Strategic Asset Managers is a chartered firm of Independent Financial Advisers founded in 2001 by Derek Stewart. Strategic Asset Managers exists to manage individuals wealth, helping them to attain their aspirations whether in business or in life.
Having been in financial services for 37 years, Derek’s main challenge was knowing where to air new ideas, particularly without alarming his board of directors. “I have an excellent board that I work with but sometimes, you need an external view. Before introducing a new idea or concept to my board, it helps to have run it past my Vistage Chair or group. This way I know how others may see it and can help frame the idea in a way that is aligned with the future direction of the business.”
Having been introduced to Vistage by Chair, Laura Gordon; Derek quickly found his Vistage peer-to-peer group to be invaluable, sharing thoughts and ideas with other business leaders looking in from the outside. “I was surprised by how open and trusting people were. That gave me a lot of confidence to discuss anything, getting input from other people without fear of sensitive information leaking into the marketplace.”
The dynamic within Derek’s group is lively, representing a wide breadth of backgrounds and experiences. The one-to-one sessions with Laura also allow a level of accountability, not possible with an executive board. “My Chair, Laura Gordon is always on the lookout for me, knowing the business as she does, helping me achieve my goals.”
The speaker sessions within his Vistage group meetings, provide new knowledge to help Derek run his business better. “I enjoy the external speakers coming in to a meeting and the learning that I take away from that.”
Having doubled the size of the business in the past 2 years, partly by setting up a subsidiary company called SAM Wealth, Derek identifies Vistage as a key element in maintaining business growth.
As well as running Strategic Asset Managers, Derek has also been involved in talks regarding the purchase of another business. At times, this process was immensely frustrating and in the end, the insight of his Vistage group helped Derek to walk away from the negotiating table, a result he describes now as positive.
In a recent group meeting Derek discussed an issue he was having with expansion and the group gave him some ideas he’d not considered before. “It does help that other group members aren’t in the same line of business. This means they come at it from a different place but as business owners, they are also good at assessing the risks in such a move.