AltX Leadership Profile: Head Of Treasury And Risk

From the stock market crash of the late ‘80s to the Global Financial Crisis and now the pandemic, John Barry has seen his fair share of worldwide financial turmoil. It’s fair to say he knows what it takes to manage risk.
We asked John to share some of his insights from over 30 years working in wholesale banking – and what excites him about his new role with AltX.

 

Q. What do you like most about working in debt capital?

I like the challenge of working in a constantly changing and evolving environment. Staying ahead of the curve, because I’m curious by nature and I enjoy the quest for answers.
In structured financial markets there is so much scope for innovation and product development. At AltX, we have this fantastic asset in the platform, and a group of investors who are seeking new products and investment opportunities all the time. Satisfying those needs and doing it judiciously is exciting – and that’s why I joined the AltX team.

 

Q. How has the financial services industry changed over the last three decades – and where do you see it going in the future?

It has become far more sophisticated. From open banking to new Fintech challengers as well as digital giants like Amazon and Google entering the market, the digital layer is redefining financial services at a phenomenal speed.
The industry has leveraged technology to bring costs down, speed things up and create new opportunities. The AltX platform, for instance, can offer borrowers very fast turnaround from a borrower’s perspective while also giving investors greater transparency and control. It has also democratised access to what was originally a private club market – in the past, if you weren’t in the short-term private debt mortgages network, you didn’t see the opportunities. AltX has done a fantastic job in making the asset class available to a wider universe of investors.

I think digital innovations will only gain further momentum in the next 10 years. Reforms have also changed over the years, particularly since the GFC. It’s important the regulators calibrate this carefully. If you go too far in one direction, you get unintended consequences. We don’t want to disadvantage the next generation of homebuyers because our home loan standards are too rigorous.

What will be interesting to follow in the next couple of years is how open banking impacts the market. It is going to give a lot of smaller lenders access to the credit expertise of big banks. And with plenty of capital, resources and smart talent, fintech players are going to compete very hard for customers. Big lenders will need to keep an eye on that.

 

Q. Having worked through some really challenging times, including the GFC and the pandemic, what has been your biggest learning so far?

In 2007, just as the GFC began, I took up a role as Head of Securitisation at NAB. Helping the institution manage and address the challenges over the next year or so was one of the most testing times in my career – and it was also when I learned the most.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned is the importance of protecting the balance sheet and managing liquidity. Making sure you have buffers in place, so if the tide turns and the clouds descend you can get through a period of stress.

The collapse of the Lehman Brothers is a great example. When they most needed that backup liquidity to draw upon, it wasn’t there. If you haven’t got liquidity, it doesn’t matter how strong a player you are – you are potentially vulnerable to a downturn.

So from a treasury standpoint, you need to manage liquidity and ensure that you capitalise on your investments and have a buffer to protect against the downside. That’s partly what I’m looking to do at AltX.

 

Q. As the Head of Treasury and Risk, how will you help AltX grow over the coming years?

I’m here to champion our risk culture, ensuring good risk management is embedded across the business. As a partner in KPMG’s debt advisory practice, I was across the risk management frameworks and culture within some of Australia’s leading companies. This gives me a unique perspective at AltX. My role is to oversee risk and policy execution – helping the business operate according to best practice, and manage various stakeholders from a risk standpoint.

From a treasury point of view my role includes capital funding and liquidity risk management as well as diversifying our funding. Just as diversification is important to our investors, it’s crucial for us too. A lot of AltX’s funding comes through the two-sided marketplace we’ve built, but we also have our own balance sheet. Funding diversification, including warehouse funding and securitisation, will be central to the next phase of our growth.

Having seen a lot of ups and downs in the market firsthand, I’ve developed patience and learned ways to build resilience while drawing on my intuition and judgement. Hopefully, this experience, along with the strategic relationships I have built up, can help AltX grow sustainably in the future. 

 

About AltX

AltX (www.altx.com.au) is a market-leading alternative investment platform. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Sydney, AltX provides bespoke access to alternative income-generating products which have traditionally been inaccessible to individual investors.  AltX has funded in excess of $2.5bn of transactions since inception with zero loss of investor capital.

 

Learn More

www.altx.com.au/investments 
Level 21, 10 Grafton Street
Bondi Junction, NSW, 2022
Phone: 1300 991 380
Email: marketing@altx.com.au 

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