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In a different world: 10 wealth managers' alternative career
by Elsa Buchanan on Oct 25, 2013 at 09:25
Medieval teaching, DJing and cycling are among the professions which lost out to the world of wealth management.
Alan Steel, founder, Alan Steel Asset Management
Ever since a teenager I've loved music, but as my left hand never knew what my right hand was up to (no giggles now) my musical prowess is curtailed to the odd piece on my moothies (mouth organs in English) with a focus on Rock and the Blues. That apart, I work a mean record player, or these days iTunes.
Mixing music is my passion, link that to a love affair with Ibiza since 1977, and my brilliant alternative career would have been as a famous DJ introducing the magic island to my Edinburgh Rock nights in their numerous clubs - Ku in the old days, nowadays Manumission and Amnesia, not to forget Es Paradis in San Antonio. Aye Ibiza Rocks alright (or less paid but rather rewarding aesthetically would have been a beach bed franchise on Es Cavallet, the stylish nudist one near Ibiza Town.)
No Balearic Beat or Chillhouse for me -- just mixing Rock and Blues as punters danced the night away. Pays well too. Have you seen what these guys earn? And my stage name? 'Haggis', a nickname some of my pals know me as down there. Rock on !
Gary Reynolds, chief investment officer and co-founder, Courtiers
A vicar. I was about 19 when I started teaching Sunday school in my local area, and I really liked it. One day, I went knocking at the door of our local estate buildings, and got half a dozen kids to join the usual group.While most teachers traditionally taught kids by strictly following books, I realised the new kids were finding it difficult to learn, because contrary to the others, they had never been to Sunday school.I then decided to have the kids act out the Bible’s stories, and the new children finally blossomed.
Yet, because I loved teaching and that we acted out, we would be very noisy. More than once, the vicar would come into our room, to see what the noise was all about.But after years of teaching, I was told by the then-vicar that I should reconsider my career in the faith sector, as he could see I was different to all the other teachers.
And he was probably right. As a twenty something lad, I enjoyed having a pint once in a while and couldn’t really see myself quitting that for ever.It is then than I abandoned my career as a vicar.
Stephen Peters, investment analyst at Charles Stanley and former Wealth Manager cover star
Whilst I have always thought Jenson Button lives a pretty amazing life that I would love to emulate, my driving skills would never have justified it!
My degree was in psychology so I would have to say that. Two alternatives. Child psychology is fascinating to me, especially the concept and regard of role models and their influence on children and their behaviour. Alternatively I always loved Cracker as a tv program as a teenager (if you aren't old enough to remember ask some mid-30 colleagues) so criminal psychology would have been another option I considered but rejected for a life of...fund selection (what went wrong?)
Peter Lowman , CIO, Investment Quorum
I was born in the 1950s and was a sixties teenager so there were plenty of 'rock gods' around! But I never had any intention of become one especially after Woodstock and the odd venture to an Isle of Wight concert to see Jimmy Hendricks perform. Also there was no X factor, so I couldn’t audition for that - mind you if you were to hear me sing that was probably a blessing.
Anyhow, I originally wanted to join the Essex constabulary to become a policeman but unfortunately back in 1970 you had to minimum of 5 feet 9 inches tall and I was one inch shorter than that so my application was declined. I was a keen footballer back in those days and played at a fairly high level, with Jimmy Greaves and George Best being my idols. However, the money wasn’t that great back then and anyhow, after trialling for a couple of clubs, never made the grade anyway.
Interesting enough, in the late 60s and early 70s, jobs were fairly easy to come by. Therefore, you had many options, whilst today it is trickier. Thus, most young people take the University option followed by a period of travelling before trying to find work. This can take some people to their mid to late 20s before securing their first job which is probably around 5 to 10 years later than my generation.
So for me, it was the bright lights of the City of London... albeit it was less bright it 1972 when I joined Cazenove. It more sedate, with white shirts and ties, tailored blue pin stripped suites, church shoes, while short hair, beards and moustaches were frowned upon. Obviously, I have experienced some good and some not so good great changes in the world of finance, but I have enjoyed my time of over 40 years in the City. Would I go into the City today, or would I rather be Cristiano Ronaldo, on his recently new negotiated contract? Silly question!
Barry McCorkell, chief executive officer of Aubrey Capital Management
I would have liked to teach history, preferably English medieval history, preferably at University, preferably at Oxbridge. As it happened I took a break in my investment management career about 10 years ago and did do a short spell teaching medieval history, alas not high level tutorials in the cloistered peace of an Oxbridge college, but merely A level to boisterous boys at a School in Edinburgh. I enjoyed the history and the banter of the classroom (but a lot else was highly tedious), so this craving has now been at least partially satisfied.
John James, investment manager at Blackadders
I never intended to become a wealth manager, in fact I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up, and when I completed my Chemistry degree I still had no idea except that any future career would not include chemistry.
I suppose, if I were allowed some latitude in the definition of career I would have to select independently wealthy as my chosen career. At least that would indulge my dream of crofting, support my unsuccessful writings and allow me the time to roam the hills with my dogs.
Thomas Becket, chief investment officer, Psigma Investment Management
I'm not sure how I ended up in wealth management. In fairness, as I left college after many years 'studying' Classics (which was actually a good grounding for finance, as one studied the over-weening pride of men and the creation/ destruction of empires) I had not the faintest clue about what I wanted to do. University lecturer was my preferred choice of a limited list, thereby shielding myself from the ravages of growing up under the comfort blanket that academia can provide.
My parents saw this for the farce that it was and told me to grow up get a job. I had seen the film Wall Street and had been impressed by the investment bankers who presented to us students in the 'milkround', so finance it was (my top three votes in the 'milkround' were for Lehman, Merrill and Bear Stearns, thereby putting the mockers on them all in '03).
Sub-conciously I must have fancied a career in lecturing as the opportunity to constantly learn new things; that is probably the only connection between that course and the career I have had in wealth management. Other than that the advantages were that there was very little pressure and, most importantly, because the events I would discuss happened in previous millennia, it would be hard to prove me wrong.
Lee Clark, a Chartered Financial Planner with Arbuthnot Latham
If I was not in Financial Services I would be a school teacher - teaching and debating history and politics with young minds. Delving into the realms of Empires from the Romans onwards seeking to understand why societies continually evolve then disappear and drawing lessons from the decisions made. Attempting to learn from the mistakes from the past and applying these to decision-making in the future.
Chris Kitchenham, head of Walker Crips Investment Management’s private client unit
The only alternative career I considered was professional cyclist. As a teenager all my spare time (and some school time) was spent training and racing and day dreaming of being my heroes Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche or Greg Lemond. Unfortunately despite winning a lot of races and Championships locally I was not good enough and had to fall back on a career in finance.
Graeme Clark, head of private clients at Courtiers
I would have been Peter Hargreaves.