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?
Jerome: I joined Goodbody in January 2003 having completed my business degree. Like most graduates at that time, I initially worked in our “back office”; a great place for young people to learn the basics of stockbroking. I was very fortunate to have great mentors along the way. With their help and guidance, my career has progressed. I’ve been working on Goodbody’s Active Trading Desk for over 15 years. The desk aims to provide our clients with compelling short-term investment opportunities. My roles have included eight years as a Client Relationship Manager and latterly, seven years in a research/strategy position.
Sebastian: I have been a member of the Goodbody Wealth Management investment team since 2015 and I am a member of the Asset Allocation Committee, mainly working on the equity side. I also contribute to some other facets of the Wealth Management department. My role typically involves analysing economic trends, financial markets, and specific investment ideas. We then distil the information into investment views and translate these into client portfolios. There’s a significant communication element to explain why and how we do what we do.
How do you work together at Goodbody?
Jerome: While our investment time horizons may differ, both Sebastian and I are focused on identifying strong companies with solid growth prospects. To do so, we take a collegial approach to our work. So, in addition to my own research I try to cherry pick the best investment ideas from elsewhere for our clients. In this regard, Sebastian’s in-depth knowledge of certain sectors (e.g. financials, industrials) is invaluable. Both Sebastian and I are also members of Goodbody’s Asset Allocation committee.
Sebastian: Our roles are similar, and we can overlap working up investment ideas. Jerome’s team is one of my team’s internal clients.
How do you typically work with clients?
Jerome: My current role isn’t directly client-facing, an aspect of my former role that I still miss. However, I regularly communicate with clients via our various publications. These include the daily Morning Headlines, our Weekly Market Outlook and the “Best 8 at 8” monthly newsletter. Our clients lead busy lives, so our aim is to be their “eyes and ears” in the stock market, helping them to keep abreast of noteworthy market developments.
Sebastian: The work I do for clients is mostly behind the scenes. A lot is for internal clients, the people that then deal with end customers. We are constantly communicating with all our clients, including explaining how events and market moves impact on our outlook and their portfolios.
What do clients ask you about the most?
Jerome: In recent times, I’m most often asked about the outlook for inflation and interest rates. That’s understandable given the profound impact these have on everyone’s lives and the unprecedented pace of rate hikes we’ve witnessed over the past 12 months. We try to answer topical client questions like those in our monthly “Best 8 at 8” newsletter.
Sebastian: The near-term outlook for a specific stock or the stock market always comes up. It’s human nature to hope for quick gains, but consistently predicting these is difficult and time-consuming. For most people, starting early and adhering to a well-designed plan is a more effective and less stressful way to achieve their financial goals.
Have you noticed any current trends with clients?
Jerome: We’re starting to see an increasing number of female clients on the Active Trading Desk. This welcome development is long overdue given more women than ever before occupy leadership positions and boardroom seats and in turn, their wealth is accumulating. It suggests that recent initiatives like THE GLOSS x Goodbody Investment Club are helping to promote financial education and empower candid conversations on topics that matter to women.
Sebastian: After many years of being low or even negative, interest rates have increased recently. People are moving to lock in higher yields for the lower investment risk parts of their portfolios. It might not sound very exciting, but it may achieve what’s needed.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Jerome: No two days are ever the same in stockbroking and the work never gets boring. It’s incredibly satisfying when we achieve good outcomes for our clients. For example, we’re delighted by the performance of our preferred stock list, Best 8 (details here: www.goodbody.ie/for-you/investing/active-trading/introducing-best-8), since its inception in April 2019.
Sebastian: Obviously when ideas work out for the right reasons, and we generate great results for clients. Generally, it’s intellectually stimulating, with constant learning and the classic challenges, combined with the benefits of direct practical applications.
What are your favourite resources that you use for your job?
Jerome: In addition to Goodbody’s in-house research, we have paid subscriptions to the research from several international investment banks. That’s especially useful to get alternative views or to gain insights into companies that fall outside of our current investment universe. Senior management teams from listed Irish and UK companies also frequently present to Goodbody staff. Those meetings are always very informative.
Sebastian: There’s a huge amount of information available on the internet from official sources as well as publications, blogs and podcasts of different people and organisations. It hasn’t fully replaced paper though and I have a collection of books that I refer to frequently, on investments and markets of course but mainly in other areas.
What are you currently watching?
Jerome: As an avid sports fan, I’m really enjoying Full Swing on Netflix. Given the shock merger of the warring PGA and LIV golf tours, the second series should be compelling viewing too!
Sebastian: Black Mirror, I don’t watch a lot of television, but this has held my attention recently.
Jerome: Hmmm…I’ll go with the two Tims; The Tim Ferriss Show for business and Tim’s Listening Party for music.
Sebastian: In Good Company with Norges Bank Investment Management’s CEO Nicolai Tangen. It has some great people discussing brilliant things. It’s not really about investments.
A book you really enjoyed…
Jerome: Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre is still one of my favourites. It’s loosely based on the life of fabled stock trader Jesse Livermore. Although it was written 100 years ago, many of the investment lessons remain relevant today. Besides that, it’s just a great story. Author Michael Lewis composed a screenplay some years ago, so maybe we’ll see it on the big screen soon?
Sebastian: I recently enjoyed Henry Kissinger’s Leadership, which has six studies of historic political leaders. The characters involved aren’t universally liked but are great examples of strategic and tactical leadership.
How do you think the financial services industry has changed? In what ways do you think it needs to change in the future?
Jerome: The inexorable rise of passive investment strategies, primarily via the proliferation of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), has been one of the biggest industry changes during my 20 years with Goodbody. Ostensibly, that’s bad news for stock pickers like us. However, very large fund flows can cause outsized and unjustified stock movements. We seek to capitalise on those mispricing opportunities for our clients. In terms of future change, it’s great that the industry is becoming more diverse and inclusive. But there’s still a lot more work to be done in this regard.
Sebastian: The financial services industry is quite a broad definition. It has grown exponentially into most parts of economies and our lives. Parts of it have been democratised and commoditised by technology and communications. There’s been both consolidation and fragmentation in different parts. It needs to continue to evolve to meet the needs of stakeholders. Market and regulatory pressures will probably continue to drive consolidation within industry segments, as well as the emergence of new service providers.