Tenn questions with Nick Diligent

  • CFO


Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m from Guernsey, but I haven’t always lived here. I moved away in my twenties and took a bit of a different career trajectory, at a time when some of my friends were maybe settling down into their jobs a bit more. I don’t regret it for a second: I am happy that I spent my twenties having those experiences in different roles – I wasn’t ready to focus on my career the way I was when I came back to Guernsey in my 30s. I lived in London and Portsmouth and did lots of fun jobs that had absolutely nothing to do with accounting! I worked for the council and did voluntary work, which I really enjoyed.

I came back to Guernsey to visit family and friends about 15 years ago and realised that if I ever wanted to have a property here, it would be difficult if I didn’t live on the island. I had the benefit of being a bit older and in a different place in my life, and I was ready to come back, so I did.

Tell us about your career so far.

When I came back to Guernsey, I worked with Northern Trust for about five years, and they supported me to do an accountancy degree while I was working. It’s a great qualification to have. I’m not sure I’d have wanted to do it earlier but having the opportunity to do it while I was working and supported by my employer was great and was a fit in terms of my focus and priorities at that time.

After that, I moved to Investec, and later to GLI Finance and Amberton Asset Management where I met Matt.

What three words describe you best?

Positive. Caring. Imaginative.

What do you see next in the lending industry?

It’s always hard to say – so much can change! At a macroeconomic level, there are lots of things going on in the world right now that will affect the lending industry.

More generally, though, as things evolve and change, there are always positive and negative knock-on effects, and in any business or industry, you either need to take advantage of those things or ride them out as best you can. I think looking forward, if things remain turbulent, lenders will need to be adaptable and look at things differently, or else they will struggle.

You can’t really plan for a lot in the lending industry, which is why good foundations in a company are so necessary. It sounds like a simple thing, but you have to know your principles to be able to stick to them, especially in turbulent times. That starts with knowing what you stand for and having a solid base in how you work, how you serve your clients, your processes and your approach to lending. I think doubling down on your purpose is important in times of change; otherwise, it’s easy to find you’re not where you wanted to be or serving your clients the way you wanted.

What are you motivated by?

It’s a little bit cliched, but I’m motivated by doing a job well. I’m always asking myself, ‘Ok, how can we do this thing better? Is there any way we can improve this process?’ In Tenn’s set-up phase, we spent a lot of time putting the basics into place, and even though that’s now all done, it doesn’t mean I’m ready to go on autopilot.

I’m organised by nature, and I don’t like hypothetical clutter – I want everything streamlined and to keep improving processes, over time it gets easier to see where things can be made better or faster. Even though we now have everything we need in place in terms of infrastructure and processes, we’ll keep reviewing and refining as we go.

Tell us about what you enjoy most in your role?

Working with the team is great. I started a new role at a new company in the middle of a pandemic and getting up and running from scratch has been an adventure, to say the least! But it’s been a great experience that I’ve enjoyed. As a small team, I’ve been able to do a little bit of everything, and I have a broader role than I would if I worked in a larger business. You get to make your mark in a small team like ours. There’s also lots of space to share ideas and opinions in an open way, which is great.

What do you do in your spare time?

We have a dog, so I love walking her and being outside. Guernsey is beautiful, so I love taking cliff walks or just spending time on the beach taking in the scenery. I also like travelling, and I get to the gym whenever I can.

Tell us about a hobby or passion

I enjoy reading, and I love buying beautiful books. Anything sci-fi or fantasy is right up my street, and I like getting into the story and disappearing from the world for a while! I’m also a bit of a foodie, and I love eating out.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?

Don’t worry about stuff and try and go with the flow. It’s so easy to get tied up in all the things you think you need to do or think you should be doing when you’re young, and it takes so much energy and time away from doing what might bring you joy. So, I’d say try not to stress about anything too much – things have a funny way of working out exactly the way they should.

What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

I probably haven’t been daring enough, to be honest! But maybe that’s something I’d say instead to anyone starting out in their career: be bold and pursue things that feel daring, especially if they’re related to your interests or career.

Especially in a place like Guernsey, where there’s a kind of dominant industry like finance, it can be easy to think you need to do something in that space because everyone else is, even if maybe your passions are elsewhere. If that’s the case, maybe try what you’re interested in and see if you like it and want to pursue it. You aren’t forced to continue if you find it’s not for you, but at least you won’t look back and wonder ‘what if.’ Trust your gut, and don’t overthink it.