Ross Miller and Katie Gilfillan zoom with Greg Malone, head of wealth management at Signia. 'Stand-up guy' Malone discusses how his team are fairing during lockdown as well as why the multi-family office take a 'inch wide, mile deep' approach to service.
Another successful zoom call meant the flexibility of the term 'pub club' breezed through its second examination in as many weeks, writes Ross Miller.
Despite not being able to meet at one of our usual local haunts, the ever sociable Greg Malone, head of wealth management at Signia, was more than happy to Zoom from home.
As we start chatting, I wonder how he and the rest of the team at Signia are fairing during lockdown.
'We're a sociable bunch of people, so we're somewhat missing being in the office. It's especially tough for those who are on their own at the moment without anyone around them.'
That being said, family man Malone does put a positive spin on the situation. 'This will probably be the longest amount of time in my professional career that I get to spend with my three kids. While the first couple of weeks of this whole situation were tough, my mindset has changed to "let's make the most of it".'
Conversation turns to Malone's role at Signia and his charisma and infectious positivity are evident, and the focus of his role comes as no surprise. 'Of the three of us on the management committee, as head of wealth management I spend the most time focused on the client side. Over the last few weeks I have been especially busy with this, being on the phone to some clients four times in one day.'
As a multi-family office, many of the clients the Signia team looks after have a similar story. 'As well as what we do, one of the most interesting things about our business is who we do it for. We have a really diverse and international group of clients, but most have a really entrepreneurial side to them and can't help themselves. They always have to be looking for the next winning idea.'
In that sense, Signia seems to have found an effective entrepreneurial niche regarding their client book, and they take a similar 'inch wide, mile deep' approach to the service they provide, rather than trying to offer their clients everything. 'We're a relatively small business of around 25 people, looking after a small number of large families. We focus on what we do well, investing, as opposed to trying to be all things to all men.'
When asked whether Signia have any aspirations to evolve into a more institutional, household name, Malone affirms that no such plans are in place. 'Our size works for us. We try to stay relatively discrete and build a strong reputation within a small group of people. For us, it isn't a case of not wanting a marketing push, it's more a case of "is it right for us?"
'There is no public market scrutiny or pressure to grow quickly, and if our assets are to increase substantially, it will be because we do a good job for the families we already look after'.
At this point, I had a question that I couldn't hold in any longer. Malone had been standing up for the entirety of the call, with his laptop strategically placed on a shelf. I want to know whether he ever sits down during work, of if he has always been a stand-up guy.
As it turns out, Malone spends much of his free-time cycling, and he always stands up in the office as it's in the best interest of his hamstrings. Apparently, this behaviour has spread throughout the Signia team, with chairs not as much a precious commodity as they are in most offices.
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