January 29, 2021
Martin Ward knows people and numbers. Growing up in the UK, it was these skills that would take him through the Middle East and Singapore before settling into the automotive industry in Australia. Currently CEO of Eagers Automotive, Australia's largest vehicle retailer, Ward has been instrumental in driving a 700% share price appreciation over the last 15 years.
A staple of Ward's time in management has been his ability to quickly identify shifting market trends. This pre-emptive mindset has underpinned two recent initiatives - the development of auto malls and acquisition of used car retailer Easy Auto 123 - both of which will allow Eagers to retain a dominant position and continue growing. With auto companies such as Tesla and Carvana Co. reaching sky-high valuations, Ward retains the view that nothing beats the underlying quality of operations in the long term. As a result, his commitment to continuous improvement and adaptability places Eagers Automotive in good stead for the future.
If you’re going to have physical retailing, it sure as hell better be exciting
In this episode of the Success and More Interesting Stuff podcast, we discuss Martin's ascent through the business world, his plans to allow Eagers to continue dominating, and ultimately a deep dive into the future of the automotive industry.
January 21, 2021
Catherine Allfrey is a fighter. As the first female inductee into the Australian Fund Manager Hall of Fame, there is no doubt she has taken adversity in stride on her way to the top.
Beginning her career at Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank's Sydney office, the reality of being a woman in a traditionally male dominated field became apparent. Cultural differences drove her to greener pastures and she was soon headhunted by Colonial First State.
In 2006, the opportunity to launch a new fund alongside long term partners Graeme Burke and Ian Harding arose and Allfrey welcomed it with open arms. As a Principal at Wavestone Capital, Catherine has pioneered a focus on identifying companies with a sustainable competitive advantage and placed integrity at the core of strategy. She believes investors have an obligation to play an active role in holding companies accountable for their actions, and it is this long-term growth mindset that is the key to picking winners.
As a fund manager, your role is as a steward of other people’s capital. You have this fiduciary responsibility to manage that to the best of your ability, and to also remind boards and corporate CEOs that they have got to manage that capital responsibly
In this episode of the Success and More Interesting Stuff podcast, I talk to Allfrey about the factors that drove her early passion for investing, the importance of encouraging women within funds management, and how to respond when a CEO has a few too many glasses of red at an investor lunch (Hint: Sell!).
January 12, 2021
Daniel Droga is a mystery man. Growing up with four brothers and a sister on the idyllic Mt Thredbo, capital markets would have been the last thing on his mind. A commerce degree and 34 years of industry experience later however, his mind-boggling returns are the stuff of legend. But how did this former futures trader turned small cap guru make it to the top whilst retaining such a low profile?
Blue Lake Partners, named after a glacial lake up the top of Mt Kosciuszko, has become a one stop investment shop: everything from arbitrage trading to long-term Australian equities. This diverse range of strategies has allowed them to achieve average annual returns of 38% between 2010-2020, without experiencing a single year in the red over this period. Discipline, focus and an uncanny ability to approach investing from multiple angles has allowed Droga to stay ahead of the pack despite not taking on any external funds.
Quite a lot of liquidity hit the market at that bottom (in February 2020)... Our trading strategies then kicked in and really counter-balanced what was happening in my book (investing). So by the end of March we were at break even...and returns across the whole year have been double what we would normally achieve.
In this episode of the Success and More Interesting stuff podcast, I discuss Daniel's transition from mountain dweller to fund manager; the importance of paving your own pathway instead of following the status quo; and finally his unflinching ability to adapt and ultimately learn from any challenge thrown his way.
January 5, 2021
Jamie Pherous embodies the importance of drive, resilience and talent. Having graduated at 20, following the status quo was never an option.
After working across brokerage and accountancy, the prescribed pathways never aligned with Jamie's entrepreneurial tendencies, and, when the opportunity to transition into the travel industry arose, Jamie welcomed it with open arms.
From there he has not looked back. His acquisition of a significant stake in what soon became ASX-listed company Corporate Travel Management is a testament to his drive. As Founder and CEO, he has shaped their culture and success from the ground up, building a team ready to take on the world.
"To compete across the whole globe consistently…that is the test of a truly global company. That is what we aspire to be.”
In this episode of the Success and More Interesting Things podcast, we discuss Jamie's relentless ability to learn and adapt; the manner in which Corporate Travel Management has grown; and finally the importance of resilience when facing unflinching (and sometimes personal) attacks. Despite operating in much-maligned travel industry, Jamie is filled with optimism for the future.
December 28, 2020
David Paradice loves businesses. From chatting to the owner of a bike shop in Byron Bay to discussing the KPIs of his local IGA, Paradice truly believes that everyone has an area of expertise and is always looking to learn.
An Australian Fund Manager Hall of Fame inductee, he launched Paradice Investment Management aged 40, having earned his stripes spearheading the small-cap divisions at ING Group and Mercantile Mutual. A suite of achievements soon followed.
With a laser-like focus on returns and an unrelenting commitment to self-improvement, Paradice grew a multi-dimensional and thriving investment firm that shows no signs of slowing.
Passion is at the core of every action he takes, and, despite stepping down from managing the funds directly, he is as committed as ever. When reflecting on his success, Paradice highlighted a key framework for identifying winners:
“Multiple expansion and earnings growth - if you achieve that combination, which you do in smalls, you get massive leverage on your investment ... this creates huge wins and massive value"
In this episode of the Success and More Interesting Things podcast, I talk to Paradice about his legendary intensity when it comes to getting the job done, the crucial lessons learnt through his journey in funds management, and even how he once enjoyed a laugh with the Queen of England.
December 23, 2020
Grant Hackett is one of the most recognisable figures in Australia. Having experienced the highest of highs through Olympic success, the thirst for a challenge never wavered. After retiring from swimming for the second time, Grant went back to business school and spent a couple of years in banking. When the opportunity to join the team at Generation Development Group arose however, the allure of the opportunity was undeniable.
Having recently taken over as CEO, Grant notes that there are clear similarities between his intensity in the pool and the demands of running a publicly listed company. The importance of building a winning culture is paramount and that requires trust and belief in the people around you
"The standards you walk by are the standards you accept" - Grant Hackett
In this episode of the Success and More Interesting Things podcast, Matthew Kidman talks to Grant about how he has dealt with change and transition; the parallels between business and sports; and ultimately the importance of resilience and internal drive when it comes to achieving multi-disciplinary success.
December 22, 2020
A short preview of our upcoming podcast miniseries, brought to you by Livewire Markets.