What Matters To You, Matters Most: Jim Hale

By First Republic Client, Jim Hale, Founding Partner of FTV Capital,
April 27, 2015

"The three decade trajectory of my career has been defined by innovation and growth. First Republic has been my bank every step of the way."

What tips do you have for young people who may be interested in your field of work? 

The three greatest things that I’ve learned over the years are:

1. Do what you’re good at – if you do, you will do a better job and like it more.
2. Faster is better than slower, and more is better than less.
3. Try to work with people you like.

What do you appreciate most about your relationship with First Republic? 

The unique thing about First Republic is its continuity over thirty years. As we have changed - inevitably every customer changes over that multi-decade period of time – the Bank has evolved with us. We’ve seen evolution geographically and through new product offerings. Our personal needs started with a partnership buy-in loan almost 30 years ago, and shortly after moved to home loans and family accounts. As we started FTV Capital 17 years ago, the Bank provided a capital call line between us and our limited partners – something that was not widely done at the time. When we lived in New York, First Republic was our bank just as they were in San Francisco for both personal and business banking. First Republic has also built relationships with the next generation of our family and is helping to review our trusts. And, most importantly, the same individuals have been there. That’s something that can’t be appreciated enough in today’s highly digital third-party relationship world. The Bank focuses on relationships, and we appreciate that.

What's your advice for young entrepreneurs? 

One thing I’ve learned from being an entrepreneur is that it’s harder than it looks. A lot of people talk about innovation and entrepreneurship, but they don’t really know what it means. I remember years ago, I was on a diligence call with potential European investors at 6 am one rainy morning, the only one in the office. During the call I heard an odd sound and looked up to find two ceiling tiles swollen with water, leaking onto the office floor. As I hung up I just started laughing, thinking here I am on a call with institutional investors and now I have to fix a leak in the roof. That is entrepreneurship. The part they don’t teach you in business school.

How do you define success at this point in your life? 

I’ve committed to doing an Iron Man with my son and I’m involved in a startup business with another of my children. I’ve also determined that I would have fun being on outside public boards, outside of our portfolio. If I’m successful in any of those three areas, I would say I’m happy. I’m not too concerned about ‘when’ any more. The good news is that at a certain age, you can take your foot off the accelerator.  I’m not saying you want to get out of the driver’s seat, but you can reduce the speed a little bit. 

Being a father has played an important role in your life. Can you speak to this? 

Being married, and a father, has taught me a lot. Marriage teaches compromise. Having children teaches a lot more, including sacrifice. I think those are all excellent things to have well in hand before you start a partnership. And that is how life lessons translate to business lessons. As my children have gotten older, and now that I’m a grandfather, I’ve enjoyed it much more. There are all sorts of adages about grandchildren and how wonderful they are and why they’re wonderful. No matter what folks told me about how much fun it is to have grandchildren, I was completely unprepared for the blessing of grandchildren. And I am thoroughly enjoying it at this point.