"A unique multinational perspective": Q&A with Eaton Vance's Ty Thurgood October 2019

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Four weeks into his new role as the institutional business head for Australia and New Zealand at Eaton Vance, we catch up with Ty Thurgood to learn about what drew him to the firm and what's now keeping him busy. He also shares stories of his very first job, best advice, greatest influencers and car trips squeezed between the unlikeliest of passengers.

What interested you most about the opportunity to join Eaton Vance?

It would have to be the people and the products. I know this is said a lot, however, I truly believe that the range of products is impressive, including a decades-strong pedigree in ESG and Australian-tailored systematic approaches. On top of this, I have known an executive team member in Australia and in the US for a very long time, and they are both people who I greatly respect and admire.

Can you tell us briefly about your past experience and what that brings to your new role?

I have worked in finance for over 25 years now, with the last 16 years being in sales roles. Whilst based in Sydney, I bring a unique multinational perspective, having worked for Australian, French, American and Japanese companies.

"I truly believe that the range of products is impressive"

What have the first few weeks been like?

Busy! New products to learn about, new clients to meet, as well as moving into a new office. And let’s not forget compliance training...

What initially attracted you to a career in finance?

I graduated university in the early 90’s and, at the time, I was reading about superannuation, how it was there to help everyone and was guaranteed to grow over time. I found it inspiring, liked the idea of helping people with their finances, and thought this might be a good field to work in.

Who has had the most influence on your life/career?

My family. Whilst not having any inkling about the ins-and-outs of finance, they always support me and remind me that there are things outside of work that also need to be enjoyed. (Unfortunately, that also means sitting through an interminable school concert or two!).

"Theory and practice are complementary"

What’s a piece of advice that has stuck with you?

There are so many! One in particular that has stuck with me is from early in my career when several senior people told me that postgraduate study was important and would always be beneficial - theory and practice are complementary. The other thing I learnt was to respect people. Regardless of position or title, respect always breeds a positive and cooperative workplace.

What was your very first job?

My first ‘serious’ job while I was at school/uni was working at a fish and chip shop. I started at the bottom, peeling and blanching potatoes at 5.30am, 3 to 4 days a week, and preparing the shop for opening time. I worked my way up the chain until I was trusted to manage the store when the owners were away.

Where did you grow up and what was it like?

I moved around a fair bit when I was young but I spent a good chunk of my early childhood on Collaroy plateau. We had a huge piece of land with a very small house in the middle. What I remember the best was having chickens, ducks, a German Shepherd and a baby Kangaroo (all at the same time!). As I was the youngest, I was always the one squeezed into the backseat of the mini between the dog and kangaroo. Good times.

If not in finance where would you be?

Possibly a mechanic – I like to build things!

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