If I had to start again: Keith Jones

Morley Fund Management's former chief exec has spent his life in finance. But as he reveals here, his career could have panned out very differently...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I could have been a ski instructor or run a chalet business. I turned down my first chance of a ski trip in 1975, shortly after I left Oxford, and didn't end up going until three years later.

I was hooked, but by then my City career was already under way. If I'd gone earlier I may have thought 'sod it', gone off skiing, and not got into any of this. Twenty-twenty rear vision is a great thing.

Still, I'm delighted to have done what I've done. The business is in great shape, and there's loads of other exciting stuff going on in the City that I'd now like to get involved in - entrepreneurial stuff with hedge funds, private equity and management boutiques.

People say they knew their career path, but that's bollocks; there's an awful lot of luck involved. I was born on a council estate in Merseyside, and was lucky to go to a state primary school where the headmaster looked out for the bright kids. That got me into a direct-grant grammar school, and then on to Oxford.

I had no intention of going into the City. I started out working for the government as an economist, but I got pissed off with the bureaucracy. I was hauled in front of the permanent secretary for writing a piece of research against departmental policy on tax. I was 23 at the time and thought 'sod this for a game of soldiers'. I ended up following mates into the City and working for James Capel, the brokerage house.

I'm probably more suited to that - the sell side - than the investment management role I ended up in. I prefer the thrill of the chase and the closure of the deal. But I was offered a tremendous opportunity in investment management and took it. So my career wasn't by design: I had an area of interest, and luck buffeted me around within that. Mine has been a tremendous job, a great intellectually stimulating challenge; now I can do the things I've been missing out on.

ยท Keith Jones retired as CEO of Morley Fund Management at the end of 2006.

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