CEO Q&A: Eamon Dwyer, City Life

Business, Interviews | Wed 6 Dec | Author – Business & Finance eamon dwyer city life
Eamon Dwyer, Managing Director, City Life

Eamon Dwyer, City Life, talks financial advice for companies and meeting your vision in business.


Q. What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

To ensure consistently great outcomes for our clients, across our teams in Cork and Galway.

Q. What are your biggest challenges as a CEO?

Increasing bureaucracy and compliance. Unfortunately, the ethical and transparent businesses in Irish financial services are suffering from the sins of others over the past decades.

Q. How do you keep your team/staff motivated?

By constantly communicating our client-focused vision and by leading from the front – don’t ask someone to do something that you won’t or don’t do yourself!

Q. What new trends are emerging in your industry?

The disruption being caused by technology and Internet-based financial guidance is leading us to increasingly focus on efficiency. Also it is leading to a healthy re-evaluation of the client experience, to try and make each meeting as fun, interactive and powerful as possible.

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

I would like to see government recognition for the good work we do in encouraging our clients to save for their retirement, to ultimately take the pressure off the state coffers. For many years the financial adviser and pensions sector has been hit with taxes and levies that need to be eliminated completely. Not only should the 1% levy on insured savings be removed, but tax relief should be reintroduced, for example.

Q. As an employer are you finding any skills gaps in the market?

Whilst there are plenty of academically- and numerically-strong people out there, we have had to work hard to find self-motivated and hungry individuals. The almost ‘self-taught’ skill of doggedness and desire to get things done is golden to us.

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

As advisers, our overriding strategy was to get out and meet our clients, to almost demand meetings. Through the crisis the natural reaction could have been to avoid meetings as times were so tough for people! However, those meetings, through tough times, were the most valued.

Success is walking down the street, smiling and feeling your business is meeting your vision. I’m driven by ensuring that whatever small talent I have is fully utilised as often as possible.

Q. How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?

Brexit will have a minimal effect on our business. However, our business does depend in a way on the successes of our clients, and if they struggle with Brexit, there will be a trickle-down effect. The primary direct concern for us will be with clients who have investment or pension assets in the UK and who have a quandary in relation to currency risk and, potentially, capital movement in the future.

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

Success is walking down the street, smiling and feeling your business is meeting your vision. I’m driven by ensuring that whatever small talent I have is fully utilised as often as possible.

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

Try and surround yourself with positive and helpful people at all times.

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

Two primary highlights: (1) Watching our first franchise in Galway really start to take off and (2) Growing our assets under management across the two businesses to €275 million for the first time.

Q. What’s next for your company?

We have developed a really good advice process and offer product solutions through some very attractive and competitive structures. The key is to get more clients now to benefit from this and to generate scale for our business to drive profitability.

Q. What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2018?

Our key markets for planning and product services are the SME business owner and the self-employed professional. Both are sectors that are starting to do well now on the back of the economic upturn. So a natural knock-on is the increased pension funding and investment advice requirements that these people require. Asset sales are occurring and money in old deposit accounts needs to be invested. Instead of debt reorganisation back in the 2009-2015 era, we are finally starting to see long-term investment advice being sought again.

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

At the forefront of people’s minds in Munster and Connacht, particularly for those who have a high regard for heritage and trustworthy advice.

City Life, with offices in Cork and Galway, is an independent financial advisory firm that provides financial planning solutions and advice to its clients, assisting them with their financial goals throughout life.

City Life looks after clients throughout Ireland, and aims to offer an independent, alternative approach to personal finance, be it retirement funding and succession, investing or personal protection against financial risk.