Meet Jessi Turnbull, a relationship manager in our Sydney office Hi Jessi, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi! My name is Jessi. I have been with FIIG for over five years now and am one of the Relationship Managers in our Sydney office. During my time at FIIG, I have been really fortunate to have exposure to a number of different roles and opportunities, and I love being part of such a strong collective who are passionate about helping investors discover the many benefits of the bond market. In my spare time, I am completely in love with my 35kg American Bulldog, named Diesel, and I also absolutely love sports! I won’t go through the entire list, but I am a very passionate Sydney Swans supporter and an avid cricket fanatic.
Have you always lived in Sydney?
Being a stereotypical Sutherland Shire baby, I have only lived in Sydney for the majority of my life. After my first year with FIIG, I was fortunate enough to be offered a role in our Melbourne office. Whilst it was a daunting decision (having never lived interstate), the move gave me the opportunity to spread my wings. I know it is a cliché, but it truly was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
What attracted you to FIIG and the world of fixed income?
My first full time job out of university was at a financial advisory firm where I got a taste of what it was like to help clients with their investments. Hence, when the opportunity to work at FIIG became available, I was excited to not only explore fixed income as an asset class, but also get into a developing and under-appreciated area in the private client investment space.
On the opposite end of your career, what was your first job and what did you learn from it?
Over the course of my last few years of high school, I had two jobs - as a dance teacher and also a cricket coach (I know – quite the combination). As I was predominantly dealing with younger children, I certainly learnt patience very early and very quickly, but I think looking back the most important lesson I found is that you really can achieve anything when you put your mind and heart into it. In life, people will never have the same intellect and skill abilities, but so much more can be achieved when you work hard and drive yourself to success.
What have you learnt from the last few months/COVID crisis?
I wouldn’t say this is something I have learnt, but I think it has been reinforced and fortified during this time - communication and honesty. Sadly, in investments, things don’t always go your way and being upfront and honest with clients about circumstances is how you build trust and relationships. I have not only found people appreciate this, but doing so strengthens your relationship and continues to build on that trust moving forward. Especially working from home without my colleagues within arm’s reach and this being my first downturn / crisis experience, this has been the most crucial and important lesson for me personally.
How have you found WFH?
Personally, I have felt very fortunate with the ability to work from home over the past circa six months. Living in the Sutherland Shire, it is at least a two hour round trip into the office and back, and so I have been able to put that additional available time into my work day. It has also been very seamless in terms of how connected we have all been able to keep with each other – which is quite essential for us. The only thing I have struggled with is self-control in trying to not go to the fridge every 10 minutes! I also received some much appreciated advice after about a month from an investor in how to take the time to step away and get some fresh air. That was a game changer for me, as it is not one of my strong suits.
Thinking outside work – what are your hobbies? Tell us about your dog
You shouldn’t have asked – now I won’t be able to stop talking about him! I have a 15 month old American Bulldog by the name of Diesel. Growing up, we didn’t have a dog in our family and so this has been an eye opening but fulfilling experience. They are a very unknown and misunderstood breed, and people just fall in love with him when they meet him. When I am not spending every possible second with Diesel or working, I am either spending my weekends watching sport or house hunting! My partner and I have been looking for over two years now, and he assures me we’re almost there ……
What is it that you like about fixed income?
Oh goodness, where do I begin? There are so many things I love about being able to offer investors access to this asset class, but I think particularly looking back on the past few months with market volatility, what I have enjoyed about being in this market is that bonds have done exactly what they were meant to do – and investors are still getting used to this. All things being equal, companies have a legal obligation to pay you your coupons and your capital at redemption. This is exactly what they have done. Sadly, many investors have seen dividends cut and suspended during this time and have wondered what would happen to their coupons. Market volatility does not impact your payments, and the reliability of this asset class for investors during this time is what I love about fixed income.
What is your favourite bond at the moment and why?
I have had to think long and hard about this one because (not to sound too corny), but there are just so many great ones! The old faithfuls such as Sydney Airport, Liberty Financial, Australian Gas Networks have all highlighted their worth during this time as quality Investment Grade bonds. In saying this, I am going with a High Yield opportunity – that being the bond for Elanor Investors Group which FIIG originated.
This has been one of my favourite credits since we brought the transaction to market, and my love has never wavered. The reason I favour this bond so much more now however is relative value. It is our job to look at all offerings and consider the pockets that will put your money to work best. Elanor is a very well-known name in the industry, and even its management team alone have stellar reputations. Glenn Willis and Bill Moss at the helm of this business, a very strong balance sheet and bonds being available below par over the past few months – this is one opportunity I have not wanted to miss out on!
Aside from Elanor, Newcastle Coal will always be on my radar. This story truly never changes, and what the company’s two bonds highlight to investors is that you are able to receive very strong returns on mispriced bonds in the market by simply understanding the credit. I love that.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in fixed income?
I always said I would be doing one of three things with my life, and finance was certainly one of them. If I didn’t go down the finance path, I would likely be traveling the world as a full time dancer. My parents enrolled me from the very young age of 3, and it brings me so much joy. I have danced my whole life and always aspired to do so on a professional level. The third thing I would want to do is become a volunteer in Africa and countries where water, medicine and aid is provided. I was speaking with one of my clients last year on this topic, as he and his wife took their sons over to villages in Uganda for months in a row to live and provide support where needed. I would really like to think I have time to still do this at some point in my life.
Finally, how do you define success?
I would define success as waking up and wanting to go to work – not because it is your job, but because you love what you do. Work is such a significant portion of our lives, and if you spend all of that time unhappy, or not doing what you are passionate about, it sadly seems wasteful in my view.
Jessi is based in the Sydney office. She can be reached on (02) 9697 8772.