Wednesday 26 February 2020 by Guest Contributor Opinion

Meet the team - Darryl Bruce

After graduating from Canterbury University (Christchurch) I moved to Auckland where I started working as a credit analyst in ANZ’s asset backed corporate lending team. During my university days I worked part time at my father’s accounting firm. That experience was enough to help me realise that I didn’t want to spend my career working as an accountant – sorry Dad!


Meet the FIIG Team - Darryl Bruce

Background

In contrast I thoroughly enjoyed my time working at ANZ. The work culture was fantastic and ANZ was the industry leader in the corporate lending space. During that time I began to understand what it was like to be passionate and enthusiastic about work. Despite thoroughly enjoying living and working in Auckland I was keen to explore further afield and had my eyes set on London. 

Unfortunately London was not quite ready for me upon my arrival. I landed about 2 weeks before the 11th of September 2001. So just as I was starting my job hunt, full of excitement and expectation, most financial firms in London were indiscriminately slashing headcount. It quickly became clear to me that if you didn’t have ‘London experience’ your CV immediately went to the bottom of the pile. My London dream had rapidly turned into a nightmare. 

I had stints working at a wine bar in Canary Wharf and a gym in Kensington before securing a junior role at Credit Suisse First Boston (now Credit Suisse). This then opened the door to a better opportunity  with a 200+ year old Private Bank called Brown Shipley. This role was my official introduction to bonds. I worked at Brown Shipley for 8 years. This included the period of the GFC and the birth of my two daughters. So it was a busy time both at home and at work.  

Despite absolutely loving our time in the UK and having some wonderful friends over there, in 2013 we decided to move to Perth, my partner’s home town. We liked the idea of raising our daughters here and after 30+ years living in New Zealand and then England I was looking forward to thawing out! It wasn’t an easy decision and it took time for various aspects of life to fall into place in Perth e.g. job, school, house etc… however we are all very settled here now.

Role at FIIG

I started at FIIG as a Relationship Manager in the Perth office in February 2014. At the time the office was embryonic, however I had a very strong belief in the potential for growth in the bond market in WA so I was very excited to join FIIG.  Over the intervening period I was appointed State Manager and we have seen significant growth in WA, however I truly believe that we have still barely scratched the surface. I find that working in a business with such growth potential is exciting and energising.

Favourite part of the job

Dealing with the people both internally and externally is the absolute highlight for me. A large part of my roles at ANZ and Brown Shipley was heavily analytical. Given the option of endlessly trolling through financial accounts or directly engaging with clients about their bond investments and life more generally, I would take the latter every time. 

I love hosting client functions in our boardroom and I am always blown away by the strong support we get for our events which often puts the boardroom’s capacity under some pressure. There is always an instructive hour or so on some aspect of the bond market, however the hours that follow are always a highlight. 

As mentioned above I also love the fact that I am part of a business that is growing strongly and one with plenty more growth potential ahead. 

Some thoughts about investing

Nothing too controversial here but diversification is a key, both across asset classes and within asset classes. Unless you are blessed with investment ability of the likes of Warren Buffett, spreading the risk is a common sense approach. 

I am often cautious of heavily indebted companies. We bond investors are a fussy bunch – we need some debt otherwise there are no bonds to invest in, however if there is too much debt then I am cautious. Heavily indebted companies often lack financial flexibility and are not well placed to handle challenging trading conditions. 

Another truism that holds broadly is that investments offering higher returns typically also bring higher risks. Every investment involves some degree of risk. The question you need to ask yourself is “am I being sufficiently rewarded for the risk I am taking?”.

Hobbies

I have two young daughters and so much of my spare time is spent with my family. I particularly enjoy cooking and baking for my family especially when I can entice my daughters to lend a hand in the process. I also like to keep fit so I try to exercise regularly and I play (semi) competitive tennis. Outside that I really enjoying reading and travelling.  

Darryl is in the Perth office and can be contacted on (08) 9421 8502 or click here to view his profile.