How / why did you get into your line of work in the financial services sector?
My career in financial services began in 1996, practically right out of university in the area of insurance sales. It wasn’t my first choice, really, but my Dad encouraged me, he being in insurance brokerage. At first, I dreaded it, especially cold-calling – I didn’t take rejection well. But I did see the value in the advice and service to my clients. I later moved across into wealth management when I joined a regional offshore investment broker, and I’ve been serving my clients since. It’s as they say in line our of work: you don’t choose the profession, the profession chooses you.
What is your special interest or particular field of expertise in the financial services sector right now?
Retirement planning. I’ve been big on that aspect for some time now because I see so many people sleep-walking their way into retirement with no real plan. There are so many moving parts to planning this major stage in people’s lives. I think it presents the most challenges to any adviser to come up with a plan with little to no room for error to ensure that people can continue to have a decent lifestyle after they have worked so hard to provide for their families. It’s an honour and a privilege for an individual or a couple to trust you as a steward with their finances, letting you into their private lives to peg their wellbeing to your advice. It’s very rewarding to see it all come together.
What is the most important aspect of your work, in relation to clients, or the part of your day-to-day role which gives you the most satisfaction?
Continued learning. Of all kinds. It’s our job to keep watch while our clients work; to read the tea leaves, as they say. The information we present to them is displayed on their dashboards, so to speak. We don’t just tell them where they could be, but where they must be and for us to position them properly in this ever changing cycle. It’s our job to know as much about what’s happening and how those variables can and will impact their financial lives. Our analysis guides us to giving the best quality advice.
What’s special/unique/most interesting about the region you work in?
I was born in Trinidad & Tobago, an island 48 times smaller than the UK, but it’s a concentration of people from heritages of our colonial past. I have worked throughout the English-speaking Caribbean for over two decades and the region is perhaps the most diverse in the world. You add onto that a rich cultural history that permeates the Caribbean region as well, so I get to work with people from different races, religious faiths, and culture and you learn about customs in business – what’s accepted and what’s not. The pace here has, really, two extremes: work hard and play hard and in between there’s that siesta culture from our Spanish hegemony.
Right now, what is your one piece of invaluable information for expats or anyone seeking retirement planning and wealth management advice?
It’s important for anyone relocating to anywhere to seek the services of a qualified adviser who has taken the time to study the local banking practices, the local tax laws, the vagaries involved in purchasing property, in transferring your assets to a new location, etc. I’m proud to say that at Blacktower, our advisers have invested in attaining both industry-specific qualifications and technical knowledge of the expat markets, so our expatriate clients can be assured that they’re working with someone who knows the lay of the land to guide them safely as they make that transition. They’ll even tell you where to get best cup of coffee or glass of wine!
Blacktower already has a long and successful history in the sector, how will you and your colleagues continue to offer value to clients in the next 20 years and beyond?
I’m delighted to be a member of the Grand Cayman team. It’s an expanding team, each of us with various specialties but all geared to serving our clients with integrity. It’s our integrity that has gotten our Company our more than 35 year heritage and it’s our fiercely-guarded integrity that we will offer our clients. We emphasise on that because it’s the wellspring from which everything else: our people, their knowledge and expertise, flows.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself
Not sure if it is, but I love dogs and was an avid breeder of Dachshunds (I had 26 at one time) and my sire Bindoe Wee Wilfred won Best in Show 4 times in a row. We had a good run.