FIIG is pleased to announce the appointment of senior financial services executive Grant McCorquodale to the newly-created position of Head of Private and Intermediary Clients.
Grant is a recognised industry leader who comes to FIIG from JB Were, where he was Head of Advice. Before that, he was Head of Macquarie Private Bank.
In his new role, Grant will work to enhance the quality of our investment services for both our private and financial planner clients.
Grant was born and raised in Edinburgh, where he learned the traditional Scottish values of thrift and discretion which have served him well in his career as an investment advisor to many of Australia’s most successful businesspeople and private families.
He migrated to Australia 20 years ago, and has since enjoyed a stellar career with a particular focus on helping investors grow and manage their retirement wealth and savings.
Grant is married to wife Ilana, has four children, and in his spare time enjoys contemporary art, golf and tennis.
Below, Grant tells us what brought him to Australia, why he joined FIIG, and his top piece of investment advice.
What was your first job?
I grew up and studied in Edinburgh. When I was there it was the second-largest financial centre in Europe, outside London. So it was a wonderful training ground for any young man in the world of financial markets.
When I left school I went straight into the accounts department of a large Scottish fund manager. My job was to go around to the Executive Directors of the company each day because we had to get cheques over UK₤10,000 signed personally. I ended up meeting all the senior management of the firm very quickly and as a young kid learned a lot about how the business was run. I worked there for eight or nine years and in 1992 was voted the group’s Top Adviser for the UK.
I learned a lot of valuable lessons there about being prudent and conservative in your investments as well as managing money based on the outcomes it delivers to a client’s life and not to treat clients like ‘single economic units’.
When and why did you move to Australia?
I came out in 1993 with my wife who was Australian. We just decided that I’d had nine years at one firm so it was a good time to move and develop broader experience and - given we had a “green card” to Australia on account of her nationality – it was too good an opportunity not to take it up.
How did you find moving from the UK to Australia?
Working in Edinburgh I had a strong network of people and it is a small city. My brother was in accountancy and my sister was in law so the name McCorquodale was very familiar across the markets. I was playing rugby at a competitive level too, which broadened my profile.
Coming here there was none of that so what I’ve enjoyed most about the journey has been the personal growth that it’s brought me. The need to stand up for myself and be counted. Australia is a meritocracy and those willing to contribute gain the most from the experience.
What do you miss most about Scotland?
It’s the spirit of the place which always comes back to its personality as much as the physical environment. I go back there and it just seems like I belong to a heritage much greater than the audience of today. I’m sure Australians feel it too when they return here. It’s something very powerful going back there - that’s where my childhood memories are. But beyond nostalgia, my life has been a blessed one here in Australia and I’ve grown up considerably here and my values have adapted enormously.
What do you enjoy most about Australia?
The positive attitude of Australians based on the fact that everyone has had to stand up for themselves is the overwhelming mark of the national character. That sense of getting on with everybody and getting on with the job I think defines the nature of Australia and the opportunity that I’ve experienced and enjoyed.
What attracted you to FIIG?
Two things. One is that FIIG is necessary for the Australian financial services landscape because retirees need secure income solutions to protect their wealth and ensure it lasts the distance. FIIG is the only firm comprehensively addressing direct income solutions.
Secondly, it’s a place where I believe my professional background across advice, cashflow management and investment markets has given me the experience and confidence to help that be realised. I am very keen to genuinely build and grow the business and this is a responsibility and business service I can absolutely succeed with.
What’s the number one thing you hope to achieve at FIIG?
To help more private investors be able to retire with confidence through directly accessing the Fixed Income bond markets in Australia.
What is your favourite part of the job?
Meeting clients and understanding the needs behind their capital and how FIIG’s services can help support these needs.
What is your best day on the job in your career?
The day in June 2007 when the government allowed investors to put a million dollars into super and the cash management business I was running grew by a billion dollars in one day. That was pretty special!
What is your worst day on the job?
Soon after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, I was given the directive to reduce the headcount in the business I ran by 10%. I had to hand a list of names to my boss by the end of the day of people to be let go.
When I left school I first enrolled in a Fine Arts degree at the Glasgow College of Art. Whilst not pursuing this career path I still have a strong interest in the arts. Since coming to Australia I’ve become actively engaged with and appreciate the Australian contemporary art market and my appreciation for this continues as an active pastime.
I also love golf, yet with a young family, if I get three games a year I’m thrilled.
Do you support any community organisations?
I am Chairman of the Board of the Emanuel School which is a Sydney private day school.
Why did you take the position at Emanuel School?
I was looking for something more than just the capitalism of the financial markets. The Board role offered me a chance to get a set of parallel skills away from the familiar models of my existing business and engaging with management from across a number of professions.
I was appointed Chairman a year after commencing on the Board, when the then-current Chair retired. Being in charge of the board of a school presents many similar challenges to business yet you’re looking at financial viability models and profitable models where profit isn’t necessarily a financial output and dividends aren’t monetary.
Success comes from academic results, high performance staff, happy parents, growth of student numbers, growth of infrastructure, growth of reputation and most vitally growth of students’ character. I get great pleasure leading the Board in its decisions, seeing the growth in reputation and happiness of the parents and the students and the teaching staff based around the organisation’s progress so it’s got a lot of meaning for me.
Top piece of advice for investors
It’s much more fun being retired with money than without. Understand the risk of outliving your money and do something about it now. The biggest risk for Australian investors is the fact that in one generation they are living 14 years longer. So make sure your cashflows can last you to the end and allocate sufficient capital to defensive assets such as corporate Bonds that secure these cashflows.