While some bemoan the loss of traditional industry and retail in the Kiama LGA, behind the scenes technology is enabling new businesses to operate largely hidden from sight.
Our new occasional series will introduce them to you.
Ray Tubman says his firm’s clients, major financial institutions in London and Edinburgh, aren’t fazed by the fact that they are based in an Australian country town.
“Many large organisations have regionalised in the UK, because there just isn’t enough room in London,” he says.
“All of my clients know where Jamberoo is now—they’ve googled it and are fascinated. It is a differentiator we play up to.
“They love visiting us.”
Ray set up FinoComp three years ago, creating a specialist software development company based on his earlier experience as a head designer for, and contacts
in, the wealth management industry.
The firm has strategically targeted the much larger UK market, and all of their business comes from there.
“Our clients are large
financial institutions which provide retail investment products (superannuation and general investment) to the mass market through financial advisers.”
They include Aegon, the ninth largest insurer in the world. Its recent purchase of Cofunds now makes it the largest retail wealth manager in the UK.
The firm’s development centre is in Jamberoo, with distribution and support provided from their office in Finsbury Square in London.
“When you realise we are half way around the world from our clients, it doesn’t matter to them if we are in Sydney or Jamberoo.
“As long as we have a decent internet connection, we could work anywhere.”
Ray chose to base the business in Jamberoo because he has lived on its outskirts since 2006. He and his family wanted to live outside of suburbia, but still within commuting distance.
“When we opened in 2015, this was going to be a transition to early retirement job,” he says.
“It has been so successful that it is now completely the opposite, with a very strong emphasis on growth.
“We have plans to double the size of our operations in Jamberoo over the coming 12 months.”
There are currently twenty people working for FinoComp in Jamberoo, with a number of them having moved to town and others living nearby.
It operates from the former art gallery next to the pub, and has a conference facility in the nearby old church.
“We wanted our office to be an environment that inspires creativity,” he explains.
“As much as people think software guys are geeks, there is a mass of creativity involved. Software development is a design process, like architecture, and we wanted this to be a creative centre.
“While they can work at home, most prefer to come to the office for the social interaction.”
Their commercial grade NBN connection allows FinoComp to support their UK clients, including backing up their data, without difficulty.
“The only problem we’ve had is the rats eating the cable,” he says with a grin. “We can’t blame the NBN for that.”
He’s aware that most people in the village have no idea what FinoComp does, even though it is one of the biggest employers.
“We’ve had people come and ask us to host their websites and fix their computers.”
His growing team make a contribution to the local economy through their use of local shops, and by becoming part of the local community.
“Basing ourselves here and enjoying this lifestyle comes at the cost of regular plane trips to the UK to build more business, but I think it is worth it to live somewhere I love.”