Ross Pamphilon

Fail quickly and learn the lessons of what went wrong and move on to a new challenge. Being able to learn but also let go and move on is a key skill as every entrepreneur will have experienced failure at some point.


Ross Pamphilon is a portfolio manager with over twenty-five years’ experience in fixed income trading, portfolio, and risk management. Ross was a pioneer investor in the euro-denominated credit markets and during his career has led the development of a range of strategies including high yield and leveraged finance, financials, and asset-backed securities, emerging markets, and investment-grade corporate debt.

Ross Pamphilon began his career qualifying as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse and was awarded a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry from City University, London.

Ross Pamphilon began his investment career as an emerging markets specialist at Merrill Lynch working internationally in both New York and London offices. Pamphilon worked extensively in trading local currency fixed-income debt and derivative and foreign exchange products.

Ross Pamphilon then went on to help build and launch a pioneer investment company named ECM Asset Management Ltd. The company was established in 1999 and later operated as part of Evergreen Investments where it concentrated its expertise in the fixed income and credit markets.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I am an early riser, so I like to get up around 6 am, scan various news channels and research publications for news that might be relevant. Being based in London, I like to see how the Asian markets closed. Also, the daily commute on the district line gives me forty minutes or so to read the financials news in a little more detail. Each day can be different, but events are usually centered around keeping track of and anticipating market developments and ensuring client portfolios are managed in accordance with their guidelines while achieving the desired objectives. I really enjoy being part of an experienced investment team and being able to discuss and debate markets with other experienced investors. Often I get the opportunity to meet with clients and hear about their views and challenges, which is another part of my work life, which I enjoy.

How do you bring ideas to life?

The most important thing is having the idea in the first place! To encourage this, it is important to create an environment where every voice in the team has the opportunity to share their thoughts and be heard. The best ideas don’t necessarily originate from the most experienced members of the team, so creating an environment where people feel comfortable to share ideas is critically important.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The broader adoption of artificial intelligence is really exciting since developments in this field are happening at a lightning pace. Deep machine learning techniques have been advancing at a rate that defies the real world type limitations inherent with Moore’s law. While we might not reach the point of technological singularity where machines overtake humans any time soon, in some fields, such as image scanning and recognition, advancements have been moving quickly. Technological advancement is already having a profound impact on our professional and personal lives, and I am genuinely excited to see how the future develops.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I believe that discipline is important, including a positive work ethic, and I like to maintain a summary To-Do list which I regularly follow up.

What advice would you give your younger self?

The advice I’d give to my younger self is to follow your dreams and goals, do not worry what others think, and trust your instincts.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Personal decisions can have a significant impact on climate change, whether its avoiding air travel, eating a plant-based diet, or avoiding fossil fuel-based daily transportation. Focusing on these activities can have a much more pronounced impact on reducing an individual’s carbon footprint than strategies such as recycling or switching to low-energy bulbs in your home.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I like to read and learn whether it’s from the news or a good book. I sometimes marvel at the collective wisdom that is available through literature. It is remarkable that nearly every book ever written is now instantly available in the palm of your hand through a reading tablet.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I think it’s important to identify and anticipate future trends and opportunities in good time. The advent of the euro was much heralded but also led to an explosion in growth of the pan European credit markets. This provided a tremendous opportunity for me to be part of building a business as well as gaining valuable expertise. Today, given the negative interest rate environment across much of the developed government bond markets, the demand for attractive levels of income is even more intense. In this environment, innovative solutions, for example, in illiquid assets such as private debt are becoming an increasingly popular choice for those institutional investors who are willing to give up liquidity for extra yield.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

In business, failures are inevitable, and from my experience, it is better to fail quickly and learn the lessons of what went wrong and move on to a new challenge. Being able to learn but also let go and move on is a key skill as every entrepreneur will have experienced failure at some point.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I think that the growth in alternative fuel vehicles will continue to grow exponentially as fossil fuels are eventually phased out of our land-based transportation system. There will be a huge requirement for infrastructure, particularly for electric vehicle charging and also specialist maintenance and care for these vehicles.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The best $100 I spent recently went towards installing a charging point in my home for an electric car. I love the fact that I can charge quickly at home and be ready to go in the morning in a cost-effective, green, and convenient manner.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I am a news junkie, so I like news apps like Bloomberg or the FT, which allow me to catch up on the latest global developments quickly.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I recently read Turn the Ship Around! by L. David Marquet. This book tells the story of empowering leadership from the perspective of a U.S. Navy submarine captain. Not only is it a terrific read, but it also provides fantastic real-life insight into changing leadership models in a highly stressed environment. While the book is based on real-life experience from the Navy, it is also very applicable to any walk of business or political life.

What is your favorite quote?

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.