Speaker Insight Series - Colin Keane

Colin Keane, Country Head of SS&C Ireland & EMEA Head of Onshore Business Development

Colin is participating in what should be a really interesting M&A panel and has shared his thoughts in the sixth post in our 2019 Speaker Insight Series. We’ve borrowed the format from Tim Ferriss’s book ‘Tribe of Mentors’. You can read about the book here and buy it directly here.

Throughout the book, Tim poses 11 questions to his interviewees with the request to respond to 3 to 5 questions.. or more, if the spirit moves them. See Colin's answers below:

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours?

In 2008, I returned to Ireland from Bermuda knowing nothing about the Irish Funds industry. My knowledge of UCITS or Irish AIFs was pretty limited. In hindsight, it was easy to put blinkers on and focus solely on operations/accounting. By doing so, I failed to see the wider picture, future industry impacts and opportunities. I decided to back to university part time, while working. I completed a research masters in 2012, focusing on UCITS and the impact of regulation on hedge funds. It has given me great confidence and has acted as a platform for so many opportunities. In 2010, we started SS&C Ireland with $500m AUA and have grown organically our Irish Funds to $25bn+ in the past 7 years.

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)

Billboard - ‘Its about Trust’. Applies in every day life but plays an enormous part of business life, especially with clients. As for a daily mantra - At our xmas party 6 years ago, I got a fortune cookie with a quote from Maya Angelou. I keep it beside my phone and look at it multiple times a day. ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ When you lead, you need to remember that.

What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?

I’m incredibly superstitious, especially in work! When it comes to pitching to new clients or important presentations there are a few nonsensical items that float through my head, from the colour of the tie to the structure of the presentation. I only use collateral that came from winning mandates or great pitches! In our business, you don’t win every mandate, you accept that; you need to learn from it, it is paramount, but for me, I never use collateral that came from a bad presentation or resulted in a loss.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?

For those students who have a clear roadmap of what they want, speak to someone in the industry. Try align yourself with a great firm. In Ireland, you’re spoiled for choice. For those who don’t have that clear picture, don’t worry! It’s a leap of faith, you’ll soon learn if it’s for you or not, but regardless, be positive and always learn from it. No matter what, show your desire to learn. Energy and enthusiasm is infectious; people love it, people want it. Be positive, share the knowledge you learned in college, even if you’re new to the industry, you’ll quickly learn that our industry is at a new lifecycle, technology and AI will be changing how we operate.

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