Balancing the Grind with David Harvie, Country Head of Direct Sales at Saxo Markets Australia

David Harvie is the Country Head of Direct Sales at Saxo Markets Australia, a leading FinTech specialist that connects people to investment opportunities in global capital markets. 

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I work as Country Head of Direct Sales at Saxo Markets Australia, a leading Fintech specialist that connects people to investment opportunities in global capital markets. 

Having worked in financial services with a focus on wealth management for 20 years, I was drawn to work at Saxo for two reasons. 

Firstly, it has integrity, dedicated to operating responsibly and offering simple, low-cost options for people to invest in their future. Saxo believes education and regulatory protections are crucial to creating win-win markets that encourage participation and protect new investors, which strongly resonates with me. 

Secondly, it has an impact, believing in democratising market access and empowering people to harness money and wealth for shaping the change they want to see in the world. Saxo created a Money Matters video series that explains this concept really well. 

In my role at Saxo, I am responsible for designing and executing strategies to grow sales as well as improve customer experience and retention for Saxo’s suite of investment offerings, while overseeing the team of local relationship managers.

I am a strong advocate of simplifying often complex financial strategies and terms so our clients are empowered and feel confident to make informed financial and investment decisions. 

I love the relationship building aspect of my role. I’ve done a lot of travelling, so

My experience with and interest in different cultures and philosophies helps me in developing strong relationships with people from a diverse range of backgrounds.

I have also been a Keynote, MC and Professional Speaker for almost 30 years, with a focus on wealth creation, leadership and entrepreneurship. 

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my young family, or challenging myself with various race or charity cycling events. I am an active committee member of our Cycling Club, The American Chamber of Commerce, as well as other networking groups.

 2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I like to start early – most days I’m up by about 5:30am to beat the traffic. I definitely am mindful of how I start my day and usually do it with a small act of gratitude. It may sound corny, but just a short prayer or diary entry on what I’m grateful for and looking forward to helps set the tone for the day.

I also like to enjoy the commute with a podcast, usually business or mindset related. I generally get to the gym about 7am and do cardio for about 30 minutes, and then at the desk by 8am.

Each day, I have a simple list, setting out urgent and important items, categorised by what must be done, would be nice to get done, and what can be rescheduled or delegated.

I engage with my teams globally (from Sydney, to Singapore, to Copenhagen!) both on a formal and informal basis, making sure we share our weekly plans and daily updates. 

There’s plenty of client interaction as well, which I thrive on. This part of the job can be fairly high volume depending on the market movements of the day. 

Most nights, about 6pm I will head back to the gym for a workout, and try to get home by 730pm. On weeknights, I try to read books or write in my diary – I try to limit TV during the week.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine? 

Yes, there is the option to work from home, however I prefer being in the office for at least part of the day. 

I value flexibility when it comes to the hours I work, rather than where I work. It is never an issue if I need to adapt my working hours to accommodate school pickups and drop offs, appointments or early finishes as required. 

There is travel in the role, both interstate and internationally. I’m lucky that Saxo’s technology and infrastructure makes working from any of our global offices a seamless experience. 

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

This is a great question! For me work-life balance means achieving what I wish to, across the spectrum of life.

My main areas of focus are: work, health, personal growth and development, and family.

Balance means that during the week, then the month, and over the year, various aspects of this spectrum will ebb and flow. This spectrum is fluid, but all must be moving towards their respective targets – albeit at a different rate at different times. 

I have lofty ambitions for all areas of my life. For example, our eldest boy has just started High School, so being a great tutor for him is a priority. I also have ambitious health goals, I still have my MBA to complete, and big goals to make Saxo Markets Australia one of the top performing trading and investment platforms across APAC and globally!

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life? 

Yes! I mentioned this before, but finding ways to express gratitude have become important in my life. This means taking the time to be thankful for what I have, what I am achieving and who I am helping. 

I have also started meditating. I follow Goodful on YouTube, which does a great guided meditation. It’s just 10-minutes long, so it’s easy to slot into a busy day – I find it incredibly effective.

Also, getting back into a routine after two years of pandemic-related interruption has really helped. Lockdowns made it very difficult to do all the little things I mentioned around daily routine, whereas now that is building nicely.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

If you can get a copy – You Inc. by John McGrath. I like to listen to Jim Rohn, Dr John Demartini and Wayne Dyer in the car. 

I’ve also been listening to the Audiobook version of Atomic Habits by James Clear. I’ve realised over the last few years, how I can get stuck sometimes looking at the mountain to climb (or what seems to be) but as they say, ‘an inch is a cinch’!

If you are stuck for time, check out: The Quote of the Day Show with – Sean Croxton.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Well, Bluetooth on the phone lets me listen in the car, when I’m at the gym, whenever I can, so I tend to use that simple little tool quite often!

I do use colour coding on my calendar – from personal, to sales, to clients, planning and more. I will forward plan, but also go back and check, to get a sense as to anything starting to get out of balance.

I personally love Excel for planning, especially for sales planning and recording progress. Beyond work, I also use it for mapping out my studies and managing my own portfolio for building wealth.  

For health, I love Strava for recording workouts and MyFitnessPal for diet.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?   

I see a lot of value in Dr John Demartini’s perspective on life because he gives you the tools to view things from another standpoint and flip questions on their head. 

For example, most of us ask “How can I work really hard, to finally save, and then go do what I love?” He instead postulates, ‘How can you create balance in life, so that you do what you love and get rewarded for it?” 

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

As Frank Sinatra said – ‘I did it my way’. Well, please do this, your way. There are a million methods for having a ‘perfect day’ or an ‘ideal week’. I would find myself comparing what I did to others in different circumstances to me, and feel like I’d come up short. 

This is your work-life balance, so I really encourage you to do this your way – not against some ideal of others.

But hey, you can make a start and I really would want any reader to make that start and celebrate what you can do – not what you have not done. None of us will get this right all the time, but in the attempt, we can hopefully focus on the most important part here – you.

For if not now, when? If not you, who? Progress not perfection.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.