- Tech Insights
Craig Bingham is the CEO of Bennelong Funds Management, which develops and distributes actively managed equity funds for institutions, advisors, and direct investors.
Earlier in his career, Craig worked in institutional sales, which offered him a front-row seat to macro developments, often before others in the market. Each organization Craig has worked for taught him something about style, people, and culture—things he wanted to do and things he didn't. This encouraged him to consider how he'd like to manage people, which led to senior leadership and CEO responsibilities.
“To me, COVID was a creative challenge. There were no rules on how to care for people in this new environment. I trusted my team to do their tasks, so I didn't interfere. As CEO, I was responsible for their well-being. We attempted virtual tours, food deliveries, motivational speakers, and magic performances for youngsters. Most worked, others didn't, but staff still reminds me how much they valued the company's efforts to keep us connected when we couldn't be together physically.”
Craig aspires to continue self-reflecting and growing. He reminds himself to be kind and encourages his team to be the same: we can't always know everyone's trials. He is also exploring how businesses may do that without always worrying about the bottom line. Craig says innovators are individuals who attempt new things and learn from their errors. It is fun and vision that drive the future of the firm, no matter the hurdles.
“Bennelong is a people-focused business that cares about its clients, employees, and community. We respect open communication and inquiry to guide everything we do. I believe future businesses will be defined by their openness, willingness to try new things, and resilience, which benefits both personal and corporate development. Better knowing ourselves helps us better understand our clients' demands.”
Craig believes input from someone you trust, value, or admire is a gift, good or bad. Undisputedly, criticism's value comes in how it's offered and whether you're open to it. Negative criticism is only positive if you can set aside your ego and learn from it. When we resist accepting it, we struggle.
The simpler a leader's message is, the more buy-in they'll obtain. Craig advises being clear about your business's goals. Remove corporate jargon, present instances of achievement, and show how jobs relate to business goals. Craig is of the opinion that if you think you've mentioned something once and everyone understands, you’re in for a rude shock. Multiple techniques must be used to transmit information to a wide audience. Then quantify it, since measurement drives action. School teachers have known this for a long time. When you realize people process information differently, you realize one story doesn't fit all.
Understanding the client's problem or requirement is crucial to a long-term partnership. Once you accomplish that, you can decide if your answer is appropriate. The only way to comprehend changing client demands is to speak with them. Solving difficulties is essential to business and the industry as a whole. Instead of trying to sell them something they don't need, be brave enough to say "no." This shows why a company shouldn't strive to please everyone. Figure out what you do and do it well. If the client finds a better solution elsewhere, that's fine, says Craig.
“We're at a global industry inflection point,” professes Craig. “We've had low interest rates and inflation for 12 years, so many people haven't seen what's next. This reflects the age of our industry, with a wave of advisers departing and new ones entering with new ideas and methods. This, together with swirling geopolitical influences, is transforming the industry. Businesses and CEOs must be adaptable if things change quickly.”
Bennelong has 10 strategic collaborations with boutique investment managers, who are majority owners of their businesses and invest in their own funds, guaranteeing their aims are the same as their clients. Boutiques are empowered to make decisions with the backing and stability of Bennelong's partnership (which provides financial capital, corporate services, processes and systems). This lets them focus on money management.
Bennelong is part of the BFM Group, an investment company that partners with boutique asset managers across the globe investing in Australian, UK, Asian and global equities; listed global infrastructure and real estate; and global emerging markets. Outside Australia the Group operates as BennBridge, with a presence in the UK and US.