Five Books Fund Administrators Should Read

Mar 1, 2021

Last week, Harmonate’s Kevin Walkup grabbed a chance to ask Reid Thomas of JTC Group’s NES Financial about books that inspire him. This came at the end of an intriguing discussion of impact investing and specialty financial administration. Check out the full webcast here.

We love finding out what fund administration and private capital leaders are reading.

Reid’s picks reached beyond finance. He stressed, for example, how fund administrators must have extremely close relationships with the funds they service. This is sometimes called Relational Leadership.

“We recognize that our clients succeed only if we’re in this together. Together we succeed,” Reid said. We thought that was powerful. So, here are influences that help shape Reid’s views on strategy and relationships.

Blink” by Malcom Gladwell topped his list. It’s a book about decision-making, particularly how great decisions can sometimes be made instantaneously yet nonetheless be the product of extremely complicated processes. Trusting one’s instinct is a central theme. But “Blink” also explores why we might be skeptical about gut feelings, too.

“When it’s hard to get access to data and process it…there are times when it’s probably appropriate to trust your intuition and other times when it’s probably not,” he said. “Trying to figure out when to identify with which is good.”

That’s an intriguing idea for us given our focus on the value driven from modern data operations.

Next was Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why.” In a YouTube video of Sinek’s TED talk, based on the book, he summarizes his theme by explaining how customers don’t buy products or services, they purchase the reason why those products and services have come about in the first place. Apple, for example, was once just another computer company. But it’s wildly successful “think different” marketing campaign 20 years ago portrayed the Apple user as a disruptor, a creative upstart to dominant PCs. Apple is a brand that is about its users, as much as the people that work there and their products.

Reid linked Sinek to “Good to Great,” the classic Jim Collins study of how to dramatically improve middling companies, and “Strategic Selling” by Robert Miller, Stephen Heiman and Tad Tuleja. Lastly, from his background in sales and marketing, Reid mentioned Roger Fisher and William Ury’s “Getting to Yes,” the definitive source on negotiating and resolving conflict. All three have stood the test of time as guides to the self-reflection, mindfulness and hard work necessary to lead great enterprises.

Reid takes the lessons from those books as opportunities to improve working relationships with clients and his team. It’s a superb example of how personal development translates into top-notch business acumen and in JTC Group’s relationship, and data-driven success.

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