Johnston Campbell has always had a number of advisers and client facing people, and any contact you have had with us has probably been through one of them. However of course like any successful organisation the people behind the scenes are every bit as vital. Hopefully in the course of these articles you’ll find out a little bit more about everyone who works here.
First up as our “guinea pig” is Ewan Boyle, not usually behind the scenes, but here are some details you probably didn’t know..
Personal background – Place of birth, where you grew up, educational attainments/qualifications, schools and colleges attended:
I was originally born in England but brought up most of my life in Scotland. I then came over to Northern Ireland to study Accountancy in the University of Ulster. I completed some further studies at Durham University.
What was your first job/how did you come to apply for it and what did it entail?
My first job was actually selling eggs from door-to-door when I was 13 years old, so I guess you can say that’s where my entrepreneurial spirit came from!
What made you decide to pursue a career in your current industry?
My father recognised that I had a strong interest in business and mathematics and therefore always encouraged me to enter the world of finance as my chosen career path. From the way my father saw it, professional services such as accountants, are always in demand, so this of course was a desirable proposition and from my experience, a very true one. Needless to say, I took his advice and haven’t looked back!
How long have you been in your current position and what are the main responsibilities of your role?
I joined JohnstonCampbell in 2006, so my time here is approaching 13 years. I have a number of responsibilities including overseeing the financial advisors, compliance, finance and operations of the business, as well as managing client relationships.
How many days a week do you work?
Full time, five days a week, Monday – Friday
What does a typical day entail?
A typical day will entail having meetings either internally with JohnstonCampbell colleagues or externally with a variety of clients who range from young entrepreneurs to business directors or those approaching/at retirement. When dealing with such clients, my role is to provide sound financial advice on matters regarding investment, legacy and retirement planning, whilst also giving guidance on all their financial affairs.
What specific skills do you need for your role – personal and professional?
As the role largely involves interacting with a diverse mix of individuals and businesses, an ability to get on with people is key, whether it be with clients, colleagues or third parties. It’s also hugely important to be a good listener and have empathy so you can accurately identify the needs of each client and cater towards them. These skills are something JohnstonCampbell prides itself on hugely as our ethos is centered around getting to know each client individually to help grow their business assets.
What is most important to you in a job?
The most important and rewarding thing for me in the job is seeing people develop and reaching their full, professional potential within the business. Outside of that, it’s also hugely rewarding to help clients put in place strategic financial plans that help to make a significant difference to their lives and safeguard their futures.
What advice would you give to students hoping to start out in your industry?
Go and seek out an employer that will give you invaluable experience and invest in your professional development. By working hard and giving everything your 110% you can expect to receive an equal amount of input from your employer to enable you to learn, stretch your capabilities, and fulfil your potential.
Each year in JohnstonCampbell we employ financial undergraduates from Queen’s University for a year long placement, which has proved mutually beneficial for both parties. In fact, we have just recently been awarded for our placement programme from Queen’s University, which we’re hugely proud of as we’ve made a conscientious effort to make the workplace as accessible and accommodating as possible to the financial leaders of tomorrow.
How do you think the industry has changed since you first started working in it?
It has certainly become much more professional which is great. For example, when I first started in the early 90s basically anyone was able to provide advice on pensions and investments without strict regulations in place. However, ever since the financial collapse in 2008 things have thankfully become much more compliant, regulated and professional ,with financial advisers now required to maintain their CPD hours and pass all the relevant exams to validate their credentials.
Who has inspired you most in your career and to who do you owe your business success?
I would have to say my uncle was my main source of inspiration for pursuing a career in business. As a child I used to really admire how my uncle had established himself as a successful, self-made businessman who achieved so much by working hard from the ground up.
What are the biggest challenges/rewards of your job?
The biggest challenge is making sure all parts of the business run efficiently and effectively. The best analogy I can give is trying to link together all the pieces of a jigsaw so it forms a bigger picture that works perfectly in unison. The biggest reward is seeing employees take responsibility in their roles and develop themselves professionally so they get great job satisfaction and feel valued within the business.
What are the main challenges facing your industry at present? `
Regulation and managing risk elements are two big challenges that we’re continually being faced with. The regulator is rightly putting firms under greater scrutiny in terms of how they’re deciding to invest individual’s money. The challenge here is that they are continually moving the goalposts, therefore it’s only with the benefit of hindsight that you can see where they are coming from in the first place. With this said, keeping up with the constant pace of change can be difficult to navigate sometimes.
What was your main ambition when you were a child and what were your early career aspirations?
It may come as a surprise but my main aspiration as a child was to become a long-distance lorry driver! I used to envisage myself driving down the motorway, seeing the oncoming traffic and having my name down the side of my own fleet of lorries. So to help realise my childhood dreams I carefully learned my times tables as my mother told me I needed to know them off by heart to help calculate my miles per gallon. As I grew older I quickly realised I wanted to help manage a business instead, which is what I’m doing today!
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
I think we could do without such extreme measures of bureaucracy and red tape in Northern Ireland. We endlessly seem to fill in a copious amount of paperwork, that ultimately doesn’t seem to change anything in how we operate as a business or make it any easier. If it was possible to streamline the compliance process so that it achieves the same outcome without requiring the huge amount of administrative hours behind it, then it would make business in Northern Ireland much more desirable.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I have a real passion for sailing and when I get a chance, I love to do it competitively.
What in your career are you most proud of?
The best thing is seeing people who I have directly recruited, or have had some input in their life, rise through either their career or their ranks and blossom into a talented, highly professional individual that is capable of achieving and even exceeding each of their professional goals.