“Success is doing good quality business for all the right reasons” – CEO Q&A with Barry-John Ryan from Barry-John Ryan Financial Planning

Pictured: Barry-John Ryan, CEO, BARRY-JOHN RYAN FINANCIAL PLANNING Barry-John set up Barry-John Ryan Financial Planning in July 2021. Barry-John has 20 years experience in Financial Planning having worked as a Financial Advisor with BOI LIFE, First Active and Brosnan Boylan Golden/O’Leary Life. A keen sportsman, Barry-John has been an active playing and coaching member of Mallow GAA for years as well as playing for Mallow United AFC at both schoolboy and adult level.

What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

To build a sustainable business with a major focus on the ethical and compliance side of things whilst delivering a ‘best in class’ offering when it comes to financial planning.

What are your biggest challenges as CEO?

Keeping up to date with regulatory changes in an ever-changing world. The compliance and administration challenges are ongoing but thankfully, by embracing technology and some very exciting platforms on the market, this aspect of the job is improving all the time.

How do you keep your team/ staff motivated?

It’s important to outline a clear and realistic career roadmap. The opportunity to progress within their roles by providing ongoing investment and training is a great way to motivate staff. Staff like the idea of being part of something and it’s important that it feels like a tangible, shared success.

What are the challenges facing the industry going forward?

Regulation and compliance – the standards are continuously being raised in this space and it offers excellent protection and peace of mind for both the client and the advisor.

What new trends are emerging in your industry?

Increased focus on technology on the back of remote working. Clients are looking to engage more online when it comes to accessing updates on their policies via secure online portals, as well as interacting via Zoom and Teams. The advent of crypto currency and innovations such as Revolut are bringing finances and financial planning more into the realm of the next generation.

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Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?

Improvements to aid the ease of doing business, to ensure that the face-to-face interaction does not get lost in the admin and paperwork. New advances in IT/Technology will help free up time to ensure that there is still time for the personal touch and building strong personal relationships.

As an employer are you finding any skill gaps in the market?

No major lack of skills – I think if the energy and enthusiasm is there, any skill gap can easily be rectified via practical on-the-job training.

How did your strategy develop in the context of the banking crisis and economic crisis?

We have a greater understanding and appreciation of sticking with the plan. Given the impact on global financial markets, this had a major impact on pension and investment funds, however, values quickly returned into positive territory re-emphasising the importance of time in the market as opposed to timing. ‘Stick with the plan’ was the way to go and ride the peaks and troughs of investment markets.

How has Brexit affected you?

The uncertainty led to a lot of confusion, plus some very inaccurate reporting didn’t help in allaying people’s fears. We are all wary of change and when it impacts our nearest neighbour and biggest trading partner, it can cause concern and lead to lots of questions. There is always a concern with some investments and the exchange rate risk between Euro/Sterling. If you look at a typical managed fund, it will be well diversified across different asset classes, sectors and economies. Thus, the actual percentage of equities invested in UK equities would be small coupled with the fact that a large proportion of the FTSE100 is made up of companies listed in UK but who derive their income globally (not just in the UK).

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How has the COVID-19 crisis affected your business/sector?

Initially we received a lot of stock market related queries and payment holidays from direct debits. However, things quickly settled and improved with figures for financial years 2019/20 and 2020/21 at the same level.

How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?

Success is doing good quality business for all the right reasons. I get as much of a buzz out of servicing an existing client as I do from taking on a new client. Being my own boss and having control over how I shape my business is a big driver of my desire to succeed.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?

The client is the priority – the timing always must be right for the client and not an Advisors vested interests.

What have been your highlights in business over the past year?

Opening of Barry-John Ryan Financial Planning new offices at 19, West End, Mallow, Co. Cork in July 2021

What’s next for your company?

Exploring digital opportunities and synergies with other complimentary product providers across the Financial Services spectrum.

Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?

Firmly established as a best-in-class financial planning company with some additional new employees, coupled with an increased presence on digital platforms.

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