(Pictured: Tom Hancock)
Tom Hancock, who thinks of himself as the financial services industry’s first “career recruiter” has shut down his business, Thomas Hancock & Associates, and embarked on a new career in real estate.
Hancock has sold his smart office space in Sydney’s Macquarie Street and informed clients he was getting out of the industry he joined straight from university in 1978. He has joined a boutique real estate firm, Vernon Partners, in the equally as smart Sydney suburb of Mosman. He was scheduled to do his first open house last Saturday and remarked that Saturdays would no longer be devoted solely to his children’s sport.
Hancock started Thomas Hancock & Associates in 1990 after working for two recruitment firms in Sydney and London.
“I had just done a Sydney to Hobart race, in 1989, on a 30-foot yacht, which is the smallest allowed,” he said. “I was thinking if I could survive that then I should be able to survive in a small business of my own. It was a pretty rough crossing that year.”
He remains a keen sailor, with his own yacht, but said he wanted a change, especially given the changing nature of the financial services industry since the global financial crisis.
“This is very exciting for me,” he said. “People want houses now, but unfortunately in the past few years, at least, people don’t seem to want people much any more. Business has been difficult.”
Initially specializing in corporate banking, Thomas Hancock & Associates branched out to encompass broader funds management and asset servicing, concentrating on senior and middle-management roles. Big clients included Commonwealth Super, PIMCO, QIC, Bank of New York, State Street, Vanguard, Wellington and ANZ’s custody arm (now with JP Morgan).
After tens of thousands of recruitment interviews and being involved in or watching many careers develop or founder, he has some pointers for career success. The two most important ingredients, which he believes he can take into his new job, are integrity and people skills.
“Successful people are normally intelligent but they also have an ability to relate to people. That’s a key thing. This may sound funny, given all the jokes about them, but some of the best people I’ve seen are actuaries. The really dangerous ones also have a personality.”
At the other end of the spectrum, he says, some people don’t realize that they can’t treat people poorly. “When you go to see a recruiter the first interview starts with the receptionist. I always expected my secretary to give me an early reaction to a candidate.”