David Fletcher transferred from London to Singapore in early 2019 to take up the position of Head of APAC Cash Distribution at State Street Global Advisors. HFC’s Stefan Nilsson checked in with David to talk about cycling, mountaineering books, hawker food, the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Clan Fraser of the Highlands, lunchtime jungle walks and much more.
From where and how do you get your daily general news updates?
Always online these days – plenty from Bloomberg, the FT and, locally, the Straits Times and SCMP. I always check BBC News on my phone to keep up on things back in the UK. Our organisation puts out a lot of market news so there’s a steady stream in the inbox to keep up to date.
What do you do to unwind on a weekend?
I have a two- and a four-year-old at home so weekends are about making life fun for them – trips to the zoo, aquarium and swimming pool mainly. A Saturday pre-dawn walk with my wife always gets things off to a relaxing start. I’m a keen cyclist, so try to get out with my local club when possible and safe distancing guidelines permitting these days!
Can you name a great book you have recently read?
I love a good mountaineering book, but don’t get much spare time to read currently. I try to listen to a few podcasts, however, such as “Freakonomics” and “Stuff You Should Know”.
Your soundtrack of choice?
Currently, a Spotify playlist called “Ambient House” – I find it helps me concentrate whilst working from home, especially when the kids get back from school.
What drink do you start the day with and what drink finishes it?
Coffee, the stronger the better, quickly followed by another coffee. I always have a pint of water before bed and at the weekends often enjoy a chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
What’s the worst money mistake you’ve made?
Buying my London flat at the peak of the market in 2007, though perhaps in 20 years’ time it won’t be…
Have you ever had a great mentor and what did you learn?
I’ve had two. One showed me how to take pleasure from being outdoors in nature as a teenager, the other what you can achieve with the right mindset and an insatiable will to succeed – whilst having fun doing it!
What gives you energy?
Being in the mountains and wild places is something I need to do every now and then to re-charge and, day to day, my work and the challenges and opportunities it presents give me plenty.
How do you stay grounded and focused as a person in these turbulent and fast-changing times?
Generally, by trying not to worry about things that are genuinely outside of my control and keeping myself organised and systematic in my approach to work.
Can you name a terrific restaurant that you love?
Singapore is blessed with a fantastic hawker culture and a melting pot of cuisines, so we are spoilt for choice really. I love to grab a few sticks of satay and a cold beer at Lau Pa Sat after work, when the street closes to traffic. It’s a great spot to bring visitors too as well.
What’s your favourite museum in the world?
I loved the Vasa Museum in Stockholm – an almost perfectly preserved wooden warship from 1628. I’ve never seen anything like it, it really brought history to life.
Are you active on social media and what do you actually use it for?
Apart from LinkedIn, no.
Do you have any secret guilty pleasure that you are prepared to reveal here?
The series “Outlander” on Netflix. It’s an easy watch to de-stress at the end of the day – and is “loosely” based on some of my ancestors – Clan Fraser of the Highlands.
What kind of battle dress do you normally put on for work?
Suit trousers and shirt without a tie, that seems to be the norm in Singapore’s heat. Working from home during COVID-19 has been a little more casual when not on client Zoom calls.
Do you celebrate your wins? If so, how?
Yes – each one is definitely worth celebrating and we do so as a global team with “virtual drinks” when we can.
What makes you happy?
Above all else my family and friends. My kids are at an age where they are a constant source of fun. Other than that, seeing hard work paying off as we grow the business and being able to go for a walk in the jungle at lunchtime all keep me cheerful.