Darren is a Senior Wealth Manager as well as a Life and Business Coach with over 19 years experience. Darren has had experience in corporate management, leadership, product development and client advice roles within the financial services industry at a national level.
He previously had 9 years experience as a Financial Adviser from 1992 – 2001 specialising in retirement and investment planning with a focus on direct market investments. In 2001, he launched and developed as Managing Director and shareholder, the financial planning group, Financial Planning Services Australia (FPSA). FPSA went on to grow to over 30 offices, managed over a billion dollars of client’s investments, and ranked in the top 50 largest financial planning networks in Australia. Darren sold his interest in FPSA in March 2008 to platform provider Netwealth. He accepted a role with Equiti Financial Services as Head of Advisory, and then as Executive Director of Equiti Funds Management.
Darren joined Ord Minnett (Syd) as a Senior Wealth Manager as he believes his greatest value with his depth of financial services experience is in the delivery of holistic wealth solutions to Private Clients. www.ords.com.au
Darren is also a passionate adventurer and philanthropist. He is currently embarking on the famed “7 Summits”, which involves summiting the highest mountain on each continent around the world. He has successfully summited: Mt Kilimanjaro (South Africa – 5895m), Mt Kosciusko (Australia – 2228m), Mt Aconcagua (South America – 6962m), Mt Elbrus (Europe – 5642m) and Mt McKinley (Denali) (Alaska – 6194m). Darren’s next major expedition will be to attempt to summit Mt Everest.
Darren undertakes these adventure pursuits in support of worthwhile charity and community causes. His recent expedition to Mt McKinley (Denali) generated much needed donations and awareness for the Children’s Hospital at Westmead as well as Legacy.
Describe yourself in 3 words: Passionate, Determined, Balanced.
What is your life motto? Improvise, Adapt & Overcome (IAO)
When did you start pursuing your career and how long did it take to become successful? I’ve had a couple of different careers; I went into financial services when I discharged from the army around 19 years ago now. I initially served just less than 7 years in the Australian army with much of that service in the Paratroopers. That is not an easy question, but I believe I am still learning and striving for the things that I consider constitutes success in my career.
How much time and effort did you dedicate to pursuing your dream? A fair bit in business and in hindsight probably a bit too much, as the more I dedicated to business the more the other parts of my life got out of balance quickly and that didn’t end well. So realistically I put in a lot of effort. The more effort I put into the white-collar pursuits the more I got out of balance with the physical pursuits (health and fitness). Now I am much more pragmatic with it all and have physical challenges I have to keep striving for. I continually set goals to realign the balance.
What are the challenges in your line of work? I would say, not getting too caught in the quick success the financial services industry and keeping a level head when investing others people’s money. Unfortunately, I have seen people come and go with each bull market taking too much investment risk when things are going well. Another would be losing balance in your life, physically and mentally – you could sit at your desk all day and night watching the financial markets go up and down which can consume your life.
What is the mistake that taught you an extremely valuable lesson? Have some sort of balance in your life. I was out of balance for 5-6 years working 15 hours and being too focused on my work and became disconnected from the world around me and also disconnected from myself. Unless I hit the wall, I would never have realised the mistakes I was making. Being so focused your work can be detrimental to your health and your relationships, so you’ve got to be conscious of it before it gets to that breaking point.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given to date? One of the most interesting things I look back on in terms of advice is from Andrew Carnegie – I don’t drink because I have read a lot of Andrew Carnegie and like him, I don’t want to miss out on any ideas or opportunities in business and in life.
In your mind, is formal training essential? No, not really. I think if you put in the hard work and you are passionate about your job, you’ll make money. Money comes as a result of being a genuine and caring person and taking your job seriously, you need to always be thinking about what is best for your clients.
Do you think having a mentor is important? How would you go about getting one for this industry? Yes, I think mentors are a great idea. I think people need someone they can respect, look up to and be guided by. How you make that choice is not always easy. I think you will be attracted to mentors that appeal to your values and admired skill sets. I look up to some of the great explorers as well as Andrew Carnegie. We all need to find some inspiration from time to time.
What are some steps those starting out can take to start/further their career? Don’t be afraid to work hard, but keep balance and don’t lose sight of who you really are. You need to feel passionate and dedicated with what you are doing.
What kept you going when you weren’t at your best? Picking another goal to set my sights on and learning to reconnect with myself. The financial industry is mentally challenging rather than physically challenging, so setting physical goals really helps to maintain balance.
Do you believe that ‘making it’ is about luck and being in the right place at the right time? I think luck helps, but I also think you create your own luck. Sometimes I am not too sure how some things have come together when you look back on them…things just seemed to fall into place.