This year Johnston Campbell is 45 years old! During that time much has happened.
Nixon resigned. The Vietnam war ended. The first Star Wars film was released and Elvis died. We had the first test tube baby; Prince Charles got married (twice) and Argentina attacked the Falklands. Mobile phones were invented. Live Aid raised £30m; Black Friday; The Berlin wall came down and the World Wide Web was born. The Maastricht treaty formed the European Union, Nelson Mandela became president, OJ was guilty and the Euro was used for the first time. The Millennium Bug, Iraq War, Saddam Hussein was captured, the Twin Towers, Facebook, Big Brother, the Financial Crisis, Obama, Eyjafjallajökull, Trump, and Brexit.
Before I start, as is the trend these days, I thought I’d drop in a few photos here and there of those of us with more resilient skin, just to show how some of us might have changed over the last number of years.
The Early years
Throughout all that time Johnston Campbell has been providing financial advice. The natural place to start when documenting our anniversary was a chat with our founder Jim Johnston.
“It started for me in accountancy,” Jim told me “But I realised it wasn’t for me………..
……………I wanted an adventure!”
Jim’s “adventure” in financial advice started with Hambro in 1974 and right from the beginning he was doing things differently. Grace joined him shortly afterwards, as his support, when other advisers were struggling to make a living on their own. Jim explains “Having the support meant I could be more productive and help more people”
Jim was very quickly honoured for his productivity at his head office in London, although as usual, typically modest, so I had to find this out elsewhere.
I asked Jim what was it about financial advice that was important to him? “I’ve always believed that 75% of my effort should be directed toward protecting my clients against the things that might affect their futures.” He said.
Doing this by hard work, with the help of his faith and with humour, seem to be the way that Jim has gone about his day to day life.
In 1988 The Johnston Campbell Partnership was formed with Jim and John Campbell. At the same time Malcolm, Jim’s son joined the firm. Jim explains “Malcolm was the clever one. He knew all about computers and we felt that was the right time to modernise”
Johnston Campbell moved into new premises in Belmont Road at the same time too, where we stayed until we outgrew them, and moved to our current offices in the Gasworks in 2001.
When asked, Jim said “When I look at Johnston Campbell it’s much bigger now, it has great quality people with a world of expertise and it offers great service to its clients. It is trusted by their clients and everyone within the organisation still has the same motivation I had all those years ago to ensure all clients are protected against future hardships.”
So was it an adventure Jim? I asked “………………..It still is” he replied.
Jim retired some time ago and Malcolm left to pursue a different path a few years later, so now we have a different leadership structure.
For the last number of years Johnston Campbell has been led by Ewan, Raymond and Graham, who each bring a different, but surprisingly similar outlook on what it means to them and our future.
So it was natural to ask them, what it is about Johnston Campbell that makes it so special. I’ll let you decide who said what.
“I joined Johnston Campbell almost at the start of the biggest financial crisis this generation has witnessed – for clarity the two events are unconnected! Since then, the business has grown substantially both in colleague numbers, the funds we are entrusted to manage and our positioning in the marketplace. Those achievements, against a backdrop of economic uncertainty and instability, have only come about because of the unique culture that exists within Johnston Campbell. That culture has been formed and refined by the incredible team of highly focussed and capable individuals who work here. It is a genuine privilege to be part of that team and to be continually stretched and challenged by those around me”
“James Kerr in his book Legacy, which is an insight into why the All Blacks rugby team continue to perform at such a high level, talks about a culture that “leaves the jersey in a better place”. In essence, that means our task is to pick up from those who have gone before us and leave the organisation in a better place to those who come behind us. The Johnston Campbell jersey I inherited was extremely special and I endeavour each day, through my actions, words and thoughts to ensure that when my time comes to pass the jersey on, it is an even better place.”
“Having joined Johnston Campbell in November 2000 I was blown away by the culture and values the owners and members of the Firm espoused and one of the most satisfying and humbling reflections for me is that having sought with various management members to maintain those values, external and internal feedback would suggest that, together with our team, we have done so and that is truly humbling in a world where integrity and ethics are often in short supply.”
“The addition of many new, younger (!) colleagues whose voracious appetite for enhanced relevant professional qualifications continues unabated has meant that the professionalism of Johnston Campbell is unrecognisable from where we used to be and is the envy of many in the marketplace in both NI and across the UK.”
“We have had very few colleagues leave Johnston Campbell and those that have did so as a result of retirement and change of domestic circumstances, usually involving relocation.”
“Finally, clients. Johnston Campbell’s success has been built on the loyalty of our clients and the excellent service we as a collective team of 35 seek to provide. We are indebted to our colleagues but most importantly we are indebted to our clients, each of whom has the option to take their business elsewhere but have chosen to continue to entrust us with it – the fact that second and indeed third generations continue to entrust us with their financial assets and planning is truly humbling and promises well for continued success for all parties for at least another 45 years!”
What our Directors don’t mention, because they don’t like to, is the effort and money that they have used to help those less fortunate than themselves, and this continues to be an important part of Johnston Campbell’s ethos.
So much so that two years ago we were allowed to get involved and formed our own committee to decide what causes we wanted to support and in the past we’ve supported Cancer Focus, The Welcome Organisation and latterly PIPs.
We also get involved in the future direction of Johnston Campbell now and our structure now allows us all to get involved in the shaping of what we look like to you our clients and the services we offer you.
So what does the future hold for Johnston Campbell?
The answer is probably that no one really knows, but it’s clear if we continue to put our clients first in an ever-changing world the future looks exciting,
The adventure continues!
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