We continue our series getting to know the constituents of 2021 PAM 50 Most Influential, an annual list of those at the forefront of shaping private client wealth management in the UK and Crown Dependencies.
Today we hear from James Lawson, partner at Tribe Impact Capital.
Mr Lawson is one of the main brains behind industry disruptor Tribe Impact Capital, where the motto is “a new wealth order”.
Tribe was a PAM Awards finalist in 2020, and its business continued to grow as clients focused more on the meaning of their money. This resulted in Tribe hiring a trio of new wealth managers.
Mr Lawson works with clients and is also responsible for business development, thought leadership and operational excellence.
He helps clients to get the financial returns they need, using the values they care about, which is particularly topical given the industry’s increasing focus on ESG.
Mr Lawson has over 18 years’ experience in wealth management and entrepreneurship, having started as an associate director at UBS Wealth Management where he looked after private clients.
What team or personal achievement over the past year are you most proud of?
In the past year the team at Tribe has grown by over 50 percent. In an environment that’s never been tougher to attract, nurture and grow great talent, I’m immensely proud of the people we’ve gathered together.
And for them to have worked so hard together during a global pandemic, with restricted movement and health concerns, is really inspiring.
What do you find most rewarding about your role?
If you want to do something different, you have to have a clear and convincing purpose, vision and strategy. Then you need to do the hard work of persuading others to come along with you on the journey.
It’s incredibly rewarding to see the progress from an acorn of an idea amongst the founding team six years ago, to the bright and diverse people who have joined Tribe both as team members and as clients.
What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Something along the lines of: If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. Knowing my younger self, I’d have nodded and then ignored me.
What most excites or interests you about the wealth management industry right now?
Taken at first glance, our sector is woefully behind others across so many disciplines. I think, as an industry, we’re playing catch-up across the spectrum: from values and communication, through technology and data, to culture and inclusiveness.
But there are pockets of activism, led by some great people wanting to make change happen. And whilst agitating for change was one of the founding principles at Tribe, I’m excited that we’re not alone on this journey.
If you couldn’t work in wealth management/private banking, what other career appeals?
I spent some time working as a photographic safari guide in Zimbabwe. My contract was extended a couple of times and they finally offered to cover the cost of my professional guide’s license, but I had to return to the UK due to a bursary commitment.
The work of a guide is much harder today due to the tragic damage that’s been inflicted on so many natural environments, but I’d be back out there before you could say Lilac-breasted Roller.
What was your student job?
I’ve had a number of casual roles, but my first proper payslip came from Salisbury’s Burger King. I ended up doing three stints there during secondary school (at £2.39 an hour it took quite a while to save up to afford my first car).
Do you have a pet? What’s (s)he like?
We’ve a few at home, though I seem to have ended up being responsible for the chickens. There’s currently an avian flu outbreak in the UK, which has meant all domestic birds across the country have had to be bio-secure and kept inside.
Ours haven’t been allowed out of their run since December. As a result, I’d describe them as generally entertaining but currently very fed-up.
Was there a particular guilty pleasure which helped you through lockdown?
I have laughed beyond tears during Tribe’s remote Friday drinks, which have included some brave fancy-dress cocktail-mixing, quizzes that put the HR department on edge, and jaw-dropping magic shows.