Meet the MD: Colin Lawson, Equilibrium Asset Management

Meet the MD: Colin Lawson, Equilibrium Asset Management

Colin leapt into the world of entrepreneurialism at the tender age of 25, setting up the firm which has now become Cheshire's Equilibrium Asset Management which employs 60. He takes us through his six qualities of a good leader, and preaches the virtues of driving his Ariel Atom really, really fast!

Describe your role in no more than 100 words

Firstly I am head of blue-sky thinking! It’s a great role where you get to dream about what the future could look like if there was nothing to get in your way. Then I sit down with the team and talk about how we can make these plans happen.

In the here and now, I also ensure that our advisers are the best they can possibly be, which is a big part of my day to day involvement in the business.

Finally I drive our client communications, be that written documents or content for our seminars and events.

What is it the company does?

Equilibrium provides investment advice, financial planning and inheritance tax mitigation strategies on behalf of 850 families who have entrusted us to manage over £500m of their hard-earned assets.

Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

I started work as a 16 year old on the youth training scheme at the Automobile Association where I also got my first job in motor insurance claims. I then switched to a life and pensions administrator role at Aviva, progressed to be a broker consultant and then leapt into setting up my own firm, the first incarnation of Equilibrium, which was called Applewood, at the age of 25.

What do you believe makes a great leader?

In no particular order;

  • Vision
  • Enthusiasm
  • Charisma
  • Common sense
  • Emotional intelligence
  • A strong moral compass
    • What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

      Financially, when we switched from commission to fees in the middle of the credit crunch. Generally, finding the right people at the right time - recruitment is a constant challenge.

      How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

      I take a healthy amount of holidays to reset the mind and recharge the batteries. I also regularly drive my Ariel Atom as fast as I can at a local race track - you can’t think about anything else or you will crash!

      When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

      A builder - because I loved Lego.

      Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?

      Negative people who can’t accept personal responsibility for anything that ever happens to them. We try to avoid hiring them in the first place, but if we do, they tend to leave pretty quickly.

      Where do you see the company in five years’ time?

      Our plan is to roughly double in size without moving into new locations. We have a fantastic team and the aim is for them to thrive and grow at the same rate as the business itself.

      What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

      1. It’s going to be tough but stick with it - it’s worth it!
      2. Ensure that you have enough cash to get you to profitability – better to borrow too much than too little.
      3. Have a clear vision of where you want to be and make constant never-ending course corrections to get you there.
      4. Set clear goals – for 3 years’, 1 year and 90 days and commit to achieving them.
      5. Have fun!  If you are having fun the rest is easy.
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