Sean Newman - A Man You Can Bank On

February 16, 2021

Via Jamaica Observer 

As the executive vice president & chief investment officer for Sagicor Group Jamaica, Sean Newman definitely has a lot on his plate. But regardless of the stellar job he does during business hours, he knows that a day's work is not complete until his family is fed and comfortably asleep.“Family is definitely first,” Newman, who is the father of two sons, shared with All Woman for our special men's issue. “You have to ensure that your commitment to the business is met, but when you come home and your child asks you what's for dinner, you better have an answer. They don't really care if the stock market is down by ten percent.”

Newman, a widower who has over 20 years' experience in international asset management, understands that investment is not a numbers game, but an industry that entire families rely on, and this motivates him to do his best at managing assets.

“One of the biggest memories that stuck with me in my professional career is when my mother had invested her CDs (certificates of deposit) and there was a big financial crisis, and she was making daily trips to the bank, calling, just trying to get an update on when she would get her little savings back,” he shared.

But despite the unpredictability of the market, Newman loves investing, and is thrilled by the challenge each new day presents.

“I love what I do. It's very dynamic, and it's extremely challenging,” he said. “Everyday in the market things change, and you have to come up with an outlook for markets and for risks, and be able to communicate that to your team and your client, and try to deliver a return. I enjoy looking at different companies and different countries, and helping businesses shape their directions that they should be taking, and helping them to achieve their success, because when they win, we all win.”

In addition to the sheer joy he feels in knowing that he is helping his clients, Sagicor team, and country to win, Newman is also content in knowing that he is setting a good example for his sons to emulate.

“I want them to want to be disciplined in everything they do; practice makes perfect,” Newman said. “You're never fully prepared, or at the target or place where you need to be, so it's always continuous development and improvement.”

He also wants his sons to grow up being loving and caring to everyone, especially their family. “Also, be independent thinkers — be men among boys. That's important. I think it's important that they always establish their presence, make their own decisions and stand out from the crowd.”

What really makes a man, to Newman, is not his profession or possessions, but his morals.

“To be a man is to have a value system that is very well defined,” he said. “Your personal brand and your credibility are the only things that you cannot, and should never, dilute because it's quick to lose but hard to gain.”

It's these values, and his loyalty to family, that brought Newman, who spent 23 years in the United States as an executive and senior portfolio manager with global fund managers, to return home to Jamaica last year. He mused at how he has built a solid career in investment, despite his early ambitions of becoming a pilot. “I was fascinated by flying planes, and anything that could move in the air,” he shared.

He was exposed to finance as a teen when his father got him a summer job with CIBC, but he did not seriously consider the industry as an option until he was graduating from Calabar High School.

“Peter Moses, Citibank chairman at the time, gave the keynote address at the graduation, and that's what had me thinking about a career in finance and banking. I did undergrad at The University of the West Indies in management and accounting, then I went on to do my MBA at Howard University.”

Newman planned to return home after Howard, but as fate would have it, he was presented with an opportunity to participate in a one-year postgraduate development programme. This proved to be the launching pad for his decades of accomplishments as a portfolio manager.

Now that he is back on the rock, Newman is making up for lost time by trying to spend a lot of time with family, and enjoying as much of the island's natural attractions as he can.

“I enjoy cooking as well,” he grinned. “My barbecue grill is up and running, and it makes for a good weekend. I try to work out, too, just to clear my head, and I'm spiritual, but I don't go to church as often as I should. I just try my best to 'live good'.”

First on the list of Newman's ambitions for the future is to raise his sons in such a way that they will become positive examples in a world where the negatives are what seem to get the most attention.

“I know there are many men out there doing great things. They don't need to be applauded, because they're just doing what is required, but at the same time, we don't need to always focus on the negative examples. I don't think there is enough said about the men out there who are being great role models, but they are definitely there, going through the motions everyday,” he said.

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