Meet the CEO
After 15 years in uniform, Joseph Darby was seeking a new challenge. He found it as the Chief Executive of Milestone Direct Limited, the preferred financial advice provider to an increasing number of organisations, including the New Zealand Defence Force.
While rising to the rank of Major in the Army, Joseph performed operational tours in Iraq, East Timor, the Sinai, and twice in Afghanistan. With only a few weeks between his last deployment and starting his current role, Joseph swapped body armour and Middle Eastern heat for a suit and an office-based role in Auckland, though he frequently travels up and down the country.
Joseph’s career change raised more than a few eyebrows among the financial services community, but he feels the change isn’t as dramatic as most people might expect. Joseph has found that being a CEO and an Army officer have a lot in common. “While in financial services there is plenty of technical information to learn, then apply, that aside, the demands placed on both roles are a lot more similar than you might first think. Some areas that are remarkably similar include people skills, the pursuit of excellence, managing competing demands, an ever-shifting competitive landscape driving innovation, expectations of continual improvement, high risks, adaptability, and, of course, leadership."
Research seems to support Joseph’s view. One study has even concluded that ex-military CEO’s performed better than their non-military counterparts, with firms led by ex-military CEO’s, on average, beating the S&P 500 index by three to 20 percent each year.
In addition to his leadership role, Joseph recently met the requirements to become an Authorised Financial Adviser (AFA). This proves he has worked hard to understand the regulation and practicalities of delivering a financial service. It also means that on a daily basis he assists clients seeking financial solutions. Joseph finds that helping others achieve their life goals and dreams is by far the most rewarding side of the industry, again drawing the comparison that it’s not so different to looking out for his soldiers’ interests during live operations overseas. Despite the rewards of this role, Milestone Direct is rapidly expanding and Joseph anticipates at least some of his duties as an AFA will take a back seat as the business takes on more staff to meet increased demand. “Rapid expansion, and having to find more high quality people, are good problems to have.”
To get in touch with Joseph or another AFA, or to find out how Milestone Direct can assist you, phone or send us a message.