The jaded banker who found his feet in India

John Moore has enjoyed an eventful career around the world. Dominic Prince reports on his latest adventure

JOHN MOORE oozes charm, he's well educated, well connected, good- looking, and he's used to earning a substantial income through the world of investment banking. Not any more.

His career has been much the same as any number of high-flying bankers. There have been ups and downs. He has worked for a plethora of merchant banks. There were postings to France, the Middle East, Hong Kong and India as well as periods in London.

"Johnnie" Moore is by any reckoning a true internationalist: he is as much at home abroad as in England. In the early 1990s, he was working for Bank San Paolo of Turin in the City of London. Then the bank down- sized and Moore was shown the door.

He took the entrepreneurial route and set up a firm of City head-hunters from which he made a good deal of money in a very short period of time. The problem was he hated it. The chicanery and double dealing were not for him, so he decided to sell his partnership.

"It was not spirit-enhancing and I didn't get a buzz from it the way I got a buzz from banking, so I decided to look around once again for a job and return to the fray," he says.

As luck would have it, Barings was looking around for someone to set up and manage a new office in Bombay and offered Moore the job. He took the posting like a shot and off he went on another round-the-world jaunt. Almost as soon as touching down in India he realised all was not well at Barings.

This is not with Leeson hindsight. I remember Moore telling me before Leeson was heard of that the bank was "superbly badly managed, not just in India but everywhere".

By all accounts Moore was living a magnificent life in Bombay with a raft of servants and all the accoutrements of a banking job on foreign shores. But even in the Anglo-Indian finance sector, the revolving door principle is prevalent. Moore left after three years. He will not discuss it, but he is still perplexed about why the job came to an end.

A return to England aged 50 looked to be the only viable alternative but before he had packed his bags he received a call from Simon Murray, the chief executive of Deutsche Morgan Grenfell in the Far East. Would he like to head up their India operation? A trip to Singapore, where Murray was based, and the deal was done. In 1996, Moore was appointed director and country head of Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, India. Within two years disaster struck again when the bank got hit for six in the Far East downturn. The surgery was immediate. The India office closed and Moore's job disappeared.

Here he was for the third time in eight years with a payoff and no job, aged 54. There were two options; return to England or stay put and hope something might turn up in the finance sector in Bombay. Neither option was attractive.

Fed up with banking but still in love with India, the question was: what to do? Moore had learnt a lot about India - its strengths and weaknesses, its infrastructure, and how to tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys - so he decided in June of this year to put his knowledge to work.

With two partners, Suprakash Mukherjee in India and Anthony Cazalet in England, he formed TransTech India as a consultancy to offer a service to small- and medium- sized European producers to enable them to get their products made in India where the costs of manufacturing are between 30 per cent and 60 per cent lower than the UK. Both Cazalet and Mukherjee come from engineering backgrounds. Cazalet has devoted a large proportion of his life studying the internal combustion engine.

India produces well-educated professionals who have developed its computer software industry into one of the country's leading export earners. It also has the highest number of trained engineers of any country in the world. However, their average wage is $1 (60p) per hour compared with $20-$35 per hour for a US or European counterpart.

Moore has identified two areas of potential. Firstly, the small engineering company which cannot afford the capital cost of new machinery, and secondly engineering companies whose labour costs will come under pressure in the economic downturn. Historically, the problem for UK companies who make the foray into India is quality control.

"If you don't know the country and its people, sourcing goods from India can be problematic," Moore says. "The cost of company executives flying out to India every other week is prohibitive."

Moore thinks this is where he comes in. He is the on-the-spot man who will understand how to deal with quality control and related problems.

"Indians are highly intelligent but like a lot of people also self-interested," he says. "I know from my banking days that some manufacturers would take an assignment from a European company, derive all the intellectual property benefits and then come out with a competing product at a knock-down price three months later - it is a nightmarish position for a small company to get into."

He believes now is the time for his new venture. "Many European manufacturers are primarily responsive to highly efficient marketing arms but the cost of manufacturing in Europe is too high. What we are saying is that the manufacturing can be done just as well, but more cheaply, in India."

But what of the charge that he is exporting jobs? "The economy is now global. If you're a UK or European manufacturer, you can put your head in the sand and go bust in two years and no one will have a job, or you can cut a proportion of your workforce, move part of your manufacturing to India, and save European jobs: it's as simple as that," he says.

This is a man who speaks from experience of the other side of the fence; a man who has assessed the risk of his banks' capital being invested in this venture or that; a man who has spent his life working in the world of international finance who has worked in various countries with very different cultures. Only this time it's his own capital on the line.

So far, TransTech India has clients from the specialist motor car manufacturing sector - for spare parts - and the telecoms industry - for a solenoid valve. It charges a flat per-day fee and undertakes to give a whole range of advice from suitability of the manufacturer through to local legal and accountancy work. They charge between pounds 300 and pounds 350 per day and a typical assignment will take them from seven to 10 days.

There are stories like John Moore's all over the City. The headlines focus on job losses: what people might pay more attention to is the entrepreneurial spirits that come into play once former City bankers find themselves on the street.

And Moore? He's going to give TransTech his all for two years. If it doesn't succeed, there's always merchant banking.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map