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The invisible hand

Jack Aldane spoke to Paul Szkiler, CEO of Truestone Impact Investment Management, about his early life, his investment philosophy, and how the firm has grown into one of west Africa’s most innovative impact investors
Paul Szkiler, CEO of Truestone Impact Investment Management

The coat of arms of the City of London might bear the motto: ‘Lord, guide us’ but Paul Szkiler, CEO of Truestone Impact Investment Management, believes in a deeper truth.

“Remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” he recites to me when asked which teachings from the Bible might resonate with his profession.

Szkiler’s faith combined with hard work, opportunism, and a canny nose for a deal has driven Truestone to become an innovative player in African development finance. The firm has broken new ground in its approach to investment and the journey of its charismatic founder has been a key part of its success.

Born in Huddersfield in West Yorkshire during the British textiles boom of the fifties, Szkiler came from a working class family. His father, a Polish immigrant who had been a victim of forced labour at the hands of the Nazis, was employed in a mill while his mother took various jobs in the textiles industry. Szkiler’s memories of church as a boy are of carrying the Scouts’ flag to Sunday service each month and of singing in the church choir. Twelve shillings was the going rate for his vocal talent at wedding ceremonies but back then religious faith played only a ceremonial place in his life.

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