EPIC Awards 2022 Finalist
Co-Founder Rize ETF. MIF 2010
I studied a Bachelor’s degree in International Management and Modern Languages at Bath University followed by a Master’s degree in Finance at IE. I was the first Master’s in Finance student that year to secure a place in a graduate scheme. I joined Nomura International in London where I worked for 3 years before trying my hand at entrepreneurship. I joined Portman Associates, my largest client at the time where I ran their structured products team. Portman was a much smaller outfit and I was running a business within a business and supporting a sales network of 6 salespeople. The business sat independently of the core business. I then joined ETF Securities in 2016 to try my hand at something new; I was fascinated by the two symbiotic, parallel waves of thematic snd sustainable investing. The suite of ETF launches I oversaw were so successful that in as little as two years ETF Securities was acquired by Legal & General Investment Management. I knew I now had a unique skillset for product development in ETFs and so I, together with 3 colleagues, launched Rize ETF in January 2019. In a little over 2 years, we are today managing over $500 million in AUM and growing (having started at zero). We currently manage 6 ETFs with several more launching this year (2022). In the years ahead we have big plans to push our AUM well into the several billions.
How did IE help you get to where you are today?
IE instilled a sense of entrepreneurship in me that was unparalleled when compared to my earlier academic institutions. I believe this was in part due to the fact that a large number of faculty members were actually entrepreneurs themselves. And what’s been incredible in my journey since leaving IE has been the support network both in terms of old professors but also classmates who became close friends. A large number of us have stayed in touch and maintained strong relationships and these have served me well as I have progressed throughout my career, including to the point of founding Rize ETF Limited — my current company — in 2019. Creating my own business is to-date my proudest achievement and I would like to thank the IE community for the continued privilege to be able to give back. I hope to serve the community as a valued Alumni member for many years to come.
How did you come up with the idea for your company?
It was a collective effort. One of the things I have learnt is that it is nearly impossible to launch a company on your own. You need a team, and you need team members that specialise in areas that you do not specialise in. The key is not to look for friends necessarily, but rather a team that collectively has all the skills needed to scale a business. We were fortunate to find that within our relatively small team at Legal & General Investment Management (and prior to that, ETF Securities). Our decision to leave Legal & General Investment Management to start Rize ETF in January 2019 was prompted by the desire to ‘own’ something and to create a challenger to status quo, tired old asset management, which we do not believe is fit for purpose anymore. Asset management needs disruption in the same way other areas of Finance are getting thrashed by digital challengers. We just wanted to play our part.
What is the key to the success of your company?
I would argue that it is our team. Any company is really just a group of people that are collectively able to inspire trust. Trust from investors (that is to say, shareholders), trust from employees (i.e. encouraging people to come and work for the company) and trust from clients (which help drive revenue for the business). A single individual will struggle to inspire trust. A group however can do grand things. The old adage of 2+2=5 holds true when it comes to starting a company. Moreover, if the group is strong, and can inspire trust, the next thing is to solidify the effort behind a vision that inspires confidence. Inspiring confidence is not about telling great tales or quoting Steve Jobs. Inspiring confidence is about laying out a step-by-step plan with key milestones that are understandable to the everyday Joe. Don’t assume your investors understand your business in the same way you do, but help them understand how you think about scaling, costing and execution.
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