My career has been a series of professional evolutions:
I began studying and training to be a lawyer, graduating with honours from Manchester University in the UK.
One year off for travel after uni stretched into four years of work: first as a scuba diving instructor in the Red Sea; then as an underwater photographer on the oil rigs of the North and Java Seas; then I got into adventure travel promotion - involving photography, writing and public speaking, based in London.
When that became boring I got married and began studying to become a Chartered Accountant. On qualifying in the UK I joined Deloitte, and went to Central Africa for a couple of years, to work in audit and business services.
I then migrated to Australia, with my wife and 1.6 children, and settled in Perth. There I qualified as an arbitrator, helped to introduce mediation to Australia, and founded Deloitte’s first Litigation Support Division.
We were hugely successful and Deloittes transferred me to Melbourne to develop a national Forensic Accounting practice. I was lured into Ernst & Young’s Forensic Group, from which I extracted myself a year or so later to develop my own dispute resolution practice – I wanted to focus on resolving conflicts constructively, rather than fighting court battles on technicalities.
The motto of my new practice (“Dispute Solutions”) was: “cutting the costs of conflict”. Dispute Solutions still functions, mainly for commercial disputes, and that’s still what it does. That approach attracted a lot of business and professional partnerships … and business families – all of whom wanted their issues resolved, rather than fought out to the last drop of their funds.
Around the turn of the last century family businesses became louder and more visible. At the same time, arbitration and mediation were becoming increasingly “over-lawyered”, “overly-academic” and, as a result, severely “process-constricted”. Family business advisory – with its clear need for flexibly constructive solutions that didn’t burn or break anyone or anything through its own process – looked like my personal and professional Nirvana – so I adapted and evolved ... and became a family business solutionist.
Nearly 20 years later my work is morphing yet again: into training other professionals to become more highly skilled, and more trustworthy advisers to business families, and to their colleagues and other clients. This is why I launched FBI in 2016, after more than 5 years in development – to focus on training, mentoring and supporting those advisers who really care about being as good as they can be … for their own and for their clients’ sakes.
Law | LLB (hons) Manchester University (UK)
Accountancy | Chartered Accountant (UK and Australia); CPA (Australia).
Dispute Resolution | Arbitrator (Grade 1).
Advanced Mediator | (Resolution Institute and National Mediation Accreditation Standards).
Family Business | Fellow (FBI); Accredited Adviser (FBA)
Teaching | Post Grad Teaching Certificate, Exeter University (UK)
Scuba Diving | Professional Instructor (2 star)
Commercial Diving | Class 1 Commercial (oil rig) Diver (UK)