(Pictured above: Richard Disley, left, Katie Gilfillan, middle, Gary Power, right)
Five years ago, investment managers Gary Power and Richard Disley switched on the lights at the brand new Cardiff branch of Charles Stanley. I sat down with the duo to see just how far they have come in that time, writes Katie Gilfillan.
Power explains to me that he has had a multitude of random jobs before getting to where he is today.
‘In Australia, I was a door-to-door salesman, I was an apple-picker, I’ve worked at Littlewoods, Specsavers – the lot!’
I have to stop Power mid-list, as the full one would take up the rest of this page, while Disley chimes in with the roles he has had.
‘My first job was a caddy at a golf club for some pocket money. After university, I went travelling and then started work at a sofa workshop. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to make them – that would have been a legal nightmare,’ he says.
‘I then moved to what was at the time Gerrard Investment Management. There were five people in the office, three of whom were called Richard. It was a very confusing time.’
Power describes the first time he met Disley, before Gerrard Investment Management was bought by Barclays.
‘When I started as a trainee, Richard was already there – making the tea.’
Ten years after the Barclays buy-out, the pair were offered the opportunity to help set up Charles Stanley’s first Welsh office. Disley explains how risky this change was.
‘Charles Stanley didn’t have a presence in Cardiff so it was a big decision for both of us to join it in its early stages, as we both had young kids.’
This risk has undeniably paid off. The branch has come on in leaps and bounds over this time, growing from zero to £190 million in assets under management. Considering the stiff competition in Cardiff, Power says: ‘Starting with nothing really focuses the mind.’
‘We could have gone anywhere after Barclays, but we chose Charles Stanley. We saw it as an opportunity to work with like-minded people, and we have grown to know and appreciate each other’s idiosyncrasies.’
‘We’re an unusual bunch, given our time working together, but we’re all in it together,’ Power says.
Disley chimes in: ‘It sounds like such a cliché until it really matters, but you can count on your team to treat your clients as if they were their own.’
The pair agree that their main competition in Cardiff is Brewin Dolphin. However, that does not seem to faze them.
‘At other firms, you get a lot of demarcation of roles,’ Power says. ‘That’s the positive about working in a smaller firm – we are small enough to do a bit of everything and we
want to do everything. Some clients prefer larger teams, while others prefer smaller ones like ours.’
‘The main trend I have noticed is the community spirit in Cardiff. It’s great to see friendly rivalries, but at the end of the day, everyone is interconnected in some way or another.’
This rings particularly true when Power mentions how he got into his area of expertise.
‘Richard’s dad was my boss at Barclays – he was in charge of the charities. One day he let me have a crack at it, I loved it and now it’s my specialism.’
After finishing our burgers, the Ironman triathlons come up. Wales is known for hosting one of the toughest ones in the UK, and Power admits he must be a glutton for punishment as he is taking part in one this coming June.
I question why Disley doesn’t join in the fun, to which he gives an answer that resonates with me: ‘It’s hard enough watching.’
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'The almost total breakdown of trust and political credibility over the last three years within the UK could potentially have a very lasting impact on the future of our standing on the global stage, irrespective of your political affiliation.'
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'Onto far more important matters, where Rich will say Wales’ chances at winning the Rugby World Cup and I will say Ireland’s!’