Leadership insight

Leadership growth stories: Nick Griffin, CIO Munro Partners


Insights and wisdom from Nick Griffin, CIO of global equities fund manager Munro Partners on his leadership growth journey. Griffin's story revolves around creating an environment where everyone's voice is heard, mistakes are owned, and learning from failures is prioritised. He acknowledges the challenges of balancing egos and maintaining humility in the pursuit of superior returns for investors and shares his own personal challenges in managing emotional tolls and setting boundaries to preserve his wellbeing.

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Any global equities investor knows it can be a nail-biting experience trying to find alpha and deliver superior returns to investors. When the world is your oyster, finding that pearl of an idea takes a team of great thinkers who can challenge each other through robust conversations based on sound analysis. Balancing conviction with humility is key.

If you’re a CIO or PM of an active manager, you know that’s easier said than done. All humans have egos, and so our desire to be heard and be right is pervasive. And when we’re motivated by being right, humility and collaboration are often in short supply.

Put that in the context of $4.5 billion invested in global equites with its up to the minute scoreboard showing success or failure, and you have an extraordinary leadership challenge.

Nick Griffin, CIO of global equities fund manager Munro Partners, has been wrestling this bull by the horns since launching the business in 2016.

“I know a big part of my leadership is raising the team's collective intelligence, as their combined brain power exceeds the sum of the individual smarts in the room.”

For Griffin, fostering a team culture where everyone listens to each other attentively, speaks candidly and treats each other respectfully while not shying from disagreement goes hand in hand with a clear investment philosophy and process.

“The best ideas come from constantly talking, which often means challenge and disagreement. When we respectfully challenge decisions and don’t compromise for the sake of social cohesion, we earn trust, and our colleagues know that what we say is our view and not our agenda.”

Griffin acknowledges that this was a learned process for his investment team of 11, and at the heart of his leadership growth story.

“As CIO, I know that I set the tone for how we work together. I’m a big talker. That means I think out loud and sometimes worry that I’m dominating the conversation and confusing people with only half-formed ideas. I’ve learned to sit back more, sometimes in uncomfortable silence, and give the team the space to step into the conversation and talk through different ideas.”

Challenging the team to own their mistakes and shortcomings is another leadership imperative.

“In this business, we’re always making decisions with incomplete information. That means mistakes will be inevitable, and the best way to manage them is to own them. There’s no shame in being wrong, but not speaking up and asking for help will be our undoing.”

Griffin admits in the early days of the fund, this wasn’t his strong suit “I’ve learned the hard way that blame destroys the trust that great teams are built on. My job is to help the team bounce back and learn from their mistakes.”

Applying this wisdom to himself is a lifelong challenge, and Griffin believes his greatest growth comes from managing personal disappointment when performance is down.

“I know a big part of my identity is tied up with how our funds are performing. That can be incredibly motivating when you’re making great calls and demoralising when the market moves against you. Learning to manage the emotional toll through mindfulness has been incredibly valuable.”

Griffin has also learned his desire for everyone to be happy is a fool’s errand in this game. Setting boundaries that preserve his wellbeing and allow him to focus on the team and his family is key.

“When it’s your business, it’s easy to fall into the trap of taking on more than you can realistically handle. I’ve become much more protective of my time and energy so I can focus on the most important task at hand – performing  for our clients by building a great team, and being there for my family.”

Munro Partners has been a Future IM/Pact partner since 2021 and has worked with founder Yolanda Beattie on team development and leadership coaching since 2019.


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