the right spot

The key theme that emerged was location. Like a tree, your business won’t grow if it’s planted in the wrong place.

Now, you might think a firm that does pretty much all its business over the internet wouldn’t be too concerned about that.

Avox Data Services ensures that clients can rely on the most accurate and timely data available to facilitate decision making and regulatory reporting.

So hey. As long as the internet connection is good, it doesn’t matter too much where the office is. Right?

Nope. Location is really important.

finding the skills

“Wrexham is a great place to do business because it has the people,” says Paul.

“Around 90% of our staff live within a 10-mile radius, and when you expand rapidly, it’s really important to be able to recruit from the local area.

“We have a very skilled and enthusiastic workforce, and that’s largely down to being based in Wrexham.”

And because of this strong workforce, the Wrexham office now also supports other DTCC data services, including Clarient Global, the GMEI utility and DTCC’s Global Trade Repository.

As well as a strong local workforce, relationships with local training providers are also key.

Paul says: “Our local college and university play a big role. They give their students the skills they need to do the job.

“When your workforce grows so quickly, you need to invest in skills and training at scale. So it’s essential to have quality partners like Coleg Cambria and Wrexham Glyndŵr University. They’re really important to us.”

Being in the right place can also help businesses recruit experienced workers with specialist knowledge.

“Although a lot of employees are trained-up once they join the organisation, we also recruit team members who already have the expertise for specialist roles,” adds Paul.

“For example, we’re starting to attract people who previously worked in Manchester and Liverpool. That’s a fair indication of the traction we’re building as a local and regional employer.

"It also demonstrates that Wrexham is an accessible work location. An easier daily commute is a plus.”

finding the space

Avox Data Services has been based in Redwither Tower – a large building on Wrexham Industrial Estate – for 11 years.

It started with a small office of 20 people, and now occupies the entire second floor – complete with light, airy working spaces, chill-out areas and a contemporary café.

The company’s relationship with its landlord – Wrexham Council – has grown in line with its property needs.

“Finding the physical space at the right price can be a challenge for any growing business, but the support from the council has been really good.

“They’ve made it possible for us to expand. And in return, we’ve invested, turning the second floor into an attractive office environment.”

key challenges

So in terms of location, what are the key things a rapidly expanding business needs to think about?

“If I had to pick my top three, I’d say logistics, skills and support,” says Paul.

“You need to base yourself somewhere your employees, suppliers and customers can reach you.

“You need to be able to recruit the right people.

“And you need to be able to link up with partners – your local council, colleges, universities, like-minded business people – who can give you the support you need.

“For a growing business, being in the right place is crucial. Wrexham ticks all the boxes for us. It’s a great location.”

To learn more, visit DTCC at or connect on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

Paul Barlow

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