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“Treat Every Day as a Learning Day”

This was the great advice that my lifelong friend David Boyles gave me many years ago, and its relevance is as pertinent to my current position as I look back on my first six months back at Capital International Group than at any time in my life. I say ‘back’ at the Group, as I was lucky enough to do some consulting work here in 2017, and even then I was made to feel like a member of the team immediately.

Having played or watched rugby for most of my life, the draw to being part of a collective, reliable unit where you can exceed your own expectations as well as those of the team has always been a strong motivator for me. As a result, when I was given the opportunity to come back on a full-time basis in January 2018 I jumped at the chance!

The role I took on was that of Compliance Officer for the ‘alternative banking structure’ that the Group is developing in order to address a noticeable necessity within the local and international marketplace. The position was somewhat akin to my old rugby position of ‘hooker’; at the centre of the action with the need to bond with your colleagues to take the project forward.

This type of project is ‘so Capital’ in that it highlights our three core values: promoting the pursuit of ‘Innovation’, whilst maintaining the highest level of ‘Integrity and Excellence’ all upon which this company is based. These are just not idle words only fit for a billboard, but the real mantra by which the Long family and the Group Board have used to take this company forwards over the years. More recently, the combination of Greg Ellison, Anthony Long, David Long and Werner Alberts has allowed the formation of additionally strong foundations upon which the future for the Group is rapidly being built upon.

What strikes me as most remarkable is the pace by which the company has enacted the changes, and the willingness of its Board and loyal staff to take on the challenge of change head-on. The Group has spread its international footprint with strong and continued growth of the business in South Africa, allowing it to be a material contributor to the overall ‘family’.

I have seen this first hand. As soon as I re-joined, I was not only involved in the planning for the future bank’s compliance infrastructure, but I was encouraged to share my experience and expertise to support and guide other areas of material change within the business. The Group looks beyond the paper CV and instead to the individual and their skills, always encouraging the individual to contribute their wider knowledge to contribute in taking the company forward.

Over the past 30 years that I have spent working within the financial sector, I have experienced many technological/regulatory challenges and some periods of rapid change. I have found that this has allowed me to bring fresh insight to the challenges faced by the Group today. One such example was when I joined the GDPR implementation team, and was working with Doug Hornby and Paul Moran to address a number of issues within a challenging deadline. I had spent a great deal of the past 2 years working on such issues within Trust and Corporate Service Provider and Advisory environments, and was able to articulate and help by implementing these insights to face the new challenges.

Somewhat akin to the modern game of rugby, in periods of fast-paced changes players need to be versatile, willing to change position producing new challenges both personally and professionally and always ready to meet the needs of their team. Such a challenge came my way when recently I was offered the ‘once in a career’ opportunity to take a leading role in launching two initiatives for the future of Capital International Group.

I am therefore now in the process of developing a new Internal Audit Department with Kerry Austin as Audit Manager, whilst also taking on the mantle of Group Data Protection Officer (DPO). Both of these initiatives, alongside my other commitments, will stretch me personally and take me into new territory, but with challenge comes the chance to grow; developing my own experience and expertise.

Hence why as I stand at this virtual crossroads. Every day really is a learning day, and it is made most rewarding and enjoyable when that is taking place within a dynamic team in which you are not just a number!