Activity creates opportunity.
As the Global Head of Investor Relations for several large US based Alternative Investment Managers Gareth Henry brings together a wide range of disciplines and experiences.
From his time as Director of Strategic Solutions for Schroders plc to his former positions as Head of International Investor Relations, and Global Head of IR, at Fortress Investment Group, Gareth Henry has carved a path that few other self-proclaimed reformed “math geeks” can claim.
With a degree in actuarial mathematics from the University of Edinburgh, Gareth has transcended his formal education to cut a thrilling upward path in the world of hedge funds and private equity
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I was always drawn to the way that finance and mathematics merged in so many ways, and once I developed an understanding of economics and risk management I was hooked. I think what made the difference for me was that I had a knack for talking to colleagues, clients and even strangers about their investments in a meaningful way, which not all students of mathematics can do. So I naturally gravitated toward investor relations and raising capital.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Lots of calls and face-to-face meetings. I believe that I can’t truly serve you as my client unless I have a complete understanding of your needs, as well as the needs of the organization I’m working to help grow. With that in mind, I make a minimum of 8-10 calls to clients per day, plus at least two face-to-face client meetings. That comes out to 500 meetings per year as a baseline, though I think 1,000 meetings per year is a reasonable goal. Doing compact and efficient road shows in cities around the world helps bring that number higher.
A typical day starts at 7am, making calls to Europe and Asia from the office. From there I’ll go about handling the day-to-day business in New York, and I may do a client or counter party lunch. I don’t really do breakfast meetings, because I like starting the day running. I try to review internal documents in the late afternoon or weekends, and try to have a dinner or go to an event with clients and industry colleagues several times a week.
I always save some time on Sunday morning to call clients in the Middle East and Sunday night to make the odd call to Asia, mostly Korea or Japan. The early bird catches the worm, as they say. And I believe that if you’re truly passionate about your work, why not devote as much time as you can to make it thrive?
How do you bring ideas to life?
Honestly, it’s passion and enthusiasm. If you’re trying to force yourself to be excited about an idea, it’s already an uphill struggle. I have to believe in the idea in the first place, then once it’s formed I can move heaven and earth to execute it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
In alternatives right now, there are two main trends that are exciting. The first is the movement into direct deal and single asset investments in private equity and credit by the end institutional client. Larger clients are now focusing on doing deals themselves or in conjunction with a partner. You’re already seeing and will continue to see large institutions making major individual investment decisions, which I think is really fascinating.
The other trend is what will happen in blockchain and cryptocurrencies. We have seen a good number of very talented alternative investment professionals move into this space which is very exciting, because it’s legitimizing a revolutionary investment opportunity.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Activity creates opportunity. You have to get up and go in order to crack on in the world of private equity and hedge funds. You have to put yourself in a position to capitalize on opportunities. Making sure you are constantly talking with clients is also very important, because it’s key to get a full picture, a full texture of what your clients needs and goals are.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Sometimes it might be better to go just a bit slower.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Pipeline management is key in sales, even if no one wants to input all their client feedback. It’s boring, but like a lot of boring things, it works.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Always solicit feedback from your peers, your team and clients. Many people are afraid of feedback, but it’s key to understanding the internal and external dynamics you’re operating within.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Mentorship. Personally I have elected around 20 mentors, all of whom are experts in their own field. When I want advice I always go them. It takes a degree of humility to accept leadership and support, but in a way much of my success have just been implementing other people’s winning formulas in new ways.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I took on way too many tasks and didn’t make enough room for some of the details. I didn’t know at the time that the key to overcoming this is to create the right management structure. I believe you can’t have more than 5 people directly reporting to you at any one time to be effective. You have to be able to give a team the time and energy they need.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I have been learning the art of meditation and mindfulness, which is important to practice first-thing when you wake up. I spent $100 on books to support this learning. I believe any money invested in your own education is money well-spent, always.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Sometimes going back to the technology you know best is better than chasing the newest software systems or gadgets. I recently switched back onto a Lenovo laptop after using an Apple Mac for several years and this has really benefitted me from a business perspective. My workday is now more efficient and productive now than what it was when trying to learn a new operating system.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
In all honesty, I read very few books. I read three newspapers (online) a day and generally find that’s enough.
What is your favorite quote?
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” –Confucius
- Learn the art of meditation and mindfulness
- Always solicit feedback from your peers, your team and clients
- Sometimes it might be better to go just a bit slower
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.