Five wealth managers reveal their Sliding Doors moment

Louise Santaana

Head of UK wealth lending at Lloyds Private Bank 

I’ve had two sliding doors moments that have been instrumental in getting me to where I am today. Although, rather than calling them acts of fate, I’d say they were moments where I’ve faced a fork in the road.

The first of these comes early in my career. I had graduated with a Law degree and was ready to become a solicitor. However, I didn’t really want to continue in the legal profession. At that point I joined Lloyds Banking Group with the expectation that it would be a stop-gap while I considered my next move. In fact, I found I loved the world of finance and that is where I stayed.

My next sliding doors moment came when I moved from my comfortable role in the Lloyds branch network, to a challenging opportunity with the commercial bank. It was tough for me and I had some hard learnings to undertake. At times I could have thrown in the towel and returned to what I knew, but through this, I learnt to be resilient and decided that developing myself was going to be my choice.

I’ve made other diverse choices throughout my career, but it is these two that drove me to where I am now, with the skills, experience and strength to run the lending business in the UK private bank.

Mark Parello

Principal and wealth manager at Raymond James Manchester

My sliding doors moment came while working as an investment manager. I have always been entrepreneurial, coming up with new ideas to improve what we do.

While successful, my ideas didn’t always go down well with the old guard, who liked things to be done the same way they always had been.

During one appraisal I was told “There are square pegs for square holes and round pegs for rounds holes. You Mark however are a hexagon”

Being told I didn’t fit made me think about what I really wanted to do, and what I really wanted to do was create an innovative and better service for clients.

As a result, I started a business with Raymond James incorporating all the best ideas I have learnt over my 20 year financial services career. This decision has been transformational and wouldn’t have happened, had I not been told I didn’t fit.

Nigel Rawlings

Investment manager at Malloch Melville

It was September 1971 when I started work at Simon & Coates as an A-level trainee.

Markets were buoyant. After two and a half years of learning by experience the workings of the general office, I was moved to the professional funds department, an early example of providing proactive client portfolio management – something of a revelation at the time but mainstream today.

The FTSE 30 Index (there was no FTSE 100) then started to plunge from over 500 to end up at just over 150 in December 1974.

Stockbroking firms were being hammered and staff across the City were being made redundant. All of my contemporaries were sacked – it was a nerve-racking time.

But I was not made redundant, and after a number of senior colleagues departed I was literally holding the fort with my boss.

I was young and very inexperienced but I grew up rapidly and learned more about private client investment management in a short period of time than could ever have been achieved in any other way.

Mark Little

Business development director at 7IM

Having spent 2 days stalking a herd of elephants in the South African bush, with one very wary eye on a particular male elephant in musk, my phone suddenly went off. Carnage. The elephant shrieked, trees were flattened as he charged to where the sound had come from, and my flight or fight instinct kicked in as I was rooted to the spot with genuine fear.

The charge stopped a few feet from where we were hunched and he blew one final trumpet and turned and fled. The phone call was from a head hunter in London asking whether I was interested in running Barclays Wealth management business in Scotland.

Despite nearly killing me that phone call led to a serendipitous conversation that gave me the opportunity to enter the world of wealth management.

Andrew Gilbert

Senior investment manager at Parmenion

My sliding door moment was the day I walked into an interview with Parmenion, an award winning DFM, platform and technology provider, after finding myself looking for opportunities after a brief stay at Rathbone Greenbank. 

Having worked with a specialist ethical DFM, I found myself well positioned to set up our own ESG, sustainable and ethical proposition at Parmenion in 2012, which has proved to be an incredible success, along with a number of other propositions which we developed over the period.

In that moment I joined a fantastic and experienced team within Parmenion Investment Management (PIM) who helped show me the ropes and supported my journey through the CFA! 

I now look back at these moments with fond memories and think of the numerous relationships developed within Parmenion and with clients which I’m sure will last.