Former Rugby Australia elite coaching director Rod Kafer has traded in the tracksuits for actual suits for his new role at disruptor investment bank Invast Global.
The former Wallaby left his job at Rugby Australia in April this year before switching to the heady world of finance.
He wasn’t “even contemplating it”, but a meeting with Invast Global’s chief executive Gavin White changed that.
“We literally met for lunch, and he said ‘if you want to do it, let’s do it’, and I said, ‘I’ll start in two weeks time’. It’s those great moments in life where it’s almost spur of the moment, let’s do it, let’s have a challenge,” he said.
“I’ve loved my time in rugby, it’s such a wonderful thing to be involved with. And I had a real specific role at Rugby Australia. And, at the end of it, I didn’t actually feel like I could make too big a difference there … it didn’t provide me the opportunity that perhaps I thought it would.”
Finance is not totally new for Mr Kafer. Before becoming a professional rugby player, he worked as a proprietary trader.
However, his new job doesn’t involve trading. Rather, it’s about selling Invast Global’s services into hedge funds.
It’s been invigorating thus far, he said.
“Rugby has a great inherent network that underpins many of the boardrooms over Australia,” said Mr Kafer.
“If we said that rugby has its foundations sitting within the private schools of Sydney and Brisbane in particular, and some in Melbourne as well, many of the people out of those schools have historically found a career in financial services or some area and there is a pathway there.”
After having had several career changes, he emphasised that for any former professional athlete, career switches are “inevitable”.
“One of the great pieces of advice when I was finishing my career – and it stuck with me ever since – was ‘don’t let this sporting career be the highlight of your life, because you could end up being disappointed for the rest of your life, and never being able to achieve the highs of perhaps what you did’,” he said.
As a result, he was dedicated to finding new heights to reach for and fresh challenges to take on.
Mr Kafer is still set to go to Japan for seven weeks to commentate at the upcoming Rugby World Cup for Fox Sports.
As for his tip for the World Cup?
“I’d pick England and South Africa to play in the final. I’d love to think Australia could get there, but I think we might be stretched a little bit too far,” he said.
This article was originally published in The Australian Financial Review: https://www.afr.com/wealth/investing/former-wallaby-rod-kafer-joins-invast-global-20190909-p52peq