Former top strategic adviser joins firm aiming to ‘open up’ emerging markets to British businesses

Louis Ashworth
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Lyall Grant previously served at the United Nations (Source: Getty)

Two former top strategic advisers have joined a newly-launched business intelligence firm, which will help British groups in “opening up” emerging markets to business.

CTD Advisors, which launched in London last Monday, will offer advice to firms targeting countries such as India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria, using experts from a variety of fields.

Read more: Five charts that explain the case for emerging markets

Its leadership team includes Sir Mark Lyall Grant, a former national security adviser to Prime Ministers David Cameron and Theresa May; and Chris Nickols, the former chief of UK Defence Intelligence, part of the Ministry of Defence.

It founder, Shoaib Bajwa – a former risk management consultant and investment banker, who also previously managed Deutsche Bank’s business intelligence unit – said: “Our long-term strategic goal is to connect businesses and opportunities from Beijing to Washington DC while managing their geopolitical and reputational risk.”

“We want to create a new kind of strategic advisory firm for businesses who want to grow, sustain or establish a footprint in an emerging market from China to Nigeria,” he added.

Lyall Grant is a prominent voice on security, having previously served as the UK Ambassador to the United Nations in New York for six years, before becoming an advisor to David Cameron in 2015.

He resigned from his role at Number 10 last year amid reports that Theresa May was frustrated at him “mansplaining” topics to her, and that he talked over her during a meeting. Lyall Grant said at the time he did not “recognise” the claims, but acknowledged he had experienced tension with some former advisers.

Read more: Why timing is essential when it comes to emerging markets

Nickols, a retired air marshal, was previously controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund, the air force’s leading welfare charity.

Bajwa said that Brexit presented an opportunity for businesses seeking to work in emerging markets.

“Obviously the EU is very important for the UK from a business perspective, but with the right post-Brexit strategy businesses can position themselves well outside the EU – and it may well open up a number of opportunities for British businesses seeking to establish or grow their footprint in emerging markets,” he said.

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