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Jazz Shapers

Shaper: Ric Lewis

Transcript

Elliot Moss
Welcome to the Jazz Shapers Podcast from Mishcon de Reya. What you are about to hear was originally broadcast on Jazz FM however the music has been cut or shortened due to rights issues.

Welcome to Jazz Shapers; this is where of course you should know the drill by now but in case you don’t, it’s where the Shapers of Business meet the Shapers of Jazz, Soul and Blues. My guest today is Ric Lewis, a founding partner of Tristan Capital Partners, a real estate investment management company and a lot more to boot. A standout pupil at his high school in Massachusetts and the first in his extended family to go to University, studying Economics at Dartmouth, Ric believes a chance encounter with a family acquaintance, a career advisor, was vital. As he says, “The reason I do the work I do is because I am the product of someone intervening at the right time.” As a Senior Partner at real estate investment manager AEW based in the US, Ric moved to the UK in 1999 to found the European arm Curzon Global Partners. Nine years later when AEW was sold, a difference in values with the new owners led Ric reluctantly to leave, he formed Tristan Capital with his former clients opting to join him. Alongside this, Ric has long been an advocate for improving less advantaged children’s access to quality education, in particular through the Black Heart Foundation which he founded in 2000. We will be chatting to Ric very shortly about all of this and how vital it is to know your superpower. We’ve also got brilliant music from amongst others, Miles Mosley, Hugh Masekela and Junior Wells. That, ladies and gentlemen, is today’s Jazz Shapers. Here’s Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers with Children of the Night.
That was Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers with Children of the Night. We’ve got great music here today. Ric Lewis is my Business Shaper as I said earlier and the reason I knew who Ric was as I walked in here today was that is said on my notes, “He’s six foot ten” so you may be the tallest guest I have ever had on Jazz Shapers and that’s saying something.

Ric Lewis
It’s always good to have a title.

Elliot Moss
Now, beyond the big frame there is some incredible things I want to cover today. It’s really good to have you here. Tell me a little bit about the day job, and I call it the day job because we are going to come on to the, not just the one side hustle, not just the two, not just the three and not just that but a sense of real purpose that you have in your life, tell me a little bit about how you fell into the world of property investment and how it’s enabled you to do so many things with your life?

Ric Lewis
Yeah, so, the business, the day job is real estate investment management, we effectively invest capital for pension funds, for endowments, for sovereign wealth funds and for wealthy families that act like institutions and part of their portfolio that the invest in alternatives, you know is our responsibility for a number of clients all over the globe. But more than that, you know I think you know we are experts in investment and we are in managing risk but I think, you know, what we’ve done or what we pride ourselves in doing is I think we’ve created an incredible culture around a business idea and so what I really like about it is, in addition to putting up exemplary performance that helps people take care of their future and their retirement, we’ve created an environment where people really feel like they can thrive and grow and that is part of the ethos and passion that I have that I bring to other parts of life so, to some extent whether this was the forerunner or this is an extension of how I live everywhere else, you know it’s the same thing that I am doing in the community that we are just doing in the company.

Elliot Moss
I am going to come to culture and I am going to come to community but there’s the craft skill of what you do which of course by now X number of years in you don’t, I imagine you don’t take it for granted but you probably don’t think about it in the way that you do other things because it comes naturally to you. If you go back to when you first started in the business, what did you need to learn?

Ric Lewis
Well, the first pieces you have to learn the basics of your craft, I mean, you know, because I am in investment management you have to be facile with investment, with numbers, with value etcetera but that really is just part of the picture, I think to be successful in anything in life, you’ve got to find a way to bring passion and curiosity and, you know, when your own style and excitement to anything you do and I think that’s part of it so, the basics I think everyone in our firm, you know, has the raw, you know, deep intelligence to be able to do this job and is trained somewhere in finance, economics, accounting, investment management so, that’s the raw basics but I think what sets us apart as a firm is the culture of the people that have a curiosity to excel, you know, to drive themselves in pursuit of remarkable as I call it, you know, and that’s the difference, you know, it’s I think the difference between a company that exists and a company that excels is the passion that’s in between, I think that’s what we try to spend our time on.

Elliot Moss
From the outside, people look at the world of investment management whether it’s money, whether it’s property, whatever the asset might be and they say, “That looks like a kind of a cold industry”, I mean that’s been the narrative for many years. That seems to me the antithesis of what you are talking about so help me understand how you bridge from this thing which looks like, I take a pound, I take a dollar, I’ll make you money, I’ll build you something, I’ll develop something. Tell me how passion and curiosity play a role in that?

Ric Lewis
So, I think at first, you know, from the outside, you know, there is a piece of that that is really technical and if you don’t have the technical ability to perform and actually make money then you are not going to get clients but really deep down at the heart of the business we need to trust business. What you are selling, and that’s a slightly grotesque word, is you’re selling confidence and integrity and authenticity because what someone’s doing is effectively saying, “I am trusting you with one of my most precious assets which is my money” and what I want to know is not only that you have the technical ability to care for it but I want to believe that I can know what you are doing so, when you are talking to me you are conveying that like, this is a scary time or the markets are changing but I’ve got this and I know what you want and I know what you want to happen with this basket of capital and I’ve got this. So, the ethos or the personality behind the firm has to be, of course we have to be confident, we have to be expert and we have to be creative and find different things and markets and challenging opportunities but in the end what I try to tell other people is that what we are really conveying is the confidence that people say, “When I am scared and I can’t watch it, I am really confident that you can and that you can handle this” because that’s what we are really conveying to them.

Elliot Moss
And on day one when you eventually spun out of Curzon and it became Tristan, did you convey that to your people? Did you convey that to your clients? Is that what has remained at the core of what it is that you think you stand for or did that evolve?

Ric Lewis
Well, I think when we spun out and started Tristan, it was almost our clients’ idea and it’s because of the relationship we had, relationship of trust and confidence that we have with them, you know, when we… very short story when we were wrapping up in Curzon and AEW and the different ownership and stuff and I decided to leave, I thought I was going to take time off to play a little bit more golf and spend more time with my two lovely daughters and the clients were like, “No you’re not, like, we’re coming with you” and I was like I don’t have a business plan and they were like, “Well, make one because we are coming with you” and it wasn’t because I am the most brilliant investor in the world, I think I am a good one and I think my team is exceptional too but it really was about is that they are like “I actually like spending professional time with you, I trust you, I don’t want to find somebody new to trust with my most precious resources” and so, it’s a huge compliment but it’s also a huge responsibility and so what we try to do every day is just to build on that.

Elliot Moss
And in terms of the leadership of this business, we are now eleven years into it, you’ve now built a significant size client base, you have significant investments under management, you’ve got a big team and so on. What drives you because at some point we’re… I mean, I want to talk about the whole you, Ric Lewis the philanthropist, the person that wants to give back, that wants to change the world, that wants to intervene in the way that it was an intervention in you, but what drives you before we tip over onto that side of the river?

Ric Lewis
I think the secret is, and I know our clients know this, is that I feel, you know and maybe this is retrospective and, you know, retrospective view points are always 20/20 but I feel like I could have applied myself in a number of different areas so, I like real estate, I like real estate investment management, I like finance but what I really like is building teams and organisations that out perform their expectations of themselves and the expectations of their community so that’s my real passion so, building a team, a company, a culture that people say that aspire to be like, “I want to hang out with them, I want to go to their party, I want to give them my money, I want to be with them”, I joke about like the cool kids culture which is like, actually like they have this thing and I just want to be part of their thing, that’s where my passion is and I want to build an organisation, events, initiatives that people aspire to be part of because they are doing something exemplary or spectacular.

Elliot Moss
But very early on, beyond the business there was then this thing that said, “Ric Lewis is not going to be on this planet to build a business and make some money.” There’s something else. Was there an epiphany? Was there a burning feeling inside of you from a very young age that you were always going to do something else beyond making a buck? Because that’s the bit I really want to just try and work out where it popped up from.

Ric Lewis
For me, it was in me for a long time, you know, I’ve spoken about this in other venues, you know, from the values of my parents and how hard they worked and what they gave, I don’t know why I had an understanding of that at an early age but I knew I had a responsibility to perform, to thank them, to show my gratitude for the sacrifices they made. I have also spoken in different situations about my maternal grandmother who, you know, had a very clear vision about her making sacrifices to effectively contribute to our family, to build a village that would be better for us and that effectively without being pedantic or cool about it, she was saying, “Now you have a responsibility to me and to the village to extend the village” and so, that’s always been part of me and so from an early age I was already volunteering and giving back. The eureka moment that I think you are talking about is somewhere along the line I was like “Wait a minute, I can bring some real economic empowerment and numbers and scale to this” and that’s what my business life has done for me. I have some financial resources to contribute so I can show people that I am not just talking about it, I am putting my own money in it but also I have created now, I think I am on my fourth life right so we can talk about those stages I have been, I am at the fourth life where I am considered an accomplished, venerable, professional and leader in the community and it just struck me like I am still that cheeky little kid that I was like, “Okay, wait a minute, I’ve got some power, I am going to go bring it to the things I have passion about” and so that’s the crossover moment which is like, “Look, I’ve got this energy and power and followship, well, I guess I’m just going to bring them to my party now and have them do what I think is interesting” and I know that’s for good so, that’s the connective point.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me to find out what happens at this great party that Ric Lewis has created and is creating, and he is my Business Shaper today and he’ll be back in a couple of minutes but first we are going to hear from one of our partners at Mishcon de Reya, some words of advice, I hope, for your business.

There are lots of former Jazz Shapers for you to enjoy and of course you can hear this programme again by asking Alexa to play Jazz Shapers and there you can hear many of my recent guests, or if you pop Jazz Shapers into iTunes or your preferred podcast platform, you can find the full archive there. But back to today, it’s Ric Lewis, in the house talking about a party we’re just about to have, he’s the Executive Chairman and Chief Investment Officer at Tristan Capital, a real estate investment management company but much more than if you’ve been listening and I hope you have. What Ric has really been doing is creating a team with passion, with hopefully great competence but something around a purpose that goes beyond and that’s where we’ve got to, this bridge moment when, as you mentioned your grandmother said it’s your responsibility, not in an aggressive way but just that you’d take it on. When success comes financially, people go, I’ve met many people and there’s a whole spectrum, I can draw the axis from left to right, some people really care about number one and some people go completely the other way. It strikes me you are way over there, way over on the other side. Tell me a little bit about the kind of vibe of this party, the atmospherics of this party you want to create and the sort of people that you want to come into it.

Ric Lewis
Right, there’s two things and I’m probably going to hit on one because anyone that’s listening to it that knows us, knows actually we have become legendary for the parties we throw.

Elliot Moss
Real parties?

Ric Lewis
Real parties. Real parties that…

Elliot Moss
As opposed to metaphorical…

Ric Lewis
…we started this like underground thing, underground events but now people know, if you get invited to that party, you go to it.

Elliot Moss
I am looking forward to the invite.

Ric Lewis
You’re in.

Elliot Moss
Thank you.

Ric Lewis
Absolutely.

Elliot Moss
I won’t tell anyone.

Ric Lewis
Good, great, clean fun but what we do is, even in that there was a method to our madness because we were creating community, we are creating followship that we actually bring to other things. So, at some level people just said, “Great music, great food, great drink, great the right people in the room” but subconsciously what they are saying is, “If they tell me something that’s important to them, I’m going to pay attention because it’s always fun or important” and I think that’s what we are trying to do and so the party I have been trying to create is to move my friends whether they are from the world of sport, entertainment, business etcetera to go, “Look this guy has integrity and authenticity and he’s open and honest and he’s fun to hang out with and so if he tells me that there’s something going on I should pay attention to, I will” and that’s what we are doing with the Black Heart Foundation and the other things we are doing is that I’ve got a bunch of people that are saying, “Hey, this is actually cool and sexy and doing good but what’s not to get along with this.”

Elliot Moss
So, just give me a little snippet around what the Black Heart Foundation does. Set up in 2000, non-profit organisation which I know is around improving education, access for underprivileged children, you’ve got your Impact X Capital fund as well. Just give me a little here’s what this is about so people understand what it is that you are doing.

Ric Lewis
So, the Black Heart Foundation, as you said, was founded in 2000 and what we do is two things, we try to provide support to programmes in the community that provide encouragement, tutoring, pastoral care to what I will say is under-represented or under-resourced young people that are talented, hungry, focussed but need a little bit of guidance or help. And so there’s a bunch of community programmes that are doing that and we provide some economic and sometimes some non-economic help and support to them. The other thing that we do and it’s grown substantially is now we have a Black Heart scholars programme where we provide bursaries and scholarships to talented young people that have been on the mission, have scraped themselves up the hill, got the GCSEs and the A Levels and they’ve got places in University then they just can’t figure out how they make A and B meet and we are providing the gap funding to those students right now. We’ve got 80 scholars at 45 different Universities. They are at all manner of places, not all at Universities because in addition to classical education there are a number of people that are doing non-classical things. Our goal is to just remove the barriers to aspiration and achievement so that young people who are talented and committed can pursue their inspiration without impediment.

Elliot Moss
Now, I get people here that always achieve ridiculous things and you are number one on the Power List 2019, the annual list of the most powerful people of Africa and African and Caribbean heritage in Britain. I mean, I say that in Britain, it’s interesting obviously we haven’t mentioned you are American. Not very difficult for people to realise that. Often I get, “Are you Canadian?” That’s always a good place to start, much easier for lots of reasons but the American here, lots of these recipients obviously have either African heritage, African Caribbean heritage or Asian heritage, the value of that is enormous. Why here? Why have you made here home and do you see the problems here in a different way to the way you see them in the US?

Ric Lewis
So, first of all I want to say is, the Black Heart Foundation is but it is not just focussed on, if I can say brown and black people, you know, right now, you are right, the predominance of the awards and scholarships have gone to brown and black kids but that’s not our purpose, it’s really under-represented kids and we are now trying to work on under-represented majority kids that don’t think that someone wants to back them and help them climb the ladder so, we are solving that problem. It is really valuable and I hope that I can say this in the right way, so I was doing this work in the US right from when I got out of University and stopped playing ball and all that stuff, you know, I was doing this work, I got engaged with the ‘I have a Dream’ programme, the Big Brother programme so I had been doing the work at the next sort of at risk youth and education for a long time. When I came here and I hope that people can take this in the right way, it felt like the US in the seventies, the level of diversity and inclusion was like when I was growing up and I was growing up in a fairly forward place in Boston versus the rest of the United States, you know, we’re well educated, you know relatively diverse but it was pretty darned backwards compared to where it is now and I moved over here and I felt like, “God, we’re nowhere, the conversation isn’t even happening”, you know, I used to go to fundraisers and they would all be about animals and lifeboats and I wanted to ask the question like, “What about the children?” and they were like, “Well, they’re at boarding school, love.” “Not your children! What about the kids that need help?” and they were like, “We don’t know them.” I mean, now the great thing is that conversation about social mobility and help and you know, losing the potential of not having a diverse talent base and everything we want to do in this country has changed here but the execution hasn’t so, we’ve got 80 scholars out there, the potential to be a thousand or two thousand or five thousand is right at my doorstep. All I have to do is martial the resources and attention. There are so many talented kids, the number of applications I get that rationing just forces me to choose the best ones, like you know, it’s enormous and so I can see that we’re just starting to climb the foothills of a big mountain.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for much more from my mountain climber, Ric Lewis. He is the man we are talking to today, my Business Shaper and we are talking all about the scale of the opportunity as well as the scale of the problem. Time for some more music right now, it’s Hugh Masekela with Grazing In The Grass.

Hugh Masekela with Grazing In The Grass. We are enjoying the music here Ric Lewis and I, and he is my Business Shaper; Founder, Executive Chairman and Chief Investment Officer at Tristan Capital but also, as you have been hearing, the Founder of The Black Heart Foundation, the Founder of the Impact X Capital Fund which I want to talk to you about as well in a moment. It just strikes me though before we go back in there that you don’t seem stressed. Now he’s smiling going, “Ah, I hide it well.” Yeah of course we do. You don’t seem stressed, you don’t seem like a man in a hurry and yet your use of time strikes me as incredibly smart. Have you learnt this? Have you developed it? Did you work out many years ago your most important asset, your most important commodity was time? Was it something that struck you because I think it’s much harder, it makes people look like they are busy and they’re running around and they haven’t therefore got, they don’t think about legacy, they can only think about today. Tell me a little bit about your relationship with time.

Ric Lewis
Yeah, look I feel like I’m at the good part of my life and I think one of the most important things is knowing that you are there, you know, I am at an area of accomplishment where most days I get to choose what I want to do. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have a big responsibility to our business, I do and I work on that every day but I get to choose what other things I say yes to and no to. I have realised that one of the big challenges is being able to say no more effectively and so when I’ve learnt that but you do quickly get to the place that this stage of your life where you realise time is your most valuable commodity. Then every once in a while and you know I don’t want to be too morbid or anything, you have a life event or two whether it’s health or something going on that just re-arranges you and focusses you on what your priorities should be and for me, mine are really clear, you know, I want to have good health, secondarily my daughters are my, you know, are my next passion and responsibility and focus and then after that, I want to do things that light me up and that excite me and, you know and so there’s plenty of things you have to do in a day but with my spare time, I am much more focussed on the things that are going to make me more excited, more energetic because you get that sense that like whatever number of years you have on this planet, they are finite and so why wouldn’t you use them for the things that excite you and make you feel passionate and alive and so I am thinking I’m at that stage of life and that’s pretty cool.

Elliot Moss
And I imagine that any given day, there’s a combination of work and a combination or, and I call work, I mean talking about Tristan Capital, and then there’s a combination alongside that of the more philanthropic things that you do. There’s a third element to this though for me which is not only do you have your own projects and your own view of what the world ought to look like and that’s thinking about the Black Heart Foundation and Impact X but you have a number of other responsibilities, I know these are generally turning up to the Boards, having conversation with Chairs but they are still significant, you are Trustee at Dartmouth College, I believe that you’re involved with the Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs, and there’s a couple of other things as well. How do you manage that? Is that simply, they just fit in on top? Or is that a stretch sometimes? Do you sometimes go, “I am human and I am tired and I have not got to have an hour’s conference call, they’re on the east coast of America, I’m here and by the way I’ve not got much to give. Come on Ric, I’ve got to give.” Is that, do you sometimes have to have that conversation?

Ric Lewis
Yeah, so one thing, you know, early in life and I think this was helpful and I don’t know how I fell into it but I’ve always split my life between three things: family, so family community, business, you know and then the philanthropy piece and so when I am doing one, it’s not uncommon for the other ones to know that that’s going to happen next so, my kids could see that in my life, you know, I am in a business meeting and the next meeting might be a board meeting in our own conference room and so, at some level I found a way to make it more efficient for people to understand that that overlap was going to happen but you are right, you know, there is difficulty and every once in a while you have to say to take stock and say, “Am I overcommitted?” and so I do have to go through and, I’m sure it’s not a lovely word but, cull some of my responsibilities to focus on the ones you want but the way I try to think about that is, I am pursuing more of my passion, not getting rid of something and so I want to do it responsibly and make sure that I leave it in a good place but every once in a while I have to go like, “You know what, I am on too many Boards or I have committed to too many things or I have said yes to too many speeches, presentations etcetera” and you realise you are human, go back to my priorities: health, wellness, looking after my daughters and having enough time with them present and focussed on their lives so, you know, there’s a concept we have in the Foundation which is ‘unlimited love, limited time’ means I love everybody but life forces you to ration so it doesn’t mean that I don’t have love for you, it’s just that like, I’ve got to choose and sometimes those are selfish choices but we’ve got to choose about what’s most important and what you can be most effective at and be very realistic that, you know, when I’ve talked about before about your super powers, you can’t be and do everything.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for my final chat with Ric Lewis, plus we’ll be playing a track from Junior Wells. That’s in just a moment, please don’t go anywhere.

That was Junior Wells with Messin’ With The Kid. Ric Lewis is my Business Shaper just for a few more minutes. This rich life that you’ve created for yourself and I say that in all sincerity, I mean, it is of your creation, it’s your energy and focus. When are you at your happiest?

Ric Lewis
I think, you know, around great friends. I mean and that can be business friends or my personal friends, you know, I think, some of my Irish friends say, “We are not here for a long time or here for a good time” and like having the presence of mind to know that those few moments where everyone’s laughing and telling stories and happy and, you know, out of the inevitable burden of your every day existence, those are my happiest moments like, you know, whether it’s three people or ten people, sometimes it’s even when we throw those parties like, I don’t even have to be in the middle of the party but just I can feel the energy of people going like, you know this is additive, it’s geometric where people are saying like, “I actually like that I am in the here and now” so, I think those are probably my happiest moments.

Elliot Moss
And thinking about money for a moment, we haven’t talked directly about it, obviously the business does well, you do well. What is your relationship like with money because, again, I meet all sorts of people where money for some people is their God and for other people it’s their servant, it strikes me you’re in the latter camp but is there a, do you worry about it? Do you like to know that X is in the bank or in the value of the business so that Y can happen over there? I mean, how does that equation work because we all have a very personal relationship with that commodity?

Ric Lewis
I have many friends that like have this concept of there’s a number and their whole world is striving to make a certain number and I just think, you know, with no disrespect to them because some of them are really good friends, I just don’t think that’s a great orientation of life. You know, I don’t want to pat myself too much on the back but I’ve had a pretty humble orientation about money and so, I’m at a place and, you know, this is a little controversial and not an invitation to call me to ask for some, let me be clear, is that I feel like I’ve got to the place where I have enough money to live on, you know, my basic priorities like do I have a home, are my kids’ education paid for, like, I’m not worried about the things that are the most critical parts of being what I deem as successful in life, can I like give my kids, my daughters, the opportunity and the freedom of choice to pursue whatever their dreams are like I want to do for other kids? That’s handled so everything else is fungible so why don’t I use all of that fungible stuff to do some cool and fun and crazy things? To give a little insight, at some level that’s my foundation and doing things in the community but then privately sometimes it’s just treating my friends and going like, “Yeah, we’re going to go to Florence for the weekend and I got this/” I’ve got to take a break, it’s like, you know people sit there and say, “Why do you want to be that generous?” and I’m like, “Because this is my idea of fun and if you’re all having a great time, like, why isn’t this a good way to spend a little bit of money?” and so, that’s my orientation is that I’m not going to take it with me so let’s figure out what we’re going to do with it.

Elliot Moss
Just before I ask you the last question, there’s something else as I have been listening to you I have been thinking about which is, what a philanthropist can do is work within the system, they can essentially say this is the structure, this is the macro economic picture, this is the problem with education and how it relates to kids from a disadvantaged background. Have you ever thought about changing the system? Have you every thought about, as many business people are now going into politics and saying this is just wrong? Or is that a place that you will not touch?

Ric Lewis
It’s a place that I will bounce off of, try to contribute but I do not want to be consumed by it. I don’t think that there is great ideas, I think vested interest in who is wrong or right is more important that the outcome too often so, to some extent, you know, this is my protest vote, like I want to work inside the system if the system wants to pay attention and contribute to delivering real, meaningful change and results but the foundation is that I am spending my own money and money contributed by friends and that all of the overhead of everything we do is paid for by me so, if you contribute one dollar, pound or euro to the Black Heart Foundation, you know it’s going to kids, that also gives me the freedom for no one to set the rules and the agenda. I know, like I can quantify what the results are and so you can’t argue with me that I am using the money well. Now, if you want to partner with me or you want to have a talk about it, it’s great but I don’t want to be consumed by your rules, your vested interest, which party is in charge, you know, what the, with all great respect, what the teachers’ union believes, you know, their vested interest because they want to survive and so maybe that’s a little bit heretic or rebel but that’s how I got to live.

Elliot Moss
That’s why you are an entrepreneur, Ric and that’s why you are the Founder of many things and you can do just what you like, which is great. It’s been an absolute pleasure talking to you. Thank you. Thank you for your time. Just before I let you go, it’s the what happens now if you were on that island equivalent, although here you are, whatever you are in the Jazz Shapers world. What’s your song choice and why have you chosen it?

Ric Lewis
So, it’s Leon Bridges. I mean, I just love his musicality. He came on the scene in 2015 and there is a song called Bad Bad News that I think represents the attitude, I mean like you know for me it’s a hypothetical vision that like, the kids that we’re helping, this is their, this is what they’d be saying or feeling, which is that like, you know, people told me I was born to lose but I have made a good, good thing out of bad, bad news. That’s just motivating and it’s just a great tune and great musicality.

Elliot Moss
That was Leon Bridges with Bad Bad News, the song choice of my Business Shaper today, Ric Lewis. He talked about building trust, the most critical thing in any business. He talked about being on his fourth life which I think is a fascinating concept, don’t settle with your first, second or even third one. And he talked about the combination of family, business and community and finally, I just have to throw it in, unlimited love but limited time. Really good stuff. That’s it from me and Jazz Shapers, have a super week.

We hope you enjoyed that edition of Jazz Shapers. You will find hundreds of more guests available for you to listen to in our archive. To find out more just search Jazz Shapers in iTunes or your favourite podcast platform or head over to mishcon.com/jazzshapers.

Founding the firm in 2009, Ric Lewis is the Executive Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Tristan Capital Partners – a London-based real estate investment management company with €11.0+Billion in AuM (Assets under Management), specialising in investment strategies in all property types across the UK, and continental Europe for global institutional, endowment and private wealth investors.

Tristan, headquartered in London, is majority-owned and autonomously managed by its principals with 140+ members of staff in eight locations across Europe, and has been voted by industry peers as the European Real Estate Private Equity Firm of the Year in 2014 and 2015, and won The Queen’s Award for Enterprise and International Trade 2017.

Outside of work, Ric gets involved with organisations dedicated to improving the pathways to, and the quality of education, especially for children from less advantaged areas and environments. In 2009, Ric founded his own UK and US registered charitable foundation, The Black Heart Foundation – dedicated to supporting initiatives that improve educational benefits for young people and providing opportunity to those who are otherwise denied it.

He also serves on a number of educational and community Boards including the Board of Trustees of Dartmouth College (USA), Board of Visitors for the Belfer Center – John F. Kennedy School of Government – Harvard University, Board of Governors of King Solomon and the Board of Trustees (Chairman) of The Institute of Imagination and The Board of Trustees of the Royal National Children’s Springboard Foundation.

Interview highlights

What we pride ourselves in doing is creating an incredible culture around a business idea.

We’ve created an environment where people really feel like they can thrive and grow.

You have to learn the basics of your craft.

To be successful in anything in life, you’ve got to find a way to bring passion and curiosity.

The ethos behind the firm is: we have to be confident, expert and creative, finding different things, markets and challenging opportunities.

I knew I had a responsibility to perform, to thank (my parents), to show my gratitude for the sacrifices they made.

I am at a stage in my life where I am considered an accomplished, venerable, professional and leader in the community and it just struck me that I am still that cheeky little kid.

Our goal is to remove the barriers to aspiration and achievement so that young people who are talented and committed can pursue their inspiration without impediment. 

The conversation about social mobility, the potential of not having a diverse talent base, and everything we want to do in this country has changed, but the execution hasn’t.

A big challenge is being able to say no more effectively.

I am much more focussed on the things that are going to make me excited.

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