Rules don’t apply for deVere at the SCMP’s Game Changers event in Hong Kong

I’m just back to the Acuma Hong Kong office, located in the heart of the city’s financial district, after speaking at the South China Morning Post’s prestigious Game Changers event.

Game Changers is organised by the newspaper, Hong Kong’s largest and most influential English-language media outlet, to bring together high profile business leaders to share their visions and experiences to the cherry-picked delegates in attendance.

Other keynote speakers at the event held at the JW Marriott hotel were C-suite execs from the Chinese corporate mega giant, Ali Baba; the global delivery service, UPS; and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

I was interviewed by the SCMP’s Senior Editor, Yonden Lhatoo, in a section of the programme called ‘Rules Don’t Apply’. The theme of the interview was: “Sharings from a Visionary Entrepreneur: Changing The Rules of the Game to Achieve Entrepreneurial Success”.

During the on stage chat we discussed how and why I set up deVere, the challenges of the industry, what sets deVere apart from other advisory organisations, how I rise to challenges and deal with opportunities and what drives us in deVere to success.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing, which I like as I always want to be questioned. I’m very open, even on stage by an editor from the SCMP in front of delegates and cameras!

In fact, Mr Lhatoo started off by saying: “Thank you for joining us on stage, especially when you have previously had a run in with this newspaper when we published a negative story on deVere. I promise I won’t crucify you too much. But one quick Google and we see you get your fair share of very positive PR, but there is also some criticism too. How do you respond to this?”


I told him about how scrutiny is part of being a leader and the price of being high profile and successful. I went on to explain how we take any legitimate complaints from our 80,000 clients seriously and work swiftly for and with the client to resolve them.

I also said that the world has changed significantly in recent years due to social media, meaning that everyone with a smart phone is now a consumer journalist, meaning any issues are potentially in the public domain almost immediately.

It is important, I suggested, to have some perspective on such issues and not allow the negatives to distract you from your primary aim of helping clients achieve their long-term financial goals.

From there we went on to a highly controversial and topical subject; you guessed it, the Panama Papers. I gave a spirited defence of the international financial services industry to Mr Lhatoo, who was pressing me hard on the issue.

There will be a video online of the event very soon, so you can see for yourself how it all went.

It was a fun, successful, productive day. I would like to thank the South China Morning Post for inviting me, and to the delegates in the hall who made me and the whole team from Acuma Hong Kong so welcome.

Click here for my LinkedIn profile and Twitter account.



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