Can you describe your career journey? When did you know you wanted to be in the investment management/financial services industry?
I joined a British asset manager in 2006, after a year travelling to many countries, we now invest in. Spending time in Latin America, Africa and Asia has given me a unique perspective on some investment decisions we take and puts our sometimes-abstract research focus into a geographical, societal, and human context. The second step in my career, from 2011 onwards, was to help set-up an EMD capability for an Australian asset manager. In many ways, history repeating helps a great deal with some of the challenges at hand now. After working for the Australians, in 2015 I decided to re-join my former colleagues who were in the process of merging with the Canada’s Bank of Montreal’s global asset management operation. Then in December 2021, my career journey entered a new and hopefully exciting chapter for an American firm: a fresh build out of an Emerging market debt capability at Mackay Shields.
Reflecting on my career stages above, I was open-minded about which industry I would join after my degree and world travel, but when the opportunity arose to analyze the countries I loved to visit, I could not resist.
Reflecting on your own personal and professional development, what are some life experiences that shaped who you are today?
Life-changing events can happen out of the blue. In 2016, I was suffering from what I thought was a bad cold. After a week of feeling terrible, I thought it would be a good idea to get 'checked out’ by a doctor. When I arrived at the hospital on Easter Sunday, it was revealed that I was suffering from a life-threatening Septic Shock. I was then transferred to the Intensive Care Unit for the sickest patients and induced into a coma. Treatments during that period to keep me alive resulted in severe damage to my extremities and ultimately, my legs could not be saved. Becoming a double-amputee at the age of 34 has been a truly life-altering, but also life-affirming event. Who else can choose how tall they want to be and move their shoe sizes to fit a new fashion trend? As an investor, the events from 2016 have shaped me in more ways than one, and my wife even says I have become a nicer person since.
What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?
I love playing sports, particularly Wheelchair tennis. It is one of the most accessible sports as the game is played on the same courts, using the same rackets and balls as in the able-bodied game, only I get two bounces of the ball. Playing on grass is tough, so I won’t qualify for the Wimbledon draw anytime soon. However, for recreational purposes this means that I can still play against my able-bodied friends at the local club. Although of late, my passion for sport has shifted to watching my son play Under-12s rugby on weekends.
What is one piece of advice you would give yourself at the beginning of your career?
The path is seldom linear. To that point, sometimes it makes sense to work backwards from a well-defined goal. In my case, defining the target of wanting to walk on prosthetics really helped focus my mind post-surgery. The same principle can apply to a career. After defining an endpoint, the path to it can be straight forward.