Our series "Meet the team" continues with Ben Taylor, Director – Fixed Income Sales in the Sydney office
Ben was born and bred on Sydney’s North Shore where he developed a fascination for the financial markets which ultimately led him to FIIG Securities.
In his spare time, he has visited the wilder reaches of the planet and has a particular interest in Asia and South America; spending memorable stretches in Colombia and Peru working on his Spanish language skills.
Ben’s globe-trotting is currently on hold as he adjusts to his new role as proud father to 4-month old son Saxon, with his lovely wife Julie.
Below, Ben discusses what attracted him to FIIG, what he has learned from his clients, and the best call he has made for investors.
How did you get into financial services?
I grew up on the North Shore and after school finished I developed a strong fascination with the equity markets. It was around this time that the dotcom bubble was really taking off. I spent the next couple of years working in the back offices of Merrill Lynch and UBS where I saw the ups and downs of internet stocks with dubious valuations.
After the dotcom bubble burst I decided to go to university to understand the markets better by completing a Bachelor degree in Commerce Accounting. This gave me a good grounding in how to read a company’s balance sheet and profit and loss.
In 2005 the markets were on a tear again and I joined CMC Markets as a Sales Trader. At CMC I gained a solid appreciation for the markets, the psychology of trading and how interlinked all financial instruments are to each other. During my time at CMC I was a market maker in Equities, FX, Commodities and Treasuries.
What attracted you to FIIG?
I heard about FIIG Securities in early 2012 and it seemed clear that a shift was about to happen in the financial markets. The aging population and need for security following the GFC meant the bond markets would be an area of strong growth.
I had heard a lot of positive comments about FIIG from family and friends and decided to pursue a position on their private client team. I was thoroughly impressed with their professionalism, the direction of the business and their excitement about the asset class.
Around this time FIIG had also just originated Australia’s first high yield deal. I thought it would be exciting to be a part of developing this market here in Australia and jumped at the chance to work with such an impressive firm and a great group of people.
Why did you pursue the role of fixed income dealer?
My previous role as a Sales Trader concentrated on managing clients who took very speculative leveraged derivatives bets on the price action of an underlying instrument. The carnage of the GFC and the losses sustained were eye opening and I was very keen to move into a product that truly helped people generate income and secured their financial future.
You also hear a good deal about a client’s life and their story, how they made their money, what were their successes, their failures. I find listening to people's stories very interesting and enjoy getting to know my clients better.
What have you learned from your clients?
I have learnt that all clients have their own ideas and beliefs around investing and it’s best not to prescribe a one-size-fits-all solution. Showing a wide variety of options allows a client to select the fixed income ideas which suit their individual risk and reward preferences.
I have found that, the vast majority of clients who approach FIIG are interested in capital preservation and need a high degree of stability with the fixed income element of their portfolio.
What has been your best call for a client?
The high-yield markets in Australia have delivered an extraordinary result for our client base to date, so encouraging clients to participate in our origination deals has been a great call. Early adopting clients have learnt that getting in at origination has been a winning strategy.
What are your other interests?
I love anything outdoors - running, ocean swimming, hiking and cycling. My wife and I have spent the last 5 years travelling in our spare time mostly through different parts of Asia and South America. I have recently taken up scuba diving and earned my Open Water Certificate. I also appreciate a glass of wine or two and enjoy reading the latest novels.
Ben is in the Sydney office and can be contacted on (02) 9697 8731 or Ben.Taylor@fiig.com.au