How International Investor Matt Dennis Brings Ideas to Life

3 Mins read

Matt Dennis of Austin, Texas spent more than 21 years with INVESCO as a Senior Portfolio Manager before starting his current project, family investment vehicle S5 Capital. During his tenure at INVESCO, he helped to grow assets under management (AUM) from $5 billion to $35 billion across several International and Global equity mandates.

Matt attributes his team’s success to adhering to consistent processes and a durable philosophy of how to manage money. He also credits regular engagement with clients via written and verbal content to cultivate long-term, mutually valuable relationships and increased clarity around how and why client money is allocated to investment opportunities.

Since leaving INVESCO, Matt Dennis has been providing private financial consulting through S5 Capital. Many of the habits that Matt cultivated while at INVESCO and in his former role as a London-based equity strategist remain part of his daily schedule, helping him to prioritize, set goals, stay abreast of trends, and keep his relationships at the forefront of his busy life.

Bringing Ideas to Life

Matt credits much of his personal and professional success to a lifelong study of the importance of process and personal growth that informs his appreciation for living a structured, purposeful life. He adheres to a disciplined schedule that allows him to spend the early part of his days on creative work and big ideas, taking advantage of his highest levels of motivation and energy. His afternoons are reserved for administrative, lower-value pursuits before recharging in the evenings. He is also a proponent of OPA, the Outcome/Purpose/Action framework, in order to prioritize his goals and mitigate the risk of losing sight of how small tasks fit into the bigger picture of what he’s working to accomplish.

For example, Matt uses the OPA framework to create a “Top 16” priority list each year, broken down into 4 professional, 4 family, 4 personal, and 4 friendship goals. At the start of each calendar year, he divides a letter-sized piece of paper into 4 columns and 4 rows. The columns are titled, “Professional, Family/Fun, Personal, Friendships,” and are used to list four things he’d like to accomplish in each category during the next 12 months.

Matt will use this framework for ideas like cultivating business relationships under “Professional”, or a specific vacation idea under “Family/Fun.” He also keeps track of classes he’d like to take or skills he’d like to learn.

Each item then receives a clear OPA; by starting with the Outcome he hopes to achieve, Matt is able to retain focus on the end result and avoid getting caught up in a daily to-do list that might derail progress towards his intended Outcome. The “Purpose” component requires that Matt then clarifies in words “why” this Outcome is important. Without a clear, defined purpose many ideas end with failure. The “Action” section requires Matt to clearly identify each of the specific steps needed to reach the Outcome he has mapped out. Unlike many of the goal-orientated processes, adding the simple yet powerful step of being clear on “purpose” ensures that he leverages his conscious and subconscious motivations to catalyze actions that ultimately reinforce the likelihood of successfully achieving the desired outcome. Rather than get weighed down with the small daily tasks that don’t serve to get you any closer to your bigger picture, OPA can be used to eliminate many useless “to-dos” from your list.

Prioritizing Whole Body Health

In addition to his professional work, which takes up a good portion of his days, Matt invests heavily in physical, emotional, and intellectual health. He makes time for a stretching/core/breath/gratitude routine in the morning, a daily workout, quality time with family, and is a voracious reader. Matt credits these activities to his ability to bring ideas to life and succeed professionally.

It is reading that has given Matt many ideas and opportunities, which he records in a digital journal. In recent years, Matt has also taken a great interest in cooking, calling it a rewarding creative outlet.

Although Matt Dennis has created a balanced, healthy life full of activities that excite him and bring him joy, he still has some advice to offer those just getting started professionally:

“Save more, early in life. Take more risks, early in life. Travel more, early in life. Read more. Embrace accountability. Cultivate relationships with mentors early in life and keep renewing the list. Compound – all the exceptional returns in life are derived from compounding. Don’t waste time or energy with business partners or employers who don’t value culture and the best of what a good culture has to offer. They either walk the walk (or they don’t). Move on if the latter and don’t look back.”

As a big-picture, highly efficient achiever, Matt Dennis is worth listening to.


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