Nick Stewart 39
Nick had an early start in finance: “I’d take a 20c coin to school, phone my broker at lunchtime, make some trades”. He was 12. He’s now CEO of Stewart Group, established by his father in 1974, and an authorised financial advisor. He took over the reins at age 28.
“I had my own stock portfolio from eight when I sold some sheep. I still remember my first shares in the oldest listed company in NZ, Donaghys. They were a rope maker so when we re-did the cray pots I was adamant that we used Donaghys rope, because it was ‘my’ company.”
From 12 Nick and his father discussed the young Stewart’s role in the family business. He was always keen and after a gap year that “rounded off some of the square edges” he went to Massey.
“I wanted to be close to home because I wanted to surf and duck hunt – all those neat things we can do as Hawke’s Bay citizens.”
As well as heading a successful business there are two more prongs to the work Nick does, and they both involve giving to others. “I think the philanthropy we’re involved in is an extension of who we are – we like helping people”
Nick is also involved in international study groups across the financial sector, sharing information and intelligence.
“If you live in a place like this you can become isolated in terms of knowledge. I am very much part of a global community but I still live here”
In terms of business growth, Nick is working hard to make Stewart Group a tech leader. It’s a business model proponents of NZ Inc would like to see more of: big on brains, low on air miles.
“Our business is purely IP. I would like to see us being a national player based in Hawke’s Bay. We can create a business here, grow it, do that all from the Bay. Then we’re taking services out of the big city and putting them here. We can do the work just as well but we can also have a happier team and be really invested in this community”
Page 23 Issue 27 Jan/Feb 2016 BAYBUZZ