Thirsk, North Yorkshire
Married with two children
STARTED AT JM FINN
Top Gun (so many memorable songs on the soundtrack)
I am involved with York Minster, the NSPCC and Art for Youth Charities
Life before Covid
Tennis and lately baking
Tell us a bit about how you have kept in contact with your clients in recent months, given you have not been allowed to meet with them physically?
As our IT department did such an excellent job in setting us all up to work remotely as soon as the lockdown came in March, I have been able to keep in touch with clients by email, telephone and indeed video calls. It has been great to see some of my clients virtually, which has compensated for not being able to see them in person. Our research team have also been producing regular updates so that we, as investment managers can send relevant information to clients to keep them up to date with our thinking.
Market volatility aside, what do you see as the biggest challenges for investors?
For clients who need income, maintaining dividends in order to cover their income requirements is a major area of focus for us. We have seen a number of companies that have cut dividends and our challenge has been to ensure clients do not see an interruption in their income payments. Even if some investors do not need income, the power of compounding reinvested dividends helps to achieve wealth accrual. In addition, how to protect wealth and pass it efficiently down through the generations is a growing challenge given the funding that the government has injected into the economy in order to support the country this year. Will they tinker with capital gains tax, inheritance tax, pensions etc.? Thankfully, we have an excellent wealth planning team to help with any tax or pension planning needed by our clients.
What advice would you give your younger self when trying to break into the wealth management industry?
If possible, study subjects at university or college that are finance or economics based. In any branch of finance, you need to do professional exams, including in wealth management, so becoming familiar with financial terms and concepts before starting a career will be invaluable when needing to do the exams. Brush up those communication skills; a large part of our job is investing in our relationship with clients and helping them understand our thinking and navigate the jargon, and take any work experience offer you can find to gain that crucial on-the-job experience.
Finally, which areas of the market most excite you in terms of investment performance over the next few years?
I think technology will continue to be a theme. There may be some concern over regulation, but the tech companies are revolutionising how we live now and regulators will hopefully recognise this. The emergence of 5G, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics will evolve and we need well-capitalised tech companies to drive this forward. Healthcare will also be key as we live longer and the opportunities in evolving our healthcare move on, whether it be DNA testing, robots carrying out operations or gene therapy. Otherwise, the continued evolution of on-line shopping and the digitalisation of our lives. Finally, geopolitics will certainly shape our future, particularly between the US and Asia so investors will probably need a foot in both camps should these two regions continue to tussle.