Dru Danford

Dru Danford is our latest Alma Spotlight. Dru is Head of Investment Banking at Liberum. Founded in 2007, Liberum is a leading independent investment bank, accessing investors across the UK, Continental Europe, North America and Asia.


September 2023

What are the key themes you're coming across in the market?

London is top of ECM deal activity in Europe - we should be proud of this fact. I’m not going to deny that IPO levels are low, but firstly London is not alone, and secondly, the City is still at the top of the ECM deal activity league table in Europe for 2023. In my view, we need to be shouting more about the positives here - our markets still have more international companies than other major exchanges and attract relatively more international capital than any other market.

M&A activity likely to continue – we are still seeing significant takeover activity, and this will no doubt endure while valuations on market remain depressed. Few companies are completely immune to this, and the key thing is to be prepared and engage with advisors well ahead of any approach to build the best possible defence strategy proactively.

Why aren’t we all championing changing the regulatory framework? Regulatory mindset shift is required to ensure that the raft of proposed UK rule changes can make a real difference. All these changes will only be of benefit more broadly if they can collectively lower the cost of capital and make public markets in the UK more attractive as a venue to raise finance The delivery of the ambitions of the Financial Services and Markets Act is a good first step, the real question is whether we ought to be far more radical.

What are the main issues companies are thinking about now?

Many listed companies are frustrated by their current market capitalisation level and that investors aren’t seeing this as an opportunity to back management teams and invest in new ideas – overall making it harder for issuers to achieve their ambitions.

On the funding side of the equation, while September has seen net inflows into UK equity funds, year to date fund managers have experienced redemptions making it more challenging for them to add additional issuers into their portfolios. Lack of liquidity, particularly for smaller market capitalisation companies, has also made it more challenging for smaller companies.

What has been the most interesting thing you’ve read/watched recently?

I recently re-read the novel 1984 following a vacation on the island of Jura, Scotland, the place that George Orwell selected to write his famous work, on the farm Barnhill. It is an incredibly prescient book for the era of ‘alternative facts’ that we find ourselves living in – and even more incredible when you think he wrote it in 1949.

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the individual financial professional(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Alma Strategic. These insights are provided for informational purposes only and may not be relevant at the time of reading, as market conditions can change rapidly. The information provided should not be construed as investment advice or a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any financial product or security. Individuals should conduct their own research and consult with a qualified financial advisor before making any investment decisions. Alma Strategic disclaims any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information provided in this interview.