When Steve Bramwell and Mark Williams were working for the investment bank Morgan Stanley they both realised that it was becoming almost impossible to recruit high-quality IT staff in southeast England. With money from their employer, the pair returned to their native northwest in 1995 and set up Strategic Systems Solutions to develop bespoke software for investment banks. The Liverpool company now has branches in Leeds, Newcastle and Preston and has opened a New York office. According to Bramwell, the main reason for the company’s 88% annual sales increase, from £1.5m in 1996 to £9.8m in 1999, is that it operates in a niche market and has a sound knowledge of its customers’ businesses.
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