John King is Head of Investor Relations at Montreux Capital Management (UK). He has been with the company for 4 years. John has spent over 7 years in the Alternative Investment industry, raising money for a diverse group of investment funds and strategies. His current role focusses on consolidating the UK healthcare industry.
Hi John, what are you working on today?
Today, and for most of the next two weeks, my team at Montreux Capital Management will focus on a key investor update piece which will be sent globally in the middle of December. As ever, this focus is interspersed with calls both with our underlying operating businesses, with colleagues, and investors. Of course, the pandemic has made this communication piece far more time consuming and inefficient but we have adapted well.
How did you get to where you are now?
I started my career as a Political Science grad at The Institute of Economic Affairs, my time there gave me the opportunity to think about how the world works and how my skill set fell within it. I liked ideas, I was good at communicating them. Thereafter, I joined Murano Connect a boutique cap-intro firm which was very tough but where I learnt an awful lot from my colleagues. I then went on as Associate Director of Apex Fund Service’s Cap Intro arm where I was hired by my client, Montreux Capital Management (UK). I have been with Montreux since January 2017 and in that time we have seen the AuM quintuple.
What attracted you to this business?
I liked ideas but unfortunately, Think Tanks don’t pay the best and I knew a key motivation for me was money. Seems a crude thing to say but it’s what motivates me, and how I gauge success in the workplace. My thinking was around how I could get paid for what I like doing, meeting new people and communicating ideas. I thought the best place for this was finance and I was fortunate enough to get a job in the industry after a short while.
What has been the most pivotal moment of your career so far?
Doubtless making the transition from politics to finance. So many of my friends ask me about how to break into the industry, as we all know, it remains very hard. From then on, working hard to achieve a track record you can stand behind is comparatively easy.
What aspect of our industry excites you the most?
I have a deeply engrained idea of the industry based on the films I would watch in my teens. It’s hard to admit it publicly but the Porsche driving, red brace wearing yuppy was an aspiration. Going from meeting to meeting in New York with a (albeit smaller) mobile strapped to my ear seemed everything I wanted to be. It’s hard work but my goodness, I can’t think of a better career.
What would you change?
As someone with some experience in this industry, most certainly the inefficiency of how investors find funds. It’s shocking we haven’t found an efficient solution. I have a product, an investor has a need for a product, it should all be very straight forward.
I temper that thought with the knowledge I wouldn’t have been given a break in the industry had asset raising been an efficient process, though.
What do you invest in personally?
Of course, a diverse pool of assets with only a 10% allocation to Alternatives… I’m afraid that isn’t true. My work in funds has spoiled my return expectations so I like things that are different. I always ask our investors what they are invested in and make modest investments in the most interesting of those funds where I can. My largest position is obviously in our Healthcare Fund, I always want that to be the case. If you are offering an investment you should have complete faith in it.
Investing for pleasure, that is investing in the joy something brings you rather than for financial gain, for me means watches. Latest is an IWC Portugieser ‘Zurich’, my favourite is the Rolex Zenith Daytona white face stainless steel. If I had more space, I am sure I would buy more cars. The E-Type has been coveted from childhood but recently had my head turned by the Ferrari Roma which is for my money the prettiest car since the DB9 and drives really well.
Where do you celebrate?
Long gone are the years I would celebrate with magnums of Veuve at the Mayfair Exchange, that underground pub on Brook St. So we don’t really celebrate other than to find a good place to drink Old Fashions and eat good food. Certainly the coolest place I have been is a speakeasy in a hidden room at the Marriot on Orchard Road in Singapore. When I first visited, the concierge at my hotel told me the secret knock and the door swung open to a bar that could only accommodate around 20 at max. They age their bourbons and whiskeys further in-house, bringing out flavours in the whiskey that are either under tasted or pushing forward a prominent note. I have a bottle of Maker’s Mark from there which has had extra time in virgin oak so tastes much more of vanilla and hence, is the perfect sipping bourbon. Of course, the place is now well known, you have to book and there is usually an obvious queue outside, takes away from the experience a bit.
Other than that, celebrations usually take place up high. Montreux Capital Management celebrated a very large deal in the nightclub at the top of Marina Bay Sands once, it was a great night. I’ll be the first to admit it is a cliché.
What is at the top of your bucket list right now?
Just going anywhere to a hotel away from the world would be such a break at the moment.
I have always wanted to do a road trip around The States. I’m a big fan of Californian red wine so a road trip around the vineyards there, especially Dry Creek Valley, would be top of the list.
Having watched Michael Palin’s Around the World in 80 Days several times since lock down, I find myself dreaming of replicating that. Perhaps the lockdown is taking its toll.
What does success mean to you?
I suppose success now is really viewed in the micro, its going from one deal to another and another, focusing all efforts on getting that across the line.
In life, at the moment it looks like completing the Prudential RideLondon Surrey 100 in less than 5 hours.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“Here’s how you sell a CTA fund in 30 seconds to secure the first meeting”
“Treat people well and be sincere, we are not selling double glazing, we are investing life savings or pensions or school funds”.
John King of Montreux Capital has been an AYU member since 2019. AYU is the digital private members club for alternative investment professionals. Join AYU today and connect with John by applying for membership here.
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