My journey through life was to pursue things that interested me rather than to have a specific end goal in mind. My whole life has been realising that the more people we can get involved in a process, the more co-operative effort that you can deploy upon a problem, the better the outcomes can be.
It is impossible to encompass the complexity of today’s world at any given moment let alone to process it on an on-going basis as an individual.
My father always used to say 99% of life is turning up. I was pretty good at turning up, but I didn’t know where I was necessarily needed to turn up too.
I studied an interesting combination of topics at college which was computing and Chinese. I was looking for a role that enabled me to keep learning and financial services particularly in the research side is something that does enable you to do that.
I literally was looking in the newspapers for a job, answered an advert and was invited to be part of the research department for Investec Wealth & Investment.
My job is to co-ordinate the research process for Investec as a whole and the last 10, 11 years have really been a mission to make sure that the team we have built has been fit for service.
I try and make sure the process is delivered and that it works as a coherent entity. My job is to get bright people into a room, get them to talk and write down what their conclusions are and not to prejudge what their conclusions should be.
The way that you win in a team environment is for the team to build confidence, to build each other up to go from strength to strength. That’s what I try and get them to do.
[In meeting]: "Good morning everyone. Excellent to see you all. Thank you for attending this meeting. This is as you all know the quarterly meeting where we set our risk budget for the overall group. We all vote our opinions from a score of -3 to +3 to reflect our thoughts about the attractions or lack of them of risk assets within our portfolios."
The Global Investment Strategy Group was something we set up around 6 years ago now and it was invented out of necessity but actually has proven to have benefits to the wider process that we hadn’t really fully understood when we put the process in place.
So, we do disagree about the vulnerability of the market from a valuation perspective. In my experience if you have a committee of informed, experienced, knowledgeable professionals and you make sure they are fully equipped to make decisions then committees produce better decisions then any individual can hope to.
[In meeting]: "The valuation today is historically consistent with a fair-valued market not an over-valued one, but you have a different perspective and it is registered and noted."
The process is putting all these people together who are informed, engaged, focused on a particular task in mind at a particular point in time on a regular basis so the narrative we create is more valuable than any individual’s perspective could ever be.
[In meeting]: "Many thanks for everybody for taking the effort and giving us your time today."
It is a process that I think has great value to the business. The real value of our process is that it keeps people’s understanding of the journey they are on at a level that they can withstand the inevitable stresses that the world will present to them and therefore stick the course.
The wonderful thing about the financial markets is it is a four-dimensional game of chess. It’s addictive, you can just engage in that and you can do it 24 hours a day and there are people who do it.
I feel I am better at it, if you drop it, clean your mind and come back to it again refreshed. It’s my way of recharging the batteries and making sure that both my family and my work are served best.
If you asked me what the most important thing in my life is, it’s to make my family proud. If they are happy with the work-life balance that I am creating, fantastic, then clearly, I have done the best I can.