Harry Harrison began envisioning his career in the financial services industry nearly 28 years ago while he was still inside the classroom. As an economics major at the University of Warwick and later as a graduate student at the University of Cambridge, Mr. Harrison became fascinated by macroeconomic forces and their effect on corporate strategy. This fascination would eventually lead him to one of his first career experiences, working as a derivatives trader. Mr. Harrison would later go on to manage teams of fixed income sales and trading traders before working with Barclays.
In 2003, after being transferred to New York with Barclays, Harry Harrison found himself with a new objective: establish Barclays as a major player in the US rates market. Realizing that a copycat strategy would not to work against dominant US investment banks, Mr. Harrison resorted to the strong electronic trading capabilities that Barclays had developed throughout Europe. At a time when electronic bond trading was starting to gain a foothold in the US, a time when no one was willing to disrupt the status quo that existed within the “voice” interest rate swap market, Mr. Harrison saw an opportunity; he helped to lead Barclays in a new direction. While under Mr. Harrison’s leadership, Barclays quickly became the dominant industry player, converting clients to Non-Core’s new form of execution.
After recently winding down $110 billion worth of businesses (which Barclays no longer wanted to be in), Harry Harrison has now stepped aside as Head of Barclays Non-Core, in order to spend more time with his family. Both Harry and his wife Amy spend their time together improving their physical, mental and spiritual well being, through the practice of yoga. The husband and wife team credit yoga with helping them to navigate the stresses of work and family life. Both Harry and Amy spend much of their time tending to their two small children and also to their play dates, upset stomachs, sprained wrists and homework assignments.
Since taking a break from working, Harry Harrison has rediscovered the pleasures of reading. Two of his recommended reads include Bill Gates’ “The Road Ahead” and Michiko Kakutani’s “The Death of the Truth”. His recommendations extend to entrepreneurs as well. Mr. Harrison shares advisory roles in venture capital, private equity and fintech firms.
Mr. Harrison cites his wife, Amy Nauiokas, who is also the founder and president of Anthemis Group, as being the one entrepreneur who he spends the most time with. Amy’s ventures have included premiering movies at film festivals and organizing a retreat at the top of a mountain in France, on the future of financial services.
When speaking of his own entrepreneurial strategy, Mr. Harrison advises that by tackling things as they arise and by avoiding long to-do lists, he finds increased productivity. One new piece of technology that he attributes to improving his productivity is Waze, a new navigation app. Other startup companies which have caught the attention of Mr. Harrison include fintech adjacency startups like Flo, KWH and Trov.
Harry Harrison advises other entrepreneurs to enjoy the journey as much as their results. He suggests that entrepreneurs should not only celebrate the good times, an entrepreneur should celebrate the interactions found in daily life as well. His belief is that nothing can beat the combination of diversity, humiliation and collaboration. Mr. Harrison leaves us with this quote from Dale Carnegie, “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”