“Success is about getting good business for the right reasons” – CEO Q&A with Barry-John Ryan of Barry-John Ryan Financial Planning – Business & Finance
PICTURED: BARRY-JOHN RYAN, CEO, BARRY-JOHN RYAN FINANCIAL PLANNING
Barry-John founded Barry-John Ryan Financial Planning in July 2021. Barry-John has 20 years of financial planning experience having worked as a financial advisor at BOI LIFE, First Active and Brosnan Boylan Golden / O’Leary Life. An avid athlete, Barry-John has been an active player and coach member of Mallow GAA for years, playing for Mallow United AFC at both student and adult levels.
What are your main priorities and goals in your role?
Building a sustainable business with an emphasis on ethical and compliance sides while delivering a top notch offering on financial planning.
What are your biggest challenges as a CEO?
Stay up to date on regulatory changes in an ever-changing world. The compliance and management challenges persist, but luckily, this aspect of the job is constantly improving with the introduction of technology and some very exciting platforms to the market.
How do you keep your team / employees motivated?
It is important to outline a clear and realistic career plan. The opportunity to grow in their roles through ongoing investment and training is a great way to motivate employees. Employees like the idea of being part of something, and it’s important that it feels like a tangible, shared success.
What challenges will the industry face in the future?
Regulation and compliance – the standards in this area are continuously being increased and offer excellent protection and security for both the customer and the consultant.
What new trends are emerging in your industry?
Increased focus on technology in the course of remote work. Customers want to interact more online when it comes to accessing policy updates through secure online portals and interacting through Zoom and Teams. The advent of cryptocurrency and innovations like Revolut bring finance and financial planning more into the realm of the next generation.
Are there any big changes in your industry that you would like to see?
Improvements to make business easier to ensure that face-to-face interaction is not lost in administration and paperwork. New advances in IT / technology will help buy time to ensure that there is still time for personal touch and building strong personal relationships.
As an employer, do you find skill gaps in the market?
Not a major shortage of skills – I think if the energy and enthusiasm is present, any skill gap can easily be filled with hands-on training on the job.
How did your strategy develop in the context of the banking and economic crisis?
We have a greater understanding and appreciation for sticking to the plan. This had a large impact on pension and mutual funds given the impact on global financial markets, however values quickly returned to positive territory, re-emphasizing the importance of time in the market versus timing. “Stick to plan” was the way to go through the ups and downs of the investment markets.
How did Brexit affect you?
The uncertainty created a great deal of confusion and some very inaccurate reports did not help to allay people’s fears. We are all suspicious of change and when it affects our closest neighbor and largest trading partner it can be cause for concern and raise many questions. There are always concerns about some investments and the euro / sterling exchange rate risk. If you look at a typical managed fund, it is well diversified across different asset classes, sectors, and economies. Thus, the actual proportion of stocks invested in UK stocks would be small, coupled with the fact that a large portion of the FTSE100 is made up of companies that are listed in the UK but earn their income worldwide (not just the UK).
How has the COVID-19 crisis affected your company / your industry?
In the beginning we received a lot of stock exchange-related inquiries and payment holidays for direct debits. With the figures for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years at the same level, however, the situation quickly settled and improved.
How do you define success and what drives you to success?
Success means doing good business for the right reasons. I enjoy looking after an existing customer as much as accepting a new customer. Being my own boss and being in control of how I run my business is a big driver of my desire to be successful.
What’s the best advice you have been given or would give in business?
The customer has priority – the timing must always be right for the customer and not the consultant’s own interests.
What were your business highlights over the past year?
Barry-John Ryan Financial Planning’s new office opened at 19, West End, Mallow, Co. Cork in July 2021
What’s next for your company?
Exploring digital possibilities and synergies with other complementary product providers across the entire range of financial services.
Where should your company / brand be next year at this time?
Firmly established as a first-class financial planning company with a few additional new employees, coupled with an increased presence on digital platforms.