Full disclosure: Dylan Tomkins and David Friedlieb
When it comes to investing your money with a manager, it’s not always just the fund’s performance that causes an investor to stay. A trusting relationship is also key, as David Friedlieb – a retired business owner and Centuria investor – and Dylan Tomkins – Centuria’s Distribution Manager for NSW South and ACT – have discovered.
I’ve always been drawn to people’s stories. Maybe it’s my country upbringing, but I find people fascinating. Everyone has a story and it’s these stories that help form what type of investor you are.
I joined Centuria five years ago after taking a gap year to travel around England and Canada. It was the same time David was first exploring his options regarding investing with us. He was one of my first clients. Initially I was responsible for handling all the requirements and requests from our retail investors but over the past 12-18 months I’ve been looking after our adviser network. But he’s still my client and we keep in regular contact. He’s always keen to hear about any new opportunities that are coming up that may suit him.
Staying engaged and building relationships with our investors is really important to me. David had his own accountancy business in Wagga Wagga. He’s retired now but still has a few clients he does work for. I love going down there to visit him. We’ll usually have lunch and discuss the markets or how life in general is going for him. He’s a big Richmond AFL fan while I support the Sydney Swans so there’s always a bit of friendly rivalry between us during footy season.
Once David and his wife came up to Sydney and I invited him to Centuria’s head office. It was great to show him around and I think he appreciated seeing where all the action and decisions take place. It’s this personal service that I feel separates Centuria from our competitors.
I don’t take David’s loyalty for granted. I really appreciate he recognises the culture that John and Jason have put in place (Founders, Group CEO John McBain and Head of Real Estate and Funds Management Jason Huljich).
Centuria inspires loyalty from their investors through the culture John and Jason implemented when they first started the business 20 years ago. They haven’t forgotten it was the direct investors that were supporting their organisation in the beginning. So rather than forgetting them when they got big enough to go chasing larger clients, John and Jason have always been careful of maintaining and nurturing their relationships with their direct investors. So, for example, you are never going to get a call centre when you call us; it will always be someone that works for Centuria and knows the business inside out.
This was the culture at Centuria when I first applied to work for them. The people were extremely friendly, genuine and so helpful in the way they guided me at a time when I knew very little about the business. Even though the company has grown tremendously since that time, the people and culture has very much stayed the same.
David is a big one for developing strong relationships. As an accountant he understands the importance of trusting the people you deal with. Like me, he was born and bred in the country so he likes dealing with real people; he likes the personal touch. At the end of the day our investors are trusting us with their money and it’s a privilege to be given this responsibility.
I first heard about Centuria through a friend of mine. He was investing with them and getting good returns and I became interested in how they could help me as I was investigating several investing options at the time.
Just as I started investing with them, Dylan joined the company. So, you could say we’ve been on our separate Centuria journeys together, just from two different standpoints. He was one of the first Centuria representatives I met and we’ve maintained a strong relationship since.
I had a favourable impression of Dylan from day one. I was new to this type of investing so I was wary. When you’re handing your money over to someone else to manage, trust is critical. As an accountant I’ve heard some horror stories so I wasn’t going to dive blindly in. Initially I only invested small amounts as I wanted to get to know the company and to feel comfortable with them.
I liked their style from the outset. I feel they research their products really well and clearly outline where the risk and benefits are. Their reporting is also very clear and relevant. If there’s anything I don’t understand I know I can call Dylan. He usually knows the answer but if not, he gets back really quickly. When it’s your money you want your manager to be responsive and he is.
Having Dylan come to Wagga Wagga to visit me is a big plus in my view. We can be a bit cynical in the country and I like that he’s genuinely happy to come and see me here although I’m yet to convince him to switch footy teams.
When I was in Sydney recently, Dylan invited me to the office and we had lunch. He didn’t have to do that but it showed he’s interested in me and why I’m a Centuria investor. In fact, he’s always asking questions about what I’m interested in and what I feel I need from an investment point of view at my stage of life. He keeps me informed of any new opportunities that come up as well, which I appreciate.
I’m certainly pleased that I learned about Centuria when I did. The culture within the organisation is one that I feel comfortable with. They treat you like a person, not a number. You could say I’m an enthusiastic Centuria investor and part of that is the relationship I continue to have with Dylan.