Meet the Team - Senior Wealth Executives, Ronan Sherlock and Grace Webster

As one of Ireland’s leading financial services firms, Goodbody has and will always be a people business. Building long term client relationships supported by expert advice is at the heart of what we do – recruiting and retaining great people is vital to our success. We are committed to investing in our staff to support and grow their careers.

Here you can get know our experts a little better – from their position at Goodbody and how they work with clients to their favourite podcasts and TV series, we invite you to Meet the Team. 

Tell us about your positions at Goodbody and how long have you been working here?

Ronan: I joined Goodbody about 12 months ago. As a Senior Wealth Executive in Goodbody, I manage a large cohort of investment and pension accounts. Most of my time is spent working with clients to help them achieve their financial goals, while also working with members of the team to ensure all our clients get the best experience in Goodbody.   

Grace: I joined Goodbody in 2013 and have had several different roles over ten years but now I am a Senior Wealth Executive on the Personal Team, within the wealth department. My main responsibilities are meeting and engaging regularly with our clients, helping them to review their full financial situation and creating a strategy to help them build wealth.

How do you work together at Goodbody? 

Ronan: Grace and I are both team leads within Goodbody Personal. There are five advisers on each team, all of which are Certified Financial Planners (CFP) and Registered Stockbrokers. Day to day, the team ensure our clients are appropriately invested and provided with the ongoing advice they require. 

Grace: Ronan and I have a strong working relationship and manage both teams collaboratively with the same goal: to ensure all our clients are aligned to their correct risk output and invested in the most suitable solutions.  

How do you typically work with clients? 

Ronan: We are very flexible in our approach to engaging with clients, whether advice or updates are required in-person or via virtual meetings. As regular contact is very important to develop a strong relationship, we reach out often and encourage them to contact us with any queries they may have.  

Grace: Our clients are at the centre of everything we do. Communicating and listening to them regularly is crucial to ensure we are up to date with any material changes that might impact their current investment strategy. We manage their expectations and provide solutions for their needs.  We want to be part of our client’s financial journey over the long term and look to build genuine strong relationships over time.  

What do clients ask you about the most? 

Ronan: We all want a consistent return on our investments. Markets have shown a lot of volatility, most notably in the last three years, which naturally is a cause of concern for many investors. At the outset, our investment strategy is aligned with the client’s risk appetite and time horizon, ensuring any volatility experienced in the market has been planned for and not a cause for exit. 

Grace: In the past, inheritance planning for most families didn’t happen until after the fact, this is now changing which can lead to significant benefits of reducing tax liabilities, easier transfer of assets and it generally makes the inheritance process simpler for all involved.  

Have you noticed any current trends with clients? 

Ronan: Fixed income as an asset class is currently very attractive to those seeking steady returns on cash otherwise held in traditional deposit accounts. The level of interest in inheritance planning has increased of late due to ongoing political headlines around inheritance thresholds and general wealth taxes.

Grace: There has been a greater interest in low-risk cash alternatives for individuals, companies, and pensions where individuals are approaching retirement age and looking to reduce the risk in their 25% tax free lump sum portion within their pension policy. The main reason for this increase is because fixed income is now attractive and the return on deposits are minimal. There is also an increased number of new PRSA policies being requested due to new funding rules introduced in January this year. 

What is your favourite part of your job? 

Ronan: I am lucky enough to work with many clients, all of which have their own unique story. From family businesses that have been in operation for generations, executives running large companies to smaller owner operators, our role as advisers have so much variety, making every day different. 

Grace: Client engagement and building relationships over time.  Also providing solutions for clients that fill the gaps in their overall financial needs from pension reviews, pension amalgamation, excess cash options for individuals and entities, passing of wealth, setting up bare trusts to formalise the annual 3k tax free annual gift and reliefs available when existing a business, the list is endless.  

What are your favourite resources that you use for your job? 

Ronan: Voyant software is very helpful with aiding clients with cash flow analysis and forward-looking financial planning. The investment solutions team headed by Sarah Quirke and the research team are huge resources for all of us in wealth management- they help us really deliver for our clients. 

Grace: Our team members. We have a really cohesive, strong team with a very positive approach in achieving the best results and outcomes.  We work closely together, helping, supporting and encouraging each other to develop and increase new skills. We know each other well and look to build excellent working relationships. 

What are you currently watching? 

Ronan: Nothing at the moment, it’s a great time saver!

Grace: The Netflix series The Diplomat, with Keri Russell and Rufus Sewell. The story is very realistic, gritty, and entertaining.  

Best podcast? 

Ronan: I am a big podcast fan as I travel quite a bit. I listen to loads of different types, from the FT News Briefing to The Other Hand, hosted by Chris Johns and Jim Power and Revisionist History with Malcom Gladwell. Partial to the odd Joe Rogan podcast also. 

Grace: The Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett. Bartlett was a broke, university dropout, living in a studio-flat in a disadvantaged area. At 18 he started a marketing company, at 26 the company was generating $600m a year in revenue. When he was 27, he resigned as CEO and launched his podcast.

A book you really enjoyed

Ronan: Chop Wood Carry Water by Joshua Medcalf and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - both teach you about the journey of life and maintaining strong values. 

Grace: The Roy Keane autobiography. He is such a competitor and perfectionist, always looking to achieve the highest standards. I also liked The Kings of September by Michael Foley which is about Offaly beating Kerry in the GAA All-Ireland football final in 1982, stopping Kerry winning five finals in a row.  It’s more than just about the match itself, it goes into the history of the players, who they were when they played, where they are now.  Unfortunately, some of them didn’t end up in great circumstances, with the factors of immigration, alcoholism, and suicide. It’s reflective of the times and what was really happening in the 80s. 

How do you think the financial services industry has changed? In what ways do you think it needs to change in the future? 

Ronan: The industry has changed hugely over the last 20-30 years and a global view is now more evident. We are now more educated and open to the opportunities to diversify our investments geographically and by asset class. As technology continues to change the way all industries operate, we could see a huge shift in where people are working, with employees given the opportunity to work from anywhere in the world. From an Irish perspective, over the next 15 years, we will see a large transfer of wealth from the baby boomer’s generation. The inheriting generation may reach new levels of wealth and Goodbody are extremely well placed with top advisers to guide our clients on their financial journey. 

Grace: The Covid-19 pandemic forced a new way of hybrid working and the move to digital pretty much overnight. This has created a greater expectation on speed of delivery and turnaround times. Greater regulation and technology will change the landscape on how firms operate and serve clients in the future.  

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