Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW
Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW

Ord Minnett Chairman Shares Experiences

The speaker at Warrane’s inaugural dinner for Session one, executive chairman of stockbroking firm Ord Minnett Ltd, Mr Karl Morris, gave Warrane’s residents some pointers on how to find happiness.

During a forthright and down-to-earth address on March 2, he said the most important things in life were to find “someone to love”, something meaningful to do with your life and something to believe in.

He said he had been very fortunate in many ways, including having very good parents and a good mentor early in his career. Very early on he had learned where his ethics were.

Although he had come from a very wealthy family, the family company “went broke” in 1974 during the Whitlam credit crisis, but this apparent disaster turned out to be “really fortunate” in his life.

He joined the workforce with a diploma in Finance and started work with a stockbroking firm in Sydney on the trading floor. But he said he didn’t get along well with his first two bosses. As a result, he failed the stockbroking exam the first time he tried.

Nevertheless he believed that the most important thing in gaining employment was a good education. Even though he was now the CEO of Ord Minnet, he tried to do something at least twice a year to improve himself, including a course at Harvard University.

“You really should do something all the time to further your education,” he said. “Consider it as investing in yourself. If you ever have the opportunity to do any kind of course at Harvard or Yale or one of those top American universities do it. It is just another world. They are just magnificent. They are full of intellectual people from around the world. I don’t network – I make friends, firm and strong friends. And it helps you keep your mind going.”

Mr Morris advised residents to try always to present themselves in a professional way, to dress well and to maintain a professional relationship with the people they worked with.

He encouraged them also to be very careful with their communications: “I write every email like someone is going to leak it to the Sydney Morning Herald.”

He also advised them not to get upset with people and abuse them. “Don’t ever be mean,” he said. “… it is important to keep the best people around you and to avoid being arrogant with other people. “Things come back to haunt you when you do things in an arrogant way. It’s all about your attitude.”

For those wondering whether the world would recover from the Great Financial Crisis of recent years, he said the excesses seen in the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s are not going to return for a long time. The resources boom is based on fundamentals.”

Mr Morris said he believed the key was China’s growth and recommended that young people study Mandarin, rather Japanese as many were continuing to do.

He said that the times he had lost money had been when he didn’t know about the business he was dealing with. “Confidence comes from competence,” he said. “The more educated you are, the better you will do.”

Mr Morris argued that it was important today for young people in all professions to learn about finance. “The only person who is going to control your money is you. Learn about compound interest. Be aware of the temptations out there.”

But over and above everything, he told residents: “You need something to believe in. You need that moral code. The people who do poorly have no moral code. They have no moral code and nothing to believe in.”

[Warrane College offers more than just accommodation to students at UNSW: Details of other guest speakers are available here]