Geoff Wilson is a noted figure in the Australian Finance industry, he’s the founder and chairman of Wilson Asset Management. In the last year Geoff was named an officer in the general division of the Order of Australia for services to the business and finance sector, professional financial bodies and the community as a supporter of charitable foundations.
I never grew up knowing anything about finance, the stock market, investment - it just wasn’t around me. It was only later in life that I started to meet people who actually knew what all the little numbers and charts in the stock exchange mean. It was only later still that I started to realise that these were jobs that people had, that they worked their way up to, that they could make careers out of.
And Geoff is one of those people.
I wanted to talk to him because I was fascinated by not only his career path and how a life in the finance world can build into an incredible career - but also because of how he and I met.
Geoff is the founder of a number of managed funds - we will get into the terminology in the chat - but two of the funds particularly, Future Generations and Future Generations Global, are ways for investors to not only see a return but also give back to the community.
As Geoff explains - the way fund managers get paid is usually a percentage of the fund and a performance bonus.
So Geoff created the Future Generation Investment company and the Future Generation Global Investment Company model as a way for the funds management and finance industry to make a significant and ongoing impact to the community.
How it works is that The Future Generation fund managers do not charge management or performance fees, allowing the companies to donate 1% of assets to the supported charities each year.
What that does is provide an ongoing source of funding for Australian charities, with a focus on children at risk (Future Generation Investment Company supports 14 charities) and youth mental health (Future Generation Global supports 8 charities including SANE Australia, which is where I met Geoff).
Listening to Geoff’s story and how he built a career in an industry that I knew little about was fascinating to me. But then hearing how he was affected by time spent working as a Lifeline counsellor - that was truly the most incredible part of this conversation.
He’s clearly a very successful man, he’s worked very hard to get where he is today - and yet he still found time on a weekday morning at 9am to come over to my apartment to talk about his career, his work, and why he does what he does.