PCA PRESS RELEASE
Former pro gets green light to begin trading, five years on from retirement.
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Tom Poynton has launched Baron & Grant Investment Management Ltd, rounding off a five-year process which began with his enforced retirement from professional cricket in 2016.
Poynton, 31, received authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on 4th January to start doing business with the company which he has built from the ground up, with help from his cricketing connections.
Following a ‘soft launch’ phase, the company website went live last week as Poynton looks to build on qualifications and experience garnered both during and after his playing career.
In August 2018, the former PCA Futures Conference attendee spoke to the Association about his ambitions to start his own investment management business in the near future.
Since then, the man with 117 professional appearances to his name has teamed up with former Derbyshire CCC Chairman Chris Grant, and industry expert John Baron to launch the eponymous business, which specialises in managing investment trust-focused portfolios.
Making use of those connections made through cricket, as well as the support of the PCA, has been key to his success, as Poynton explains: “I have had work experience opportunities, some of which were facilitated by the PCA. I worked at Smith and Williamson in Birmingham, which was a great experience, I worked at Toscafund in London and I worked at Kames Capital up in Edinburgh with some really senior people.
“All the people I worked with really loved cricket and the game helped to facilitate those opportunities for me. I built relationships while I was playing that I was then able to call upon after I had retired from the game.
“Baron & Grant has a unique connection with cricket and I haven’t met anyone in business who doesn’t like the game! It’s a great conversation starter and people have a real respect for those who have played sport at a professional level, there are so many transferrable skills.”
It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Poynton, however. Between Baron & Grant’s application to the FCA in July 2020 and the company being authorised in January of this year, a period of 18 months passed during which time the firm had no income and was solely spending on outgoings.
The hard work and sleepless nights were worth the sacrifice for Poynton, however, as he set out to achieve his long-held business dream.
“Chris and I had to consider the route that we were going to go down to formalise our intentions. We could either go under someone else’s umbrella, which we explored and was the quickest option to get up and running, but we did some research and were underwhelmed.
“Whilst that would’ve been the easiest option, we decided to explore doing it from scratch and putting our own blueprint on how we wanted to go about things.
“It took longer, cost more money and was a more arduous journey, but ultimately it should be much more rewarding in the long run. We’ve built everything from scratch – from the logo to the 21st century infrastructure, it’s all been designed by us.
“I’ve been very lucky with the people I’ve met and the opportunities that I’ve had, but I have grafted every day to make the most of those opportunities. There are times when you think the business is never going to see the light of day.
“At the end of it all, though, I’ve been instrumental in building a directly authorised FCA regulated business from the ground up at the age of 31, which not many people in the industry can say, let alone having had a career in professional cricket prior to that too.”
"It’s a great conversation starter and people have a real respect for those who have played sport at a professional level, there are so many transferrable skills."
It is a particularly pertinent achievement for Poynton, who experienced personal tragedy in 2014 when father Keith passed away in a car accident, during which Tom sustained injuries which would ultimately curtail his career in professional cricket.
“I had the tragedy with my father, which I don’t think I properly dealt with when I was playing cricket. I lost the person that I loved most in the world, and also the career that I’d dedicated my life to up until this point.
“From there, I had to go and study financial advice and investment management despite not being in the greatest frame of mind to do so! That has given me resilience though, and I’ve conditioned myself to be able to work in that fashion.
“I go through good days and I also have bad days, and I’ve certainly realised the importance of looking after my mental health, particularly throughout the pandemic.”
Moving forwards, Poynton hopes to use his business to give something back to cricket, in the same way that his involvement in the game has helped him to build Baron & Grant.
“We want to play a part in better financial wellbeing for cricketers. We manage pensions for cricketers that are currently playing, and I think they respect the fact that I have walked in their shoes. I went to the very first Futures Conference at Edgbaston so I know how it feels.
“The opportunities in cricket have never been better, but you need that support network around you and trusted advice so you can focus on your game.”
Baron & Grant Investment Management Ltd provides financial planning, advice and discretionary investment management services to individuals and organisations. Find out more via the company website.
The PCA’s Personal Development and Welfare Programme supports current and former professional cricketers like Tom as they transition into life after cricket. Find out more here.