Interview with Ricky Matthews (Asia IFA) | Life Hacker Guy
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Interview with Ricky Matthews (Asia IFA)

Written by Adam

8 min read

Hi Ricky,

Thank you for taking time to answer some questions from me today.

As with many expats with families, we first met at school and then bumped into each other several times at a popular restaurant. Being a fellow Brit, it was easy to fall into discussing related topics; comedy, football (although I am not a fan) and inevitably Brexit – yikes!

Two topics where we overlapped in particularly was running, with me being a runner/triathlete many years ago, and more recently my interest in investment/finance. So, it would be great to spend some time asking you some questions on your Investment Business and your RunRickyRun charity.

So, thank you for spending the time today and let’s jump straight into some questions.

1. It was interesting to hear your experiences of being a long-term expat. Where have you been based and for how long now?

I moved from the UK to Asia in April 2004. Initially to Tokyo, Japan and then moved to Malaysia in 2011/2012. So, in my 15th year overseas in Asia now.

2. You are currently running 6 marathons in one-year as part of a campaign you have set up called RunRickyRun. Could you let us know why you set this up and a bit about your progress so far?

Ricky Matthews Medal PoseI did my first marathon in London in April 1990. So far, I have run 17 marathons (16 of which are Majors). In Marathon running there is a global challenge which is to complete the 6 Abbots World Marathons. So far about 4,300 people have achieved their “6 star”.

I have always undertaken one challenge per year to raise money for charity. Typically raising around $2,000-3,000 for charity without really trying too hard to market. Normally these charities are children related.

As I am getting older and that my knees have a few issues, I decided to run all the 6 Majors in 12 months for a larger charity push – probably a midlife crisis lol.

runRICKYrun is a project that I launched at the end of last year. It involves me running these 6 majors in 12 months and coordinating this for the benefit of selected charities. All money raised is directly donated to the charity. I set up runRICKYrun as a website and started to look for sponsors for the project – we have been fortunate to pick up a few companies that have assisted the project either with goods or donations.

BrooksMalaysia are the kit sponsors, IFA-ASIA have funded the project (Travel/Accommodation), we have support from Asia Physio in KL, The Running Plan have provided the schedule for my training. Inseanity have provided personalised running shirts for the tour.

I was appointed to be Ambassador for Howei for the past year which has provided me access to many races in Malaysia which I use for the bulk of my training.

Financially we have received large donations direct to charity from Montreux and Prosperity Wealth – both UK based companies that I have connections too via my company.

So far, we have raised just over $18,000 USD in donations directly to the charities. I have been able to complete successfully the Boston Marathon (April 2018), Berlin Marathon (Sep 2018), Chicago Marathon (October 2018) and New York Marathon (Nov 2018). I have two more Majors booked in for Tokyo Marathon in March 2019 and finishing in London Marathon in April 2019. More information can be found on

Run Ricky Run Charity Logo

3. Your business is based in Japan running an Independent Financial Advice (IFA) business. How did you get into this and what exactly do you do?

It has been a long journey…. Starting in December 1990 working for an insurance company in the UK. I have worked in many positions from advisory and into management over the last 28 years. With insurance companies and also for banks in the UK.

I decided in 2004 to take an opportunity in Tokyo and see how that goes. I had 5 successful years working for an IFA in Tokyo and decided to start the process to set up my own business in 2009. In 2011 we branched out into Malaysia.

We focus predominately on advising foreign individual clients how to save and invest via some globally recognised companies and financial structures.

Asia IFA logoWe focus predominately on advising foreign individual clients how to save and invest via some globally recognised companies and financial structures. The advisory process involves getting to know the client. Looking at their current situation, their dreams and aspirations for the future. Then based on this information we identify shortfalls or anomalies in their planning.

We recommend some alternative solutions for these areas of need. The process is very much a discussion-based approach with full reasoning and recommendations around these areas.

4. Do you invest your money into your own money and what strategies do you follow?

I certainly do – that way I also feel the pain if things do not go to plan.

Diversification is a key strategy – allocating monies to different asset classes.

This reduces the overall risk of investing.

We also look to use other strategies like “cost averaging” where possible too.

There are many “right ways” to invest and save. You just need to find the right way for you.

5. I know that we briefly discussed the options for UK expats because of the constraints on being able to continue to invest in the UK once you leave. Do you have any recommendations you can offer? Of course, this isn’t financial advice but some things that expats should maybe avoid.

Cannot provide any specific advice in this blog, however there are some pitfalls to avoid for sure.

Expats normally have a lifestyle that adapts to the place that they are living. Typically, they earn more money whilst living overseas (than they would at home) and also in many cases paid in a lower taxed environment.

Unfortunately, I have also seen many people who enjoy the new lifestyle too much and then return home with nothing to show for the years working overseas.

The key is to maximise their savings whilst they can and take advantage of the “enhanced” situation as much as possible. If they do this, they will return home in a better position financially. Unfortunately, I have also seen many people who enjoy the new lifestyle too much and then return home with nothing to show for the years working overseas.

It is important to ensure that any option selected has the flexibility required for the expat to – remember lifestyles change and sometimes expats are sent home early.

6. Where do you see your business going in the next 5 to 10 years?

Very hard to tell as times are changing for the IFA industry.

I see us looking to build the value of the assets under management (AUM) for our clients.

Due to ongoing changes in regulations, the role of an IFA is very much changing to a service role, similar to other professions like lawyers and accountants. These changes in regulation will evolve over time. So very interesting….. watch this space.

7. You often travel for work and your RunRickyRun charity, how do you balance this along with family life?

Ricky's FamilyI have had over 110 flights this year, for business, personal issues in the UK and also running. So you could say that travel has been a constant evil in my life this year.

The only way I can achieve a balance is that I try to be very organised and have a clear plan for the week/month ahead – as well as getting up early and going to bed late. I have tried to use technology in my day to day as much as possible and also to outsource some key responsibilities to make life easier. Balancing work and planning the runRICKYrun activities takes time.

I have also had to be dedicated to the training – early morning runs before the sun rises and the heat makes running impossible – the aim here is 4 times per week. Then family time is early evening during the week and then mainly at weekends (outside of races and work travel).

It will be easier next year as my work strategy in Japan will involve less flights and longer trips and combining that with only two overseas races (both of which my family will come too)…. Fingers crossed anyway.

8. We have discussed a number of times the benefits of living in Malaysia, indeed as an Expat in general. Do you see yourself going back to the UK in the future?

I have no immediate plans to live in the UK again in the foreseeable future.

My life has been in Asia for 15 years and the longer we stay outside the harder it will be to go back formally. I would say that at least until the children are in secondary school I can see us remaining here in Malaysia.

Maybe after that…… maybe…..

Getting in touch with Ricky

Thanks for your time again Ricky. If you want to get in touch to find out more either about the RunRickyRun charity or Ricky’s IFA business I have provided the links below.

It would be great if you can donate to any of Ricky’s charities, you can do so below:

About the Life Hacker Guy

Hi, I'm Adam the founder of the Life Hacker Guy.
I have a First Class Honours degree in Sports Science from Brighton University, specialising in exercise physiology and nutrition. In my youth I was a competitive Triathlete and long-distance runner placing top 10 in most triathlon races I completed. Since suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I moved into web development, after a couple of years I then moved onto developing a number of online businesses. I've recently taken a sabbatical and I'm now looking to make big changes in my life, hopefully this may resonate with you - join me in my journey!

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