Name: John Hunter
Company role: Managing Director, Isle of Man
Favourite saying/quote: ‘’A brand is no longer what we tell the customer it is ― it is what customers tell each other it is.’’
Hi, John – thanks for finding the time to speak with us. First of all, we’d love to know a more about your background and professional experiences – can you share a bit about your career to date?
Well, I moved to the Isle of Man in 2007 after previously working in London, Cambridge, Bristol and Guernsey. During an extensive banking career, I set up a successful HNW private client business for a major bank in Knightsbridge, developed a private banking business in the West Country, and formed and developed a significant private equity desk for a bank offshore. During my career to date, I have gained extensive experience within the fiduciary and insurance sectors, as well as holding directorships on various subsidiary businesses for banks and an offshore funds business. I also hold the diploma in company direction from the Institute of Directors. On a more personal note, I have four grandchildren born in the Isle of Man and this is the longest I have ever lived in one place. Speaks volumes about how amazing the island is!
What drew you to Cherry Godfrey?
The Cherry Godfrey Group is a really good business across a number of jurisdictions. However, at present it does not have the profile it should in the Isle of Man - which is why I am relishing the challenge of making Cherry Godfrey more of a household name. Many people do not realise it is a local business with local people; nor that it was specifically set up to provide Island products to Island residents. It provides a one-stop shop for loans, mortgages and insurance with a strong focus on looking after customers and putting them first.
How does Cherry Godfrey compare to other companies you have worked at?
It is probably the smallest business I have ever worked for - and there are so many advantages to that. It provides amazing scope for the company to ensure customer service is not only personal but also allows us to act in a very commercial manner in our decision-making process. In addition, there is an ability to reach decisions quickly, and (where required) be flexible – something that can be more difficult for larger organisations.
What does your day-to-day role consist of?
No two days are really the same, but my priority is to look after and support the great team of people we have working in the business in the Isle of Man. At the moment, a lot of my time is spent supporting the team on lending transactions (I am informed we have never been busier!). Indeed, August was a record month for us in lending in the Isle of Man.
What is your vision for Cherry Godfrey Isle of Man as Managing Director?
To make Cherry Godfrey Isle of Man a great place in which to work - which, in turn, ensures a really successful business. That, of course, sounds simpler than it is. Equally, the team and I will be striving to make sure that people know we are an Isle of Man business - local staff looking after local customers!
That’s inspiring – thank you for sharing. To change tack slightly, what has presented the biggest challenge to you so far (within this role)?
I have to say there have been no real challenges so far and, from what I have seen, we have a great business in the Isle of Man and long may that continue. If I had to select one, it would go back to the task of ensuring Cherry Godfrey is seen as the local business it is - for what it can provide and how good our personal approach is.
What about the most enjoyable aspect?
It’s two-fold, really, as it is great to see our customers receive the financial services support they need, both personally and as businesses. I’ve been so heartened to see what a great team I have inherited and to get to know exactly what they are capable of!
Thanks, John. Now onto something a little more philosophical (and fun!): if you had to offer guidance to someone, what’s the best piece of business advice you could give them?
I have always stressed that you should pick your business partners - such as lenders and insurers - carefully. We are all too familiar with that old adage about lenders taking away the umbrella when it is raining. Picking the right partner to support your business is, in the current (disruptive) climate, even more important: working with a financial services business that sees its role to support its customers through good times and bad (although hopefully not too many of the latter!). Likewise, the lowest-cost product provider may not offer your business support when you really need it – so, where you seek to use a financial services business, be sure to choose carefully.
Great advice! And, finally: what are your hobbies outside of work?
I have a real passion for the outdoors, especially wildlife, so the Isle of Man is ideal. I am also a Trustee of the Manx Wildlife Trust so like to support them as much as I can in my free time. Whilst not a ‘lycra’ man, I do enjoy being out on the bike where you really can connect with nature. And, of course, I very much enjoy travelling: so, when we can start to get back to some form of ‘normality’, I’ll be planning my next trip!