Staying Power

Issue 34

Did you always envisage a career in the industry?

I didn’t like the unregulated and over target driven environment of the late 1980s but definitely did enjoy being able to offer quality advice to people helping them to make crucial decisions with their financial affairs.

What is your favourite aspect of the job?

People ask your advice to help them make informed decisions how best to invest or protect their personal wealth. It is a privilege to be in that position. If I get it wrong and then they have made a bad decision it would affect them and their families for years to come.

What has been your career defining moment?

Setting up an independent business you stand and fall on your own decisions, the least I can do given I expect the people I advise to take my advice.

How do you measure success?

In life it is how happy and content you and the ones you love are. In business it is how respected you are by those you advise and those you work with.

What have been the changes in the industry since you started?

We founded the business on principles that today are a common practice and that have been more universally applied since the Government overhauled the Financial Services Sector. The Retail Distribution Review in 2012 has brought a significant and essential step to increase standards and provide greater transparency and clarity on the advice that has been given.

Whilst I do believe there are many challenges to come the sector is now well positioned. People complain that there is too much red tape but if that bureaucracy is ensuring that things are done correctly then it is necessary and red tape is there for a good reason, to maintain standards. We’ve been applying these principles for many years and it is one of the reasons we’ve remained firmly independent in the marketplace where this is becoming a rarity.

How has your skill set developed accordingly?

When you are starting out you are impatient to get ahead but as you get older you learn to listen more before you act. I think I’ve realised I have good people skills and that you should always keep your ear to the ground because acting on good information and learning to trust your instincts are key ingredients for success.

Are you a risk taker by nature or more conservative?

There is nothing wrong with using your gut and taking a risk sometimes when making a decision; but I always try to make the odds work in my favour with the use of excellent research and good old fashioned hard work.

To what would you attribute your success?

I’ve learned that over the years I have good instincts in business, so it’s been a process of honing them and listening to them.

What’s your biggest weakness and how have you managed this?

My biggest weakness is I can be easily bored at things that I don’t see as relevant. Having a great team around you is a wonderful way to mitigate any weakness.

How do you remain motivated?

I make sure I have a life outside of work. My sporting passion is rugby and I have an interest in two rugby clubs namely Morpeth and Newcastle Falcons. I coach every Sunday, and Blackett Walker has a corporate box at the Falcons. It gives me an opportunity to relax and see first class rugby but also spot talented rugby players from the local area developing and one day, I believe, becoming part of the Falcons set up.

Would you prefer to be liked or respected?

Definitely respected, but I hope that the people that count also like me.

I’ll retire when?

When I feel I’ve got nothing more to contribute and hopefully on my terms.

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