When you are called “The King of Mining”, you know you have risen pretty high – and, in dramatic terms at least, there is only one way you can go.
Ian Hannam fell very far, very suddenly. The dealmaking guru at JP Morgan quit his job almost three years ago to fight claims of insider dealing.
But far from ending his career on that sour note, ex-SAS operative Hannam carried on doing what he does best – making deals happen.
The result is that even while he was fighting those allegations, Hannam’s businesses were performing admirably.
He concluded his case with the Financial Conduct Authority last summer, coughing up £450,000.
The settlement is considered an important piece of case history, setting a boundary between what is considered insider trading, and what is helping clients with useful market information.
Hannam is still allowed to work in the City, and the FCA never accused him of maliciously breaking the rules.
It is just as well, because he has plenty of clients who are still very keen to make the most of his knowledge and abilities.
Even while he was under investigation and going through the legal process, Hannam was very active.
In late 2012 he took over at Strand Partners, aiming to make the boutique advisory firm into a strong player in the market, alongside powerhouses like Lazard, Rothschild and STJ Advisors.
He has landed a string of major deals, including several outside the natural resources sector.
Those include rights issues for transport firm First Group and energy business Ophir, as well as the sale of a 40 per cent stake in Russian tobacco logistics firm Megapolis.
Hannam merged Strand with Elgin Partners, and rebranded the pair as Hannam & Partners in September 2014.
Even as his case with the FCA was ongoing, financial results of those firms were decidedly impressive.
Revenues at Elgin more than doubled to £8.22m in the period to 31 March 2014, compared with £3.97m in the period to June 2013. However, profits dipped as the group spent more on hiring staff and opening sites around the world.
Hannam & Partners’ chief executive Neil Passmore notes that the boss’s personal brand remains so strong that he was happy to re-name the firm in his name.
“In terms of what he has achieved over his career, the recognition his name carries in resources and in emerging markets, his is a very positive name to have in the title,” Passmore told City A.M.
“We were sensible, prudent enough to see this discussion and appeal with the FCA and to let it work through before we chose to rebrand in his name, but that was always the plan.”