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Meet Edward Buttery FICS: "Proof that persistence pays off"
Posted on Friday, July 7, 2023
Edward Buttery FICS has taken quite an adventurous route to get
where he is today - founder and CEO of Taylor Maritime Investments
as well as CEO of drybulk carrier Grindrod Shipping. He started on
his career path conventionally enough, undertaking an undergraduate
degree at Oxford University, before realising this was not the
direction he wanted to take.
"I didn't stay at university, so I went into shipping. So, I
embarked upon a 10-year self-teaching regime. I wanted to know
about chartering, setting up new companies, shipbuilding, banking
His first stop was at the Tanker desk at Clarksons, which led to
his ultimately taking on a role on the Supramax desk, where he
enjoyed a year learning about shipbroking. After that, he spent a
year at Pacific Basin, where his father, Chris, is Co-founder,
Chairman and CEO.
"I became Chartering Manager for the Atlantic Fleet. I did this
for a year and a half, and then Asia Maritime Pacific (AMP) was
founded. There was a lot happening there, they were ordering ships,
taking delivery of new ships and setting up offices. I went in as
Deputy COOand opened the Shanghai office. Here, I learned more
about ordering ships, working with Chinese shipyards and about
technical management. It was a very interesting time for me."
Persistence pays off
There were, however, other aspects of the industry he wanted to
discover as part of his self-teaching regime.
"I wanted to go into banking to learn about ship finance. I
applied to Cass Business School, now known as Bayes Business
School, but I didn't have the degree required to get in. I was
persistent though - I sent them an email once a week and called
them once a week. Eventually they called me - I think they just
wanted me to stop," he says with a smile, "They told me, if you do
well in your ICS exams, we'll let you in. So, I studied very hard
and got my place at Cass - thanks to ICS."
"I had a good time during my studies for my ICS exams. What I
particularly enjoyed was the prep week - the Institute should look
at reintroducing that. This gave me a good opportunity to meet
people in the industry. Some of the people I met at that time are
still friends now. I had an amazing time at Cass too, where I also
made some lifelong friends in shipping and graduated with
This was what Edward needed to get the role in finance he was
looking for; following his education at Cass he took up a role as
Assistant Relationship Manager at the Nordea Bank in Singapore.
"I was there for three years, and I learned how credit
committees work, how credit memos work and, with Nordea being such
a huge company, how a large corporate works."
Milestone maritime moment
After that, the market started dropping. Seeing the writing on
the wall, Edward decided to leave finance. This marked a turning
point in his career; it was then that he founded Taylor
"I wrote a business plan, and I had a partner, a shipowner from
Japan. But he had to go back home and work for his family business,
so there I was with just a plan - no business, no money. From 2013
to September 2014, I was busy rewriting the plan and raising the
money I needed."
His hard work paid off - he was soon able to purchase his first
ship - the Caribbean Frontier - with the help of institutional
investors and family offices, followed by four more.
"My dream was to have ten. I raised some more money and soon we
reached that target. I doubled down and raised more money.
Eventually we reached a peak of 51 ships."
At this stage, Edward decided to list some of the vessels on the
stock market, figuring that, with a debt free business, he could be
secure in his ability to pay a dividend to shareholders - what
followed was the listing of 32 vessels from his fleet.
"In our first year we returned 83% of the net asset value to our
shareholders. At this stage I thought, 'let's buy a shipping
company', so I bought Grindrod. I love shipping. Do you know what
it is I love about it? There are opportunities everywhere if you're
prepared to take a risk - a calculated risk, of course."
The tools to do the job well
Despite the positive outlook, Edward accepts that it's not
always easy, especially having gone public.
"You've got to run a fleet, understand the finance, be a HR
manager, be a politician, partially… but the tools I have gained
from ICS - and from Cass and Nordea, which were facilitated by ICS
- I use these tools all day, every day, seven days a week. I'm very
grateful to ICS, I wouldn't be where I am without them."
Today, Edward says, he continues to benefit from his ICS
membership as a senior manager within the industry.
"I think there are a lot of benefits associated with ICS
membership. For people taking up positions in other parts of the
world, their access to a network of like-minded people can be very
helpful. For me, today, my membership primarily offers me a
long-term benefit. Our industry needs bright people. Through the
ICS I get to meet students who, like me, are passionate about
shipping. I'm always very keen to encourage people to come into our
industry. I take my children onboard with me any chance I get!"
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