'Making the complex simple': Q&A with Stuart Devlin September 2018

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In his newly-created role as head of family office and IFAs at Warakirri Asset Management, Stuart Devlin has been charged with developing relationships for the firm in the private wealth market. He tells Industry Moves what drew him to the role and what excites him most. He also shares a career highlight, some sage advice, and a little about the foundation he co-founded to help disadvantaged kids.

What drew you to the role?

Well, it’s always the people for me, but I’m excited to help Warakirri continue on its current growth path. Warakirri has several specialised in-demand investment capabilities and I’m particularly excited by our ESG and Agricultural investment solutions, and partnering with high-quality firms such as Mesirow Financial to deliver specialised solutions to Australian investors.

What are your biggest goals for the first 12 months?

Broadening Warakirri’s relationship outside our traditional institutional and charitable investor client base. Specifically, to lift the engagement with the increasing number of boutique private wealth firms and family offices.

And your greatest challenges?

The industry itself is facing several challenges and increased scrutiny, I’m sure navigating any changes will keep me busy!

Can you name a career highlight so far?

Working with advisers to achieve better client investment outcome is my passion. I felt like I was achieving this when I helped manage a terrific group of distribution people that were rated the number one distribution team by Wealth Insights in Australia three years in a row. It’s nice to know your clients enjoy working with you and your team.

"Find the purpose of this industry and you will be passionate about working in it."

What advice would you give someone just starting out in financial services?

Find the purpose of this industry and you will be passionate about working in it. Importantly, also remember to have fun, learn from your mistakes (we all make them), and keep asking the question “is this good for the end investor?”, it will lead to better outcomes.

Who do you most admire, and why?

George Bernard Shaw, the definition of true intelligence is taking the complex and making it simple. He was the king of this, plus his quotes about life give great perspective and make me laugh. He left the world in a better place than he found it, something we should all aspire to do.

Do you have a secret skill or hidden talent?

My sporting ability is best described as a jack of all trades and a master of none. However, sport has given me so much joy and thousands of life lessons which inspired me and a few friends to create a fundraising group to raise money for disadvantaged kids to play sport. At last count we had raised over $500,000 - see Grassroots Sports Club if you’re interested, and we give most of our money to the Mirabel Foundation which is a great cause.

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