After reading ancient and modern Greek at the University of Oxford, Jon Macintosh worked for investment firm Schroders before taking a 90% pay cut to start his own investment management firm, Saltus, in 2004. Saltus Financial Planning was launched in 2015 and now has assets. under management of £ 1.7 billion.
He lives with his family in Northamptonshire.
What set you on the path to success?
I would say it all started when I was fired from Schroder Investment Management and then rehired by Schroder’s Eastern European Investment Bank privatization team.
In 1993, I was sent to Budapest to help design their mass privatization program. It really opened my eyes. I realized that creativity shouldn’t be limited to the arts, and that smart capitalism can transform lives, and that was my motivation to found Saltus.
Did you have a hero when you were younger?
Do you have one now?
Yes – my hero is a man called Donald Cameron. He was Senior Director of Schroders in the 1990s.
He was crippled with multiple sclerosis at a young age, but he never complained or let it get in the way of his interest in others, his charm or his positivity.
This is also the person who took a chance with me and got the bank to rehire me after the investment management department gave up my services. The easiest response would have been to say goodbye to me softly, but he put himself in danger for me, and I’ll never forget him.
Are you easily bored?
Yes! Very, so I need to keep myself busy, and one of the ways I like to do that is through charity work. I guess it’s a form of enlightened self-interest, both personally and for the business. Being in a position where we are able to support those who need our help gives us all meaning and purpose.
At Saltus we have a charity committee and are in the process of selecting the charity that we will support over the next few years – previously we have supported Back Up, Headway and Child Rescue Nepal.
Our charity committee has fostered a real sense of community within Saltus and is at the heart of our culture. We enjoy all the team building days and weekends where we fundraise for the charity we have chosen. Plus, being able to raise valuable funds and make a real difference to those charities support aligns with our “why” of making people’s lives better.
Who do you admire in business and in life in general?
I really admire people who, whether in their professional or personal life, always have a positive attitude. I think it’s amazing that some people can always look on the bright side, and when they have a setback they don’t linger in it, they get up, dust themselves off and go back, even though it’s stupid can appear to others.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Inclusive and straightforward.
What are your ambitions?
Merging the best pieces of technology and people to improve the lives of our clients and have a fantastic culture that everyone is proud to work for.
Do you believe in luck?
Yes, but you are making your own through hard work, optimism, and self-confidence.
What qualities do you look for in your colleagues?
Bright, pleasant and efficient. I’m not interested in having the brightest people work for me if they’re not fun to be around.
Micro-manage or big picture?
A bit of both, but as the business grows I have to take my sticky fingers out of the details and instead find and develop the talent to do a better job than I’ve ever been able to do.
I think the key to good management is recognizing that you can’t do everything and surrounding yourself with brilliant people who can fill those gaps.
Do you think the company is valued by society?
Yes, certainly those who hold their heads up and have a purpose beyond making money.
I think people these days – especially the younger generations – want to work for companies that have a clear purpose and feel proud to work there. Merely “making a profit” will no longer suffice. People want to feel passionate about what they do, they want to feel like they are part of something that matters, where they are treated well and with respect, and that they are recognized for the value they bring.
Companies that can do this will be more valued by society and ultimately be more successful.
How do you think business will change from 2021?
For Saltus: people will start to recognize our name, and technology will revolutionize the way we operate. We will use technology smartly, making sure people have more time to do what only people are good at, and let computers do the rest.
For wealth management: Rapid consolidation will go through a few phases and lead to large-scale creative destruction where new ideas and new ways of doing things transform people’s relationship with their money.
For the industry in general: we will come back to the Covid-19 epidemic and see that, among all the bad ones, it has brought about some practices that I hope are here to stay, such as trusting our colleagues more and realize how much time and energy we can save without staying in traffic jams.
How would you like like business to change from 2021?
All the foregoing!
Here is a magic wand – what are you going to do?
I will improve myself to extinguish. I have to spend more time not thinking about work.
What is your favorite time of day?
Early morning in summer.
I don’t know for sure, but what I do know is that I love the journey we’re on – it’s exciting not knowing exactly where it will take us.