In 2013 former England, Bath Rugby, Wasps, Gloucester Rugby and London Welsh winger, Tom Voyce, swapped his boots and socks for a suit and tie, and embarked on a new career in London’s financial district. The 33-year-old is now into his second year at foreign exchange company, Baydonhill and chats to the RPA about his new role and how he’s finding life after rugby.
Tom you’re currently working at Baydonhill, can you explain what the company actually does?
Baydonhill is a foreign exchange company, which means we deal on a deliverable basis only, with bank to bank transfers, so no cash. We work in the same market as Western Union, Travelex and Moneycorp.
What is your specific role at Baydonhill?
My main role is finding new business and also looking after existing business, so a lot of client relations is involved. My job also features going out to events and in particular networking events, to press the flesh and look at new opportunities and obviously try to attract new clients.
How did this position come about?
I was invited to host a shooting event soon after I retired for a charity called, ‘Wooden Spoon’, who I ambassador for, and luckily there were about 60 people from various financial backgrounds in the room. It was there I met my current boss who was very impressed by the fact that I was quite outspoken and was able to go out and present myself well in front of a big audience. So we started having a conversation over a couple days in the office, looking at how FX works and if the role would work for me. I really liked the direction the company was heading and how they did business, so it was a perfect fit.
Have you always been interested in pursuing this career path?
To be honest yes, I have always wanted to work in the city, because that’s where the money is. I was very lucky to have had an amazing rugby career, where I played with some fantastic players and won many trophies. But staying in the rugby world would had been the easy option and I felt the challenge wasn’t there anymore. I have always been interested in trading, and I have a background in agriculture so I wanted to try my hand at trading grain, but I after finding Baydonhill I swayed towards FX because it was easy to learn and understand.
What do you find is the most enjoyable part of your new career?
I love waking up in the morning and heading into the city! You get off the tube and you instantly have the buzz of London and everyone else is heading into work too, so you feel like your achieving something. Also my role is completely different every day so it’s not like I’m stuck in front of my desk and computer all the time. I can go out to client meetings, we have golf days etc, so every day and every week is varied which suites me perfectly.
You retired from professional rugby in 2013, how did you find the transition into a new career?
It was a little bit different for me because it also occurred in a period when I was playing. There were certain issues which left not just myself but various players in the middle of a bad situation. During that period I made the time to go into London, meet 50 to 60 people and talk about the various industries to get into. Luckily London Welsh came to the rescue, which put my city ambitions on hold for a further year but it did give me an insight into what was out there. The biggest thing for me though was the anxiety around it, because it seemed like I had nothing to aim for and I needed a direction to head towards. In many ways coming out of that shock situation helped me when I did actually retire.
What was the first thing you did after you retired?
For me I always need to feel like I’m moving forward. I was tempted to do three months travel but I knew I would lose my head, so I only took a month and then went straight into my new job. I find that I challenge myself more when I’m chucked in at the deep end and have to learn to swim, it’s the ultimate test.
Are there times you wish you were still out there playing?
No not really! It’s really bizarre, I often see some of the old boys out around town and to be honest I don’t miss it at all. For me it feels like I have my life back, and my weekends allow me now to do different things, like going to my mate’s weddings and spending time away.
How important do you think it is for young players to be planning for a career after rugby?
I think nowadays it’s more important for young players to start planning for a different career. The younger generation don’t seem to get the access or don’t like having the access to go into boxes after games. We all know it’s a pain, and no one really likes doing it, but for me it was a great opportunity to build up a black book. When I took up a professional rugby contract, my father always told me that the one thing I needed to do was utilise the people I met in rugby and I think that’s really important.
In your opinion, do young players know what they want to do after rugby?
I think it’s changed since my time, young players live more of a footballer’s lifestyle and the salaries are bigger than they once were. For me it was always a case of having one eye on the future and being aware that one day you may get the surprise that can you can’t play anymore. My advice to young players would be to always look to the future and know what you would like to do, so if the unexpected happens you’re ready.
Did the RPA play a role in helping you find a new career?
The RPA were fantastic all my career. Caroline Guthrie was great when I was at London Welsh and Josh Frape was brilliant when I was at Gloucester Rugby. The great thing about the RPA is that they do have contacts and have many networks that you can tap into.
Finally, what’s the best thing about being retired?
I think the best thing is that I can a book a holiday when I want, and not have to worry about returning to training in a reasonable shape (laughs). But in all serious, it just gives you some more time to spend with your family and friends and do some of the things you missed out on when you were playing.