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More than two in five finance directors at the UK’s largest quoted companies have had no international experience before their appointment, according to analysis by Spencer Stuart.

Research by the headhunter shows that at more than 40 per cent, the proportion of FTSE 100 chief financial officers lacking even one foreign posting was greater than that for the finance directors at the largest quoted companies in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The study also points to a preference for the domestic among the FTSE 100 when it comes to the nationality of the finance director, as more than eight in 10 of them are British. This is a higher proportion of “homegrown” chief financial officers than in the largest quoted companies in the Netherlands and Switzerland, though not France and Germany.

UK finance directors also differ from their continental European counterparts in that so many of them – more than 80 per cent – have an accountancy qualification. Elsewhere there is a greater emphasis on business or economics degrees, with more than 75 per cent of CFOs in Germany, France and Switzerland having this background, against around 60 per cent in the UK.

The preference for domestic nationals as CFOs also needed to be set in a wider boardroom context, said Aidan Bell, head of the CFO practice at Spencer Stuart.

“If the CEO is not-British, then boards usually want a British CFO, grounded in UK plc, to balance the top management team and face off to investors, analysts and the media.”

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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