Disruptive attitude to work a refreshing take on business
RICHARD AVERY-WRIGHT is the founder, CEO and CIO of RAW Wealth Management. The business, together with RAW Capital that he set up in 2012, is firmly headquartered in Guernsey. He’s a dynamic character, with natural charisma.
Sitting alongside him is the new MD of RAW Wealth Colleen McHugh, who has been in the role for just one month. There’s already a camaraderie between them as well as a mutual sense of purpose in how they envisage steering the company forward.
‘We’re very much in a growth phase, both businesses are doing well and to resource that we need talent like Colleen,’ said Richard. ‘By the end of this year, we’re aiming to have 18 staff across both companies.’
While the companies share resources in areas such as administration, finance and compliance, the individual teams are staffed by specialists. Colleen has worked in the finance industry for the past 19 years, but she has never come across such a forward-thinking leader as Richard. While many companies offer workplace flexibility, Richard wants to go one step further.
‘For the last two years we’ve been working on a plan – we haven’t quite got there yet – for everyone to work a four-day week,’ he said. ‘They would probably do the same number of hours, but it would give them the opportunity to spend more time with their families, give them the opportunity to travel, get off the island, and do their own thing. We haven’t quite managed it yet as we haven’t got the full team. The young guys who work here may want to go to the gym or they go boxing – again, we’re happy for them to come in at 9 or 10 in the morning, so long as they get the job done. That’s the important thing.’
‘It’s very refreshing,’ said Colleen, who finishes early two days a week so that she can collect her young sons from school. ‘For many of us who’ve worked at large organisations, there can be a perception that face time is deemed to be more productive than actual output. Here, Richard knows we’re adults, and we know there’s a job to be done. So the job gets done. We’re not traditional 9-5.’
This disruptive attitude for the benefit of the staff is reflected in Richard’s attitude to developing businesses that disrupt traditional thinking.
His background is pure finance, having started on the stock exchange floor in 1985. This was followed by stints in Australia and Switzerland. For the past decade he’s concentrated on asset management and has invested not just money, but time and mentorship.
‘Since 2007 I’ve been investing in asset managers, initially in New Zealand – simply because I was living in Australia.
‘Over the last seven years, RAW Wealth has focused very much on helping young companies, both financially – by making investments in them – but also via resources – human resources and so on, connectivity, networking – that sort of thing. We’ve helped them, particularly in the fintech sector, from literally a pitch deck, taking them to a much greater level.
‘These companies are the genesis of our new fund, called 1818. Essentially we’re going to invest in about 20 different companies, so it gives a spread of opportunity, a spread of investment, for our clients.’
Richard demonstrates that he’s more than an entrepreneur, as he is also a benefactor. ‘We all have an obligation to not just take but to give back. We’re developing the framework to give back 18.18% of any of our performance fees to charitable causes, both in Guernsey and further afield. We believe we should all do that, and if everybody did, the world would be a better place.’
If the success of his businesses is replicated in the success of his charitable foundation, the world will definitely be better.