One of Australia’s most respected businessmen, Rodney Adler talks business with Australia Business News.
There is much more to Rodney Adler than what meets the eye. He is an extremely talented businessman with 3 degrees and a history and passion for philanthropy. He has been in business for four decades and has much wisdom and experience to impart. We had the joy of speaking to Rodney firsthand about his time as a corporate mogul and where that has led him to today. His success in business as a venture capitalist and financier is well known but he does spend a considerable amount of his time coaching and mentoring others. Frequently, when Rodney takes an equity interest in a company part of his role is to advise his partner on restructuring, finance, the value of accounting, different opportunities and a different viewpoint. He believes a part of his job after taking an interest is to be a sounding board for its partner and to help provide advice on a range of subjects to enhance the company for all shareholders.
From his starting days working at one of the “Big Four” accounting organisations, Deloitte, Rodney has had ability to seek out many opportunities and utilise his extensive contact list to introduce people to each other and to invest with colleagues and importantly to receive numerous proposals on a weekly basis for consideration.
His time at Deloitte started after he graduated from a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of New South Wales. Once accepted at Deloitte he was promoted to a position where he was able to run his own audits, which he enjoyed immensely stating subsequently that it’s “the best experience to learn about business”. Whilst working full-time at Deloitte he undertook a combined Chartered Accounting and Masters degree (at Macquarie University) which he finished part-time in two years. This enabled Rodney to leave Deloitte after three years, having done the pre-requisite time to be a qualified chartered accountant, and obtaining two new degrees to complement his Bachelor of Commerce degree.
After his studies, Rodney spent a year in London learning more about insurance whilst having the opportunity to work at three different firms specialising in insurance in London. Rodney’s goal was always to work for FAI Insurances Limited and everything up to that first job at FAI was just building knowledge and experience for that role. Always involved in insurance whilst the FAI, but his specific first responsibility was investment. Over the years as his responsibilities with the insurance operations grew, his time was more and more devoted to that side of the business but investment, always an integral part of an insurance company was always present and significantly necessary as it was this side of the business that produced the profits but it was the insurance side of the business that was the cash flow and therefore providing the funds for investment prior to claims being paid. His involvement with Australian-based telecommunication company One.Tel however, is one of the most notable successes to say the least. From an investment of just $1.5 million, FAI saw continuous generous dividends and capital returns within seven years culminating in the eventual sale of all of FAI’s stock yielding a profit above $110 million.
Alongside returning FAI to profitability and investing in promoting many small businesses along the way as part of his investment portfolio, Rodney Adler has been committed to philanthropy for the majority of his adult life. He is actively involved in charities and organisations that he holds important. The family donates to a wide variety of charities and educational institutions. Some of which include St Vincent’s Hospital, Jewish House, Children’s Hospital Melbourne and beyondblue. In addition to this, the family regularly donates personal scholarships to various educational institutions such as the University of New South Wales, Cranbrook School, Mount Scopus Memorial College and the Australian Graduate School of Management at the University of New South Wales.
Rodney now practices as a venture capitalist, experienced corporate governance adviser, short-term financier and general consultant. His passion has been investing in and helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses in the most ethical, productive and successful way possible. Rationalising as he gets older, Rodney has told us of his future plans to have fewer investments with more quality people allowing him to spend more time concentrating on those few investments and philanthropic work.
Today, Rodney has a number of investments in Australia and an interest in a very successful mortgage originator in America which he founded four years ago with a group of colleagues in America. He is always on the lookout for new investments and enjoys meeting people and discussing business with them. He is mostly in the office by 5:30 AM where he has a full day.
Chatting with Rodney Adler was enjoyable as he is smart, articulate with a great sense of humour. In the end, he has had to date quite a journey and is looking forward to the next 30 years.
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