Aidan Davin Q&A for Portfolio Magazine
Tuesday 09 May 2017
Aidan Davin, Managing Director - Equiom Isle of Man catches up with Keith Uren from the Isle of Man's Portfolio magazine.
What is your business background?
I grew up in St Albans, Hertfordshire and started my career by joining the Trustee Office of the Royal Bank of Scotland in London. This provided me with a really solid grounding in the responsibilities of a trustee. We dealt with a number of high profile families and challenging executorships during my early years of work and to be honest it was a lot of fun too working from offices in the west end and the City.
In 1991 after five years in London with RBS, I was offered the opportunity to transfer to the Isle of Man to join their offshore trust arm which was growing rapidly at the time. I was keen to try something new and jumped at the chance to move to a different jurisdiction and to broaden my experience.
It was a bit of an adjustment at first after the hustle and bustle of London, but after a few months I really started to enjoy island life and decided to make the Island my long term home.
The variety and technical challenges of international fiduciary work, as well as the opportunities to travel kept me fully engaged and I worked for the next 14 years with RBS and Coutts before joining Anglo Irish Bank in 2005.
In 2006 I was invited by our Global CEO, Sheila Dean to participate in the management buyout and establishment of Equiom, and I was subsequently appointed to Client Services Director for Equiom Isle of Man in 2008, an interesting time for every financial services orientated business!
Our business really started to grow strongly in 2013 and as a result I took on the role of Group Client Services Director (then spanning the Isle of Man, Jersey and Malta) with the aim of ensuring that as we grew into new jurisdictions we maintained the high standards of client service that our customers had been used to receiving from our excellent team here in the Isle of Man.
What was your first job?
I had several part-time jobs over the years including golf course caddy, dish washer, petrol station cashier and supermarket shelf stacker.
I have particularly good memories of the summer between my first and second years at college when I worked as an engineer’s assistant on the construction of the M1 / M25 junction. To this day I still enjoy telling my children that I helped to build that motorway when we go to visit my family in St Albans.
Who is your business role model?
I don’t have a role model as such, but I do like to pinch pearls of wisdom from various sources.
A current favourite is Warren Buffet’s ‘Hire well. Manage little,’
If you hadn’t followed your current career path, what would you be doing?
I would probably have followed in my dad’s footsteps and joined the construction industry. There’s a good technical college in St Albans and I have a lot of friends who are engineers, surveyors and the like.
Best business lesson learned?
Another pearl of wisdom…. ‘Build from firm foundations’ – Think that one came from my dad!
Our business is growing strongly at the moment and expanding globally, but we put a lot of work in early on to build a robust platform for this growth.
Best thing about your job?
It sounds a bit of a cliché but I love the variety of challenges it brings – from managing my teams, undertaking acquisitions, to overseeing client relationships.
I’ve always particularly enjoyed the interaction with clients. This is something I do less in my position as MD but I have a great sense of pride when I think about the long-standing relationships I have with key clients, some of which I have worked with for more than 25 years.
Do you own an iPad?
Yes - I use it extensively both for work and personal use.
What is your best gadget?
I like my golfing gadgets. A particular favourite would be my Garmin Approach yardage guide, which gives you accurate distance measurements to each green.
These seem common place now but when they first came out a few years ago were a significant step forward for the game.
Which websites do you visit?
My wife Kerstin and I have three teenage children so a lot of thought goes into holiday and travel planning which these days means plenty of website browsing. A quick check of my browsing history also suggests I look at a lot of sports news sites, most of them football related and in particular the Watford FC home page.
What do you shop online for?
I’m not a recreational shopper, so it’s whatever I need and only that. I do like to shop locally wherever possible though.
We are nearing completion of some house renovations at the moment so my shopping habits tend to be focused on furniture and furnishings currently.
Where in the world would you like to visit?
I’ve always wanted to visit Australia to watch an entire Ashes Series – it’s on the bucket list.
Favourite TV series?
House of Cards - I was late to get to it but have just caught up having watched the first four series on Netflix in recent weeks. Looking forward to Season 5 which is due out in May….
Most memorable event from your childhood?
My grandparents’ golden wedding anniversary in Galway when I was about eight.
My mother was one of 10 children so as you can imagine we have a large extended family. This is the only time I can remember all my cousins being together in one place at the same time. Whilst my cousins are all spread far and wide these days we still keep in touch via social media.
One thing you would you like to achieve before you die?
After 40 years of trying, a ‘Hole in One’ would be nice. That’s one round of drinks I would be delighted to pay for!
Equiom has recently completed a number of acquisitions. How has this helped grow the business?
Since our first acquisition of Intertrust Isle of Man in 2011, we have focused on a strategy of fostering organic growth while also seeking opportunities for synergies and growth with likeminded businesses worldwide. This has helped us to increase our global footprint and also expand our service offering.
Our acquisitive growth has given us a presence in areas such as Asia, the Middle East and the Channel Islands. More recently, with the acquisitions of Eagle Consulting and Solid Japan, we have expanded into the UK and Japan, two key locations adding to a strong presence both in and outside of Europe.
Our people are at the heart of our business and organic growth remains a high priority. Having been with Equiom since the beginning, I have seen staff join the business and rise up through the various roles who are today sitting on the board as directors. This core team of professional individuals is complemented by new expertise from the businesses we acquire.
As we grow, we are careful to ensure that everything we undertake as a group is done with consideration for each of the jurisdictions in which we operate.
Our key focus is integration of new businesses to build one team and maintain Equiom’s culture and brand.
This isn’t easy but we have a clear vision, an established integration team and a well-practised harmonisation process.
Acquisitive growth is a lengthy and complex process, but we have found that keeping the focus on our staff and clients is key to our success.
Learn more about Equiom's Isle of Man office