Techwork 2022: Adrian King, Pollen Street Capital
King has more than 15 years of experience in developing technology and operational
functions within the financial services sector. After completing his master’s degree in natural sciences at the University of Cambridge, King joined Capital One as an operations analyst, where he launched and scaled the firm’s new UK telecoms business. He then spent a couple of years as a consultant at Steer Davies Gleave, where he developed the consulting division for private and public sector clients. After this, he worked as a manager of HBOS (subsequently part of Lloyds Banking Group), where he developed the credit risk and decision science capabilities in consumer lending.
After six years, King became the vice president of technology at start-up multi-asset portfolio data analytics firm DCisions. After two years in this position, he moved on to the financial services division of KGB Group, 118 118 Money, where he was technology/change director, and supported its entry to the UK consumer lending market. After three-and-a-half years, King joined Pollen Street Capital, as the firm’s chief technology officer.
Since joining Pollen in 2016, King has built out the technology function including cyber security, cloud transformation, due diligence, internal IT and infrastructure, lending division platforms and architecture as well as data & reporting. “The data and analytics capabilities involved rolling out quality controls, automation and new tools through PowerBI,” he says. In particular, Pollen Street’s advanced data warehouse and reporting tool Prism, provides granular and unedited data. “We strongly believe granular, timely and accurate performance data is a key driver of strong investment performance and risk management.”
Pollen Street’s tech stack comprises Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Dynamics business
applications, advisory services and technology solutions firm Oxane Partners as well as treasury management software, Salmon Systems.
Currently, King is focused on boosting efficiency at Pollen Street, through further digitisation, automation, as well as improving the firm’s CRM and additional data insights. “We want to streamline our processes and the way we communicate with our key stakeholders, to enable us to scale deals and AUM efficiently.”
With increased technology usage comes the need for more security. King initially brought in various tools to support detection and prevention defences. Going forward, he wants to further refine the team’s cyber security knowledge, tools and support. “We have deployed multiple layers of protection, a well-defined threat assessment model and a strong capability to assess cyber security risks internally, at the deal stage and with our portfolio companies,” he explains. “The human aspect of these risks is too often underestimated. In addition to running various knowledge sharing forums, we’re always looking into ways to better bring this to life for our staff.”
Thinking of his peer group interactions, King explains he’s part of various Whatsapp groups which bring together similar-minded technologists. Additionally, he attends technical conferences, both in person and virtually, around every two months. “As part of our Pollen Street Capital Hub activity for our portfolio, I also run an annual CTO forum to bring together leaders from around our network and beyond.”