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


    Two of the UK’s former top strategic advisers have joined a business intelligence firm that was launched recently. It will help British groups in “opening up” emerging markets to business.

    Last Monday, CTD Advisors launched in London. It will offer advice to companies that target countries such as Pakistan, India, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia, using experts from a variety of fields.

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

    Shoaib Bajwa, its founder, is a former risk management consultant and investment banker, He also previously managed the business intelligence unit of Deutsche Bank.

    He stated: “Our long-term strategic goal is to connect businesses and opportunities from Beijing to Washington DC while managing their geopolitical and reputational risk.”

    He continued: “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.”

    Lyall Grant is considered as a prominent voice on security. He has previously served as the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the United Nations in New York for six years, prior to becoming an advisor to David Cameron in 2015.

    He stepped down from his role at Number 10 in 2017 amid the reports that Theresa May was frustrated at him “mansplaining” topics to her, and that he talked over her during a meeting. At the time, Lyall Grant said that he did not “recognise” the claims, however, he acknowledged that he had experienced tension with some of the former advisers.

    Nickols is a retired air marshal. He was previously a controller of the leading welfare charity of the air force that is called the RAF Benevolent Fund.

    Bajwa said that Brexit was able to present an opportunity for businesses that are seeking to work in emerging markets.

    He stated: “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.”