Belfast Telegraph

Question and answer: Banking on return to native soil

Jonathan Dobbin, office head of wealth and investment management at Barclays Northern Ireland, talks about the key things to look out for when you are investing for the future.

How did your career bring you to Barclays in Northern Ireland?

Having grown up in Castlerock, I attended Coleraine Inst before studying in Glasgow. I joined National Australia Bank Treasury as a graduate before moving on to Greig Middleton Stockbrokers as an investment manager. I joined Barclays in 2002 and set up the Northern Ireland wealth management business for Barclays in 2008 – the nadir of the financial crisis, which was almost perversely well timed as investors sought a safe haven for liquid assets. I spent the first five years commuting weekly to Belfast until I moved back home last summer and relocated my family from Scotland to Holywood.

Name the three people to whom you owe your present success

Mark Kibblewhite and Mark Little – two Barclays managing directors at the time, for their faith and trust to back a raw, overzealous 32-year-old and give the green light to set up office here. Also, my family for relocating and trusting that Northern Ireland is absolutely the ideal environment for a young family.

What impact has the recession had on Northern Ireland's wealthiest people?

Whilst there has been erosion of wealth in some cases as a result of the recent downturn, particularly for those investors with a substantial exposure to property, there has also been significant opportunity for investors who were sufficiently emotionally comfortable with their portfolio through the investment journey to stick with their long-term plans, follow a good investment process and top up their investments when values were lower.

Are there any rules of thumb that all investors should subscribe to?

Successful investing requires a safe environment – above all it requires sufficient financial liquidity and/or insurance to ensure the investor gets to choose when to sell (is not forced to sell). Work out what you can afford to invest.

Getting fully invested as early as possible, at the level of risk appropriate to your risk profile, rather than leaving available capital unutilised, delivers the best financial outcomes over time. Over time, diversification delivers the best returns to all investors for the amount of risk taken regardless of investment amount – so diversify to reduce unnecessary risk. The most certain drag on investment performance are costs, fees and taxes. Long-term wealth planning is therefore crucial. Make sure you know what you're paying for and why.

Short-term investment outcomes involve considerable luck and it is almost impossible to differentiate luck from skill in the short-term. In the long-term, however, good investment process is likely to pay off – so focus on the long-term.

How does Barclays differ from any other adviser?

At Barclays we use market-leading insights to make sure our advice and solutions help realise our clients' individual ambitions. We work with them to understand their total wealth situation. At a time when greed has moved to fear and where protection, capital preservation and inflation beating returns are of greater priority to many, we use behavioural finance to better understand a client's unique financial personality and risk tolerance. We base our advice not only on the assets clients hold with us but on a complete picture of their wealth and ambitions. We have particular expertise in advising entrepreneurs and family business owners on multi-asset class investment and long-term wealth structuring.

Belfast Telegraph