Our goal at Trilogy Funds (Trilogy) is to provide income-focused solutions designed to help our investors achieve their financial goals. For over 22 years, seeking income and managing risk on behalf of our investors and borrowers has remained at the heart of everything we do.
One of the leaders behind this vision is Trilogy’s Executive Director and co-founder, John Barry. John has had an extensive career guiding the strategic vision of several of Australia’s leading financial services companies.
At Trilogy, he is responsible for guiding the company’s operational and product strategy and identifying opportunities to provide new investment solutions to investors. Outside of Trilogy, John is married with two daughters and has a keen interest in golf, tennis, swimming, skiing and fly fishing.
We sat down with John Barry to discuss the journey that led him to where he is today, the most valuable industry lessons he’s learnt and how he adds value for Trilogy’s investors, borrowers and clients.
John Barry’s story
John Barry’s route to success was one of hard work, passion and experience.
“I was always better with numbers than English, so that naturally pushed me into a numbers area. I started my career as a chartered accountant working in Sydney, London and Kenya where I worked for the United Nations on the allocation of assets between countries following the break-up of the East African Community,” John said.
“I returned to Australia and became an investment banker specialising in Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) and Equity Capital Markets (ECM) for companies such as Morgan Grenfell and Rothschild. Over this time, I was involved in the listing of over 15 companies onto the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).
“While that was the ‘place to be’ at the time, I began seeking areas that I knew were growing, so I ventured into structured financial products and joined Challenger Financial,” John said. John was instrumental in Challenger’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 1987, and two weeks later, worked through the ‘Black Tuesday’ stock market crash.
During his time at Challenger, John amassed extensive experience being involved in the acquisition of over 14 businesses. John was also instrumental in developing the endowment warrant, the forerunner to the instalment warrant, and an annuity structure which was backed by long-term leases on property.
“An innovation I’m proud of at Challenger, was setting up the long-term annuities backed by property leases. While most life companies at the time were investing their annuity funds in government bonds that were producing 5% – 6% p.a., we saw the opportunity to generate higher income streams from property assets. On the back of government leases, we were able to generate 13% p.a. returns. Achieving this involved raising capital, purchasing the properties, and putting in hedging on debt and forex,” John said.
Then came Trilogy
“In creating Trilogy, we decided to concentrate on income streams. We wanted to capitalise on something we knew, were experienced in, and could ultimately provide value in,” John said.
“At the time, we saw the value and opportunity to generate higher income streams from other assets, specifically property assets and construction loans. That’s how our flagship fund, the Trilogy Monthly Income Trust, came to be,” he said.
John Barry was involved in the creation of the Trilogy Monthly Income Trust, a pooled mortgage trust providing investors with exposure to returns available through loans secured by first mortgages over Australian property.
“We went to market with the Trilogy Monthly Income Trust with a four-month redemption period. This was longer than what most funds offered at the time, as we realised shorter redemption periods were one of the causes of other mortgage funds failing in previous years,” John said.
Providing value through experience
“I want to make a difference. It’s no good just ‘doing what’s there’, you have to go out and continually think outside the square. That makes my work exciting and it’s why I keep coming back,” John said.
As a strategic thinker, John has a focus on identifying opportunities to add value for investors and borrowers.
“My industry experience has given me the confidence to bring new ideas to the table and give things a go that allow us to solve problems for our investors, borrowers and clients. We’re currently looking at opportunities in the market to develop new products and features that would solve problems and add value for a range of different investor types.
“I work by the mantra that there is always a better way – whether that’s by improving our lending agreements, improving how we handle risk, finding new ways to raise funds or identifying new opportunities for the company.
“More recently, COVID-19 presented us an opportunity to not only simply ‘make it through’ but to find a way to come out stronger and ‘ahead of the game’ on the other side. I’m always searching for ways we can improve. That’s something I’m passionate about,” John said.
On lessons learnt
John says he’s learnt many lessons in his time, but three have stuck with him the most:
- The client is always right.
- Give it a go.
- Invest in businesses or ideas where the wind is in your sails.
“To those beginning their journey in investment, property or finance, I’d say, enjoy it, be positive, and try to make a difference,” John Barry concluded.
Learn more about Trilogy’s Board of Directors >
Learn about Managing Director Philip Ryan’s investment journey >
This article is issued by Trilogy Funds Management Limited ACN 080 383 679 AFSL 261425 (Trilogy) and does not take into account your objectives, personal circumstances or needs, nor is it an offer of securities. Investments in Trilogy’s products are only available through the relevant PDS issued by Trilogy and available at www.trilogyfunds.com.au. All investments, including those with Trilogy, involve risk which can lead to loss of part or all of your capital or diminished returns. Investments with Trilogy are not bank deposits and are not government guaranteed.