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Banker turns entrepreneur and becomes number one in our Hot 100?

Lance Uggla was a senior banker at Toronto Dominion Bank. But then he had a great idea. You’ll be able to read the full story about how he created Markit Group – and subsequently led it to hit its current average annual growth rate of 234 per cent – in the new edition of Real Business.

There were many distinctive aspects of Markit that struck me when I met Lance Uggla. Here are three.

One: whatever the current state of the financial markets, the demand for more precise and highly specific data will grow. That is the wave that Markit is riding. (Indeed, in turbulent conditions, the premium for such data will grow.)

Two: it’s a classic team-based start-up that has stuck together. The five colleagues who got together in the Hertfordshire barn to begin Markit are all still in the business.

Three: Uggla has a very clear strategy about employee share ownership. Given that he has got about 300 employee shareholders but two-thirds of the equity is held by investment banks, it’s a big and sensitive issue.

(Here’s how it works: at the beginning of each December, the company asks for interest in buying or selling shares. The stock is then bought and sold for the same price in early January. Valuations are provided by three investment banks. "As long as they are within 20 per cent of each other’s high and low, we take the average," says Uggla.)


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