30 April 2024

Spotlight Series- Matt Duncan

Talk us through your career to date

I studied Finance at The University of Aberdeen before going on to do a Masters in Finance and Investment Management. Following a talk one of Carbon’s founders, Barry O’Neill, gave to my class, I contacted Carbon and have now been here for almost 11 years. I have spent time in various roles within the business and am currently an Associate Director.

Tell us about your role and Carbon and why you wanted to work for the business?

Initially, I wanted to work for Carbon because the way in which we invest our client money (and the way in which I invest my own) is based upon the Nobel Prize-winning research I spent my University years studying. This remains the case and is part of the reason I have been at Carbon for over a decade. In addition to that, the focus the business has on encouraging our clients to spend and take pleasure in their money, as well as the relationships I have with my colleagues, are the main reasons I continue to enjoy working for Carbon.

My current role primarily involves looking after my existing clients, as well as taking on new clients, predominantly business owners in the Edinburgh area.

I also spend time coaching some of my colleagues and bringing new tech solutions into the business.

What is it about your role that excites and inspires you?

I am extremely fortunate to be a Financial Planner. Our advice leads to people living happier, more content lives so it is extremely rewarding.

I love hearing how our clients have reached the point in life they are currently at. Everyone’s story is different. I find myself learning from our clients every week and love spending time with them – client meetings are definitely the most rewarding part of the job.

From your perspective, what are the key financial issues to be aware of over the next 10 year(s)?

We don’t have a crystal ball so must accept that we do not know what the key issues over the coming years are going to be. Regardless of what is going on in the world, there are some decisions that if you get them right, your future self will be grateful. Five examples below:

  1. Keep a modest amount in cash and have everything else in an appropriate investment portfolio.
  2. If you are contributing to an investment portfolio, have a diary entry every six months that prompts you to increase the monthly contribution.
  3. Check how your work pension is invested. Often these are in default investments that could cost you five or even six-figures in missed investment returns.
  4. Make yourself financially independent of your business by directing business profits to your private pension pot.
  5. Do not be fooled into thinking, “this time it’s different.” Stock markets will continue to fall in value every x years, however, they will also continue to recover.

What is the most important piece of advice you give to your clients?

  1. On the investment front, keep things simple!
  2. Have a Financial Plan. Every single family should have one, regardless of circumstances.
  3. Know your number. What do you need to sell your business for, to allow you to enjoy the rest of your life?

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