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John Thomas

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John Thomas

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TEC Chair: Small Business Program

John Thomas has been involved in banking, finance and funds management activities for 43 years. Joining the Howard Group in 1987, he began managing the Howard Mortgage Trust when its assets were only $8 million. When Challenger International acquired the Howard Group in 1997, he continued as Chief Executive of the Howard Mortgage Trust. By the time John left Challenger in 2003, the assets of the Trust had risen to be the largest of its kind in Australia with assets of $2.6 billion. The fund also won the Money Management Magazine ‘Fund Manager of the Year Award’ on seven occasions.

As Chief Executive, John was also instrumental in setting up the Property Trust Division of Howard in 1996 and was involved with the purchase and management of a number of large commercial properties since then.

In 2004, as CEO,  he launched the Mariner Mortgage Trust and oversaw it rapid growth over 4 years to $200 million in assets. During the height of the GFC,  John assumed the position of CEO of Balmain (MMT) Pty Limited, the new Investment Manager of the Mariner Mortgage Trust.

John was Chairman of the (then) Investment and Financial Services Association (IFSA) mortgage trust working group from 2005-2010.The aim of the group was to develop better disclosure regulations within the mortgage trust industry and to lobby government on industry issues. Membership included Challenger, AXA, Perpetual, and ING with total member FUM in excess of $30 billion.

Over the years both APRA and ASIC have sought John’s advice on industry matters and have on many occasions adopted his recommendations on an industry wide basis.

In 2010, John set up ‘JT Consultancy’ to advise fund managers in the mortgage and property trust space.  He undertakes strategic planning assignments for a wide range of clients in areas including financial services, manufacturing, benevolent institutions and NFP organisations. As well as being involved with executive mentoring and training and the development of detailed policies and procedures for clients.

John is a Fellow of the Institute of Financial Services and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  He sits on a number of fund manager compliance committees and is a ‘Responsible Manager’ under three Australian financial services licenses and one under an Australian Credit Licence, all regulated by ASIC.

Additionally, John is also a Non-Executive Director of a number of boards and involved with a number of benevolent institutions advising on matters of finance, property, strategy and governance and  a former honorary treasurer of the National Council of Churches in Australia. He was awarded a Papal Knighthood in 2011 for his charitable work.

A CEOs biggest challenge:

Have a vision for success which can truly be embraced by all stakeholders and be flexible enough to change and adapt where necessary.

Best piece of business advice:

Planning and organisation are the keys to success as is always ‘under promising and over delivering’.

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