“Knowledge is power-and to be the best you can possibly be, you need to constantly learn even if people think you are stupid or foolish,” believes Nigel Green, the Founder and CEO of deVere Group.
With this ideology and his insightful perception of the contemporary world, Green has built one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations, made up of 97 legal entities around the world. This fact says a lot about his perseverance and his ‘roll up your sleeves’ leadership style.
A Gap That Led the Inception
After starting London’s financial services sector at a young age on his father’s advice, Green had the opportunity to go to Bermuda on a business trip. There, he discovered that there was a gap in the market to give sound financial planning advice tailored to the needs of expatriates and international investors around the world. This discovery led to the inception of deVere Group.
Green set-up his first office in Hong Kong in 2002 and has been growing and developing the company globally ever since. The company does business in 100 countries around the world and has more than $12bn under advisement from some 100,000 clients. It specialises in cross-border financial planning strategies for expatriates, international and local mass affluent investors.
A Hands-on Leader
It’s been said that Green is a very ‘hands-on’ leader, speaking with people from all levels across the company. He doesn’t believe in micro-managing as he thinks that is a mistake. One should have the right people in the right positions and be able to trust them to carry out their roles in the best way possible. However, Green is always available to guide and inspire his people.
Green is involved in all the major decisions involving deVere Group’s different entities and provides the vision, the ‘direction of travel’ and the motivation. He leads from the front and works side-by-side with the teams to achieve the goals of the company.
Constantly Adapting and Improving
Every leader faces trying times, both internally and externally, but the important thing is how he or she responds to them. It becomes their responsibility to find and implement solutions.
One of the main challenges Green faced when he started in the industry was that he was young and ‘competing’ against older guys who had more experience. However, he knuckled down, worked as hard as he could, indeed harder than all of them, and gained all the knowledge and skills in order to become the most successful manager in the firm he was working for.
Since then, another major challenge for Green has been how to stay on top. In his experience, the best way to maintain the industry’s number one – besides hard work, commitment and expertise – is to consistently adapt and improve. He mentions that this is a highly competitive market, which is rapidly evolving in terms of client expectations and regulatory requirements and if you want to stay ahead, you’ve got to be constantly looking at new ways of doing things and getting better as you do so.
Green believes this is one of deVere’s greatest strengths as a company.
Securing Long-term Financial Goals of Individuals and Businesses
deVere’s clients tell the company that it’s its global presence, strength and resources which feed into having the industry’s top advisers, offering the widest range of services – including a suite of fintech apps, market-leading low-cost financial solutions, innovative investments with specialist fund managers, insurance, property, tax consultancy, mortgages and fx, amongst others – and world-class governance and compliance procedures.
All of this gives them peace of mind that they are ontrack to secure their long-term financial goals – which typically include financial security and freedom for themselves and their loved ones.
Inculcating a Hybrid Work Environment
When the pandemic first hit, deVere adapted quickly and decisively. The company had a work from home policy which worked remarkably well as they all pulled together as a team. For example, teams in Australia were training and motivating other teams in London, guys in Geneva were supporting those in Hong Kong, and vice versa, etc.
Green mentions that his employees managed to work via Zoom – and still today a lot of its work continues to be done by video conferencing. It also found that its clients were more willing than ever to have meetings via Zoom. Today, they seem to prefer it to face-to-face meetings. The knock-on effect of this on the company is that it can speak to more clients every day, helping them reach their financial objectives, and its productivity has risen.
Zoom and other technologies have helped deVere enormously and now, wherever it is possible, it offers a hybrid system where people can either work from its Covid-secure cutting-edge offices, from home or a combination of both.
Giving Back to Community
As a company, deVere uses its time, energy, and resources to work with charities in the jurisdictions in which it operates globally. The company is also particularly focused on environmental, social and governance agendas.
To this end, deVere has committed to providing free, independent advice to its clients on socially responsible investing. This is the first of many campaigns it is planning to launch in 2021, with the aim of positioning $1bn in environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments within five years.
Delivering First-of-their-kind FinTech Solutions
According to Green, the financial services industry has seen drastic technology-led changes over the last few years. Fintech is reshaping and redefining the way in which all financial services across the board are delivered.
Not only was deVere Group the very first international advisory firm to actively develop and promote fintech – it remains the biggest and most successful fintech provider in this space.
Not content to rest on its already impressive track record in fintech, the company has an ever-growing suite of innovative wealth tech products and services that are frequently first-of-their-kind. Put simply, there is no other firm that can come close to deVere in fintech development, innovation and implementation – and the company is only just getting started.
Words of Encouragement
In his advice to upcoming leaders to thrive in the present-day cutthroat business ecosystem, Green shares five things. “First, never stop raising expectations about yourself and your ambitions.”
“Second, don’t let negative people or criticism hold you back.”
“Third, work on your communication skills.”
“Fourth, have a laser-like focus and don’t procrastinate.”
“And fifth, never stop learning and improving yourself and your skillset.”
He believes that if every leader sticks to these fundamentals, they can really maximise their full potential in business by consistently being in a state of peak performance when it matters most.