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New Head of Investment Research excited about Findex Culture, vision

Recently appointed Head of Investment Research, Dr Stefano Cavaglia has expressed his eagerness to begin working as a key member of the Findex Group. Sharing the same inherent values towards 'best of breed' services and compliant practices, Dr Cavaglia talks through his vision for the Group in an insightful yet personal Q&A with Industry Moves.

The Findex Group has appointed Dr Stefano Cavaglia as its head of investment research, responsible for providing research across all of its Findex brands, including Financial Index Wealth accountants and Centric Wealth. Dr Cavaglia has over 20 years’ experience in investment management with roles across Australia, North America, and Europe. He was most recently the portfolio manager at Philo Capital and has also worked at MLC Investment Management as a portfolio manager for alternative investments.

In a Q&A that covers topics as diverse as the Nobel Peace Prize, gardening, the Czech invasion of 1968, J.D. Rockefeller, and a desire to "pulverizzze" competitors, Dr Stefano Cavaglia talks to Industry Moves.

Industry Moves Q&A with Stefano Cavaglia 

What are you most looking forward to in the new role?
Findex is a firm that has great values and a culture that echoes my character: They want to innovate and they are not ashamed to say they want to best in class. They promote a congenial, professional, and compliance conscious work environment. The employees are proud to be there, and we like to say 'we hire people who want to be successful and we help them be successful'.

I look forward to helping build a firm that will bring state of the art products and solutions to "Joe Taxi Driver". We want to build excellence to serve Joe at all levels and help him meet his family's financial objectives. In so doing I personally hope we can pulverizzze our competitors who are for my taste too complacent.

What are your biggest goals for the first 12 months?
We need to integrate the asset allocation framework and the fund of funds portfolios across all organisations – Centric Wealth, Findex, and Crowe Howarth. Additionally I want to make sure the systems that will support client portfolios are of hedge fund standards - namely second to none in efficiency and robust to any Tsunami.

We also want to leverage our in-house IP and knowledge of the hedge fund world. We will initiate a hedge fund program that will be brought to market over a number of stages.
I think all this is a tall order but our hearts and souls are committed and that makes us fearless. Moreover, that means our footprint will be eternal.

Having worked in international roles, do you find cultural differences a significant factor in your leadership style for different regions?
I embrace diversity and all it brings - the key here is respect. My French elementary school education was essential in teaching me respect for my fellow human beings first and foremost. Respecting what any one person brings to the table - no matter how different - is for me the best way to start engaging.

What is one of the best pieces of advice you've ever been given?
Every minute counts .....

My father was the CFO of Unicef. When I was 7 they were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. 

There were many "celebrations" for this event.... we travelled to Dublin and my father took me to one of their rep offices. There was large display window and a big clock. He stood me there; together and in silence we watched a minute tick by; at the end he told me that for every minute that goes by a child dies of diarrhoea or malaria and that Unicef was trying to stop this

I have never forgotten the clock .... and in many ways I have tried to live by it and honour it with my particular skills.

What was your very first job?
I was 13 and I was the gardener of Mrs Benson - the maid of J.D. Rockefeller in NY. I earned $2 (total) for 8 hours of work .... but I was the one who became “rich”.

Do you have a secret skill/hidden talent?
Gardening and Landscaping has taught me how to deal with life's most heart wrenching issues, I started a book when I was 22 .... it's about all the secrets you learn working the soil and how this can help you understanding so many stages of one's life.

It's clearly not the type of stuff that would meet the standards of the Journal of Finance, so I keep it tucked away.

Is there a particular charity or cause that you support?
I learned statistics when I was 15. My teacher was Pavel Litvinov a Russian dissident who had spent time in Siberia for have protested on Red Square during the Czech invasion of 1968. He introduced me toAmnesty International; their work is outstanding.

Over the years I have enjoyed working as a volunteer for orchestras in Paris, Boston, and Chicago. Musicians are often too busy with the lyrics. So someone with organisational skills can really help them out (www.bostonphil.org)

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