We’ve spoken to various senior financial services professionals over the past few months, who have all offered their fair share of advice for those lower down the ranks. Below are the best pieces of advice they’ve offered – whether you see it as educational, inspirational or just a dose of reality, take from it what you will.
“I still contend that the best advice I have given clients has been when not to do a deal. While there is no transaction and no fee paid as a result, it engenders trust and loyalty and cements the cherished trusted advisor relationship.
“I would encourage [my younger self] to embrace career opportunity when it presents itself; work hard, but don’t forget to have fun along the way; never take yourself too seriously; and definitely go talk to that girl at the bar – she just might become the mother of your four kids!”
“The advice I’d give to myself if I was starting out again would be to be more patient. Along the way, things can take a little longer than you’d envisaged – especially if you have children. It’s about recognising that is OK, and that your career doesn’t have to be linear.”
“I love photography and I lived politics at university,” said Hands. “But let me be clear – I don’t think I would have made a good photographer and I’m certain that I would have made a bad politician. I found the right thing for me early on and I didn’t let other passions distract me.”
“What matters is experience and judgement. If you have experience but not good judgement, it’s not very helpful. If you have good judgement, experience will make you a better banker. You become better the more deals you make – it’s like fine wine, it helps to mature.”
“Development of new ideas can take longer, you may have fewer chances to get something right and client relationships are generally longer in duration. I am generally interested in the career decisions that people take. Why did they decide to do a particular course or join a specific employer? We commit to employees for the long term, and we are looking for people to do the same to us.”
“We need to prepare for the next generation, and our future portfolio managers come through from analysts – 70% of our PMs were analyst here first. Some firms will hire a lot of people knowing there will be a shake out after a couple of years. We can’t afford to do that – we have a rigorous approach to recruitment and every analyst we hire should have the potential to be a successful portfolio manager.”
“There are a number of reasons people don’t make it to associate, but often it’s about having the maturity to manage down as well as up. Associates are both more exposed to clients, but they also have to begin to manage people. What’s more, even juniors – which are knee-deep in the financial analytics – are expected to have an opinion on a deal.”
“The one common element among our analysts is that they’re passionate, bordering on obsessive, about the sectors they cover.”