Thompson Rivers University

Standing room only for second Business Kickstart

October 30, 2015


It was standing room only in the Mountain Room October 26, as nearly 200 students, staff and community members came out to hear Peter Antturi, President of Anglemont Financial Services Ltd..

Anglemont is an affiliate of Kattegat Limited, the investment office of a charitable trust established by the founder of Teekay Shipping Corporation. During his tenure with Teekay Corporation, one of the world’s largest oil shipping companies, Peter held a number of executive positions, including Controller from 1992 until his promotion to Chief Financial Officer in 1997, and President of Teekay Norway AS from 2003 to 2006.

Peter gave an engaging and informative talk. He began with his recollections of himself at 17, an athletic, straight A student from Summerland, packing his bags for UBC cockily sure he would find his studies in Commerce just as easy as high school. He quickly learned that at university all his classmates were smart, and many knew how to study as well. He admits struggling at times in university, taking a year off at one point to work for an uncle in the construction business in Iraq.

Five years after high school, Peter graduated with his UBC Bachelor of Commerce and did what everyone expected him to do and found a job with an accounting firm. Peter says, “I’ve hired a lot of accountants over my career, but admit I was a mediocre one myself”. His main goal in those early days was simply not to get fired.

In 1985 he made a decision which was to have a drastic impact on his entire life. He quit his accounting job to go travelling. He landed first in Toronto, where he was amazed at the hot job market. “In Toronto, RBC was hiring 100 MBA’s”. Peter answered a 2-line ad in a local newspaper for a job at a head office of a private shipping group, and was hired as a junior assistant.

“If you are ever struggling in your career, go to Toronto, New York, London or Hong Kong – places that have head offices – and your chances of using the fine education you are gaining at TRU will be much improved”, Peter advised students. “ In head office, even as a junior assistant, I was near all the decision makers, the top executives, treasurers, controllers, and I got to listen to people buying and selling companies.”

In 1990 Peter decided to move back to Vancouver. When he heard that a head office of a transportation company was moving to Vancouver, he took the initiative to make the call and offer his services, not waiting to see a job advertised.

Peter realized public speaking skills were vital to his advancement, so for two years he worked with executive public speaking coaches. “Never lose a chance to make a good impression,” he advised. Before one presentation to his Board of Directors, he practiced 5-6 times the night before in front of a mirror. He did such a good job, his Board offered him the position of Chief Financial Officer. Peter said, “You can turn just about any weakness into a strength”.

Antturi close up

Peter gave his perspective on the problems with “Wall Street”, which he defined as the group of people who allocate capital in a free market economy, found mainly in the financial centres of New York, London, and Hong Kong. In his opinion, the main problem with “Wall Street” is that the financial sector is incentivized to take short term risks, particularly since changes to Glass-Steagall legislation in the USA. Peter said Canadian legislation is better at protecting financial stability, and felt the USA would be wise to bring back Glass-Steagall. Peter highly recommended reading Michael Lewis’ “The Big Short” for an in-depth analysis.

There were several questions from the audience, including one about the role of women in the “male-dominated” world of Finance. Peter said, “I have enhanced my own career by hiring a lot of smart women. Countries where this isn’t a practice, such as Japan, have suffered for it. Women who are good at math and interested in the field should consider a career in finance.” Peter observed that since the 1990’s the field has grown more open to women, and less like a football locker room. Corporate finance is already seeing women represented at the top, but Peter suggested that prospects for women in this field are best in Canada and Northern Europe.

When asked what he would recommend as an investment, Peter gave no safe bets. He did mention that of their 2 billion portfolio Anglemont Financial keeps 25% liquid in cash earning next to no interest. The other 75% is invested globally in a diverse range of industries, including among others, Teekay offshore oil production and transportation, Camelbak Hydration Gear, Fox racing Shocks, and farming operations in South America and Europe. Peter stayed afterwards to network with students.

The next Business Kickstart event is being held Monday November 17 in the Barber Centre, Brown Family House of Learning at 4 pm. The guest speaker will be Tom Gaglardi, President of Northlands Property Association, owner of the Dallas Stars, Texas Stars and part owner of the Kamloops Blazers.

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