30 March 2022
Nick Heuzenroeder (2000) is the CEO of Haven Wealth Partners – one of the only carbon neutral investment companies in Australia. Along with his high energy, Nick brings a depth and breadth of knowledge and experience in investments, product engineering and customer centric design as well as many other areas relating to business.
What is your favourite memory of your time at Pembroke?
Moving away from my family in Broken Hill to boarding school in Year 10 in 1998 was certainly one of the biggest personal challenges I’ve faced. To make things more challenging, I attended rowing camp two weeks before I started Year 10 where I only knew two people. This rowing camp is far and away my favourite memory. I was entering the unknown and totally out of my comfort zone. By the end of the camp, I had been selected for the senior crew, had my head ceremonially shaved and soon after made the 1st VIII. By the end of ’98 rowing season I also won Most Improved Senior Oarsman which I shared with Tim Diekman (1999).
What is your biggest career highlight?
I would have to say launching my own ethical managed fund and investment consultancy. I was paid well working for multi-billion dollar super funds but became more frustrated each day with their reluctance to embrace ethical, responsible and sustainable investment. It took someone to tell me I couldn’t do it to light the fire. I threw everything I had at this project and can proudly say I launched Haven Wealth Partners last Sept!
Why is ethical investing important to you?
I always had a burning desire to do something big and meaningful. After working for one of Australia’s largest sustainable super funds, I recognised the increasing demand for ethical/responsible investments and the drastic shortage of products/providers doing it right. Currently there are a growing number of “ethical” and “esg focused” investment products out there but none in Australia, according to my research, that fully screen out ALL controversial areas…until we came along!
Defining “ethical” is really important. If a pack-a-day smoker cuts down to five a day, can they label themselves a "non-smoker"?... of course not. How is it possible then for managed funds and investment managers to simply reduce (but retain) exposure to controversial areas and still label themselves “ethical”? It is alarming to see what so many multi-billion (or multi-trillion) dollar fund managers invest in and then label themselves "ethical".
When are you most inspired?
When my kids teach me things they’ve learned. Last year I was pushing my eldest son Elwood on the swing and he said “Dad, do you know who built this country? The Kauna people!”. He then went on to tell me about the Kaurna people and their relationship with the land. I was totally and pleasantly surprised. Seeing the next generation so informed and willing to share is such a precious and powerful thing.
What is the one thing you've always wanted to try, but you've been too scared to?
I routinely try to push myself out of my comfort zone. I’ve always wanted to experience the thrill of skydiving but having met a few of the characters who are in charge of packing the parachutes, I have had second thoughts.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
No celebrity or public figure sticks in my mind as someone I’m desperate to meet. If I could have a coffee with anyone it would be my late father-in-law Kevin. He passed away from brain cancer a few years ago. He would have been beaming with pride with the fact I took the chance and launched my own managed fund. He was always a massive supporter of mine. He was one of the most curious people I’ve even known. We would spend hours talking about investments, markets, currencies, etc.
This coffee would be accompanied by a cake or cream bun and mark the halfway point of a 100km+ bike ride. I miss him dearly.
The best advice I have ever been given was...
Don’t over-estimate what you can accomplish in a day, don’t underestimate what you can accomplish in a year. Little by little, a little becomes a lot.
What was your favourite subject in school and why?
Brian Callaghan played a very big part in my Pembroke life in his role as head of Campbell House. He was never my teacher though. He was a tremendous support to me over the years.
Name a dish that reminds you of your childhood.
Cheeseslaw. Not coleslaw, cheeseslaw. It is a Broken Hill staple. Grated carrot, grated cheese, mayo, spring onion, chopped parsley, cracked pepper and salt.
During rowing season my mum and dad would make chicken and cheeseslaw rolls for the crew. They were always really popular.
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
I am known for having a lot of sayings and one-liners. I find them useful to drive home key points in discussions. Here are a few that resonate with me:
- You only fail if you make the same mistake twice.
No-one wins all the time. The person that never fails is the person that never tries.
- How you do anything is how you do everything.
This one causes me so much frustration as sometimes I say “that’s good enough” but good enough is never good enough. Often it only requires a little extra effort to make it great (whatever it is).
- You cannot change the direction of the wind but you can adjust your sails.
The number of times my dad has said this to me throughout my life. It is easy to get frustrated with things that happen outside of your control. It is important to remember that they are out of your control. How you react and the action you take are very much in your control and should be where your energy is channelled.