“If you bank your profit, you’ll never make a loss” – CEO Q&A with Norman Barry of Insight Private Clients

By Business & Finance
26 June 2024

With over 35 years of experience, Norman Barry serves as Managing Director of Insight Private Clients, maintaining a close relationship with clients as a trusted advisor. A seasoned Investment and Wealth Management Advisor, his unwavering commitment to client service and investment discipline formed the foundation for the investment practices that continue at Insight Private Clients to this day.

What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

My main business priorities revolve around providing our clients with exceptional, impartial and vested advice and services, and creating a rewarding and progressive environment for our team in Insight Private Clients. At Insight Private Clients, we want to continue growing through delivery and commitment to our priorities, enhancing our service offerings, and staying ahead of industry trends.

What are your biggest challenges as CEO?

My main challenge is managing time. Thankfully, we are a busy firm with a clear path to where we want to go. Balancing time between maintaining our service levels, adhering to compliance matters, maintaining client contact, navigating Investment Market fluctuations, and keeping pace with our team leaves little time for much else (including a deteriorating golf handicap).

How do you keep your team/staff motivated?

At Insight Private Clients, we’re lucky to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who believe in our work culture, desire professional development, and recognise that their efforts are acknowledged and rewarded, and that they are respected.

What are the challenges facing the industry going forward?

Like many others in the financial services sector, finding the right team members can be challenging. The generational gap between those who are established and who are entering the industry demonstrates the opportunity for new skills. Regulatory changes, technological disruptions and evolving client expectations are also proving to cause challenges against a backdrop of economic uncertainty.

What new trends are emerging in your industry?

Digital transformation, sustainable investing and increased demand for personalised financial advice are emerging trends in our industry. The necessity to offer advice to corporations and individuals in a manner that reflects a personalised relationship is where a company our size has an advantage over the larger financial institutions.

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

The need for a proactive compliance environment is in the best interests of our clients and the industry. I’d like to see streamlined regulatory processes and greater collaboration between industry stakeholders and regulatory bodies.

A prime example is how Pension Auto Enrolment has unfolded. It’s an exciting but challenging time for pension providers, investment managers, employers and employees who will all face a range of practical difficulties in dealing with target inception dates.

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

For those starting their career in the Pension & Investment industry, there is a huge opportunity to bring new skills. I would find this opportunity for advancement in relation to generational skills an exciting one if I were starting out today.

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

At Insight Private Clients, we took the banking and economic crises as an opportunity to deal with transitioning to a broader model incorporating a variety of added personnel and services. While the environment was challenging, we focused on maintaining financial stability for our clients, enhancing our services team, and exploring new opportunities.

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

Service levels from our providers have been the most notable long-lasting impact on our business. Fully remote working from some financial companies can fail to deliver acceptable turnaround times on daily tasks. Digital transformation has revolutionised how we transact business, it’s been of great value for us.

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

Success means different things to different people. At Insight Private Clients, we strive to achieve client satisfaction and their loyalty.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given in business?

One of the captions on the wall in our office is “Earning a client’s trust is an absolute must”. The saying means a lot to me. It resonates with me today just as strongly as it did when I first heard it many years ago.

What advice would you give to others starting out in business?

My advice would be to emphasise education and people. Our industry is based on the ability to share knowledge in a way that reflects the personable nature of the relationship. A great starting point is developing these two characteristics.

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

Seeing our people develop into and excel in their roles.

What’s next for your company?

I would like to see Insight Private Clients grow in terms of recognition as a competent, trusted and service-orientated pension and investment advisory firm.

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

We are actively working on increasing our brand recognition. We are a small, proactive advisory firm with a big appetite. At the same time, we must work to maintain our client’s trust in us and knowledge that they have made the right choice in us. I would like to grow our team with more like-minded, service- orientated individuals with a vested interest in our clients. I believe this is the best foundation for growth.

What is the best book you’ve ever read (non-business) and why?

The Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. It’s the story of Nike with a great message – if you have the product, people and desire, you can deal with all obstacles.

What is your favourite hobby and why?

I enjoy playing golf. In my mind, I’m the greatest golfer in the world. I just haven’t reached my full potential yet.

What is your mantra for life?

“If you bank your profit, you’ll never make a loss.” It applies to work and capital, but most importantly, to family. I’m blessed to have a family that has nurtured and walked with me.


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