I have a strong management team, which supports me in managing and running the business. My responsibilities include setting the strategic direction of Raymond James including governance, risk management, business development, HR, finance, programme delivery and IT.
As a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), I am a member of the Institute’s Wealth Management Professional Forum and Disciplinary Committee. I’m also a member of the Wealth Management Association (WMA) European Strategy Working Group and a mentor to start-up businesses in the London Business School’s Summer Entrepreneurship Programme. I am an ambassador for Co-operation Ireland Youth Leadership Programme – a charitable organisation that seeks to identify young people that need support in building safer and healthier lives with a strong focus on local communities.
I joined Chase Manhattan Bank in London after doing an undergraduate Business Studies degree at Trinity College, Dublin. I spent ten years working at Chase Manhattan in a Sales and Relationship Management role in New York, Frankfurt and London. While at Chase, I completed both the Associate Development (ADP) and the Financial Analyst (Credit) training programmes. I then moved into a Corporate Development role looking at make, partner or buy decisions in a Munich-based discount broker called DAB. I got my first opportunity to run a business when DAB seconded me to London to run their UK online brokerage business called SELFtrade before joining Raymond James in 2004. I completed executive education programmes at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and the London Business School.
Why did you choose a career in the finance industry?
I always had a keen interest in business, in particular international business, versus necessarily finance. My family were self-employed and always encouraged me to look for opportunities in Ireland, the UK and beyond. They also strongly believed in the importance of building a career that is both portable and to some extent, future-proof.
What is a typical day like?
My days are all pretty varied in that I run Raymond James’ UK business so I face many of the challenges that typically face CEOs or General Managers. We operate in a fast paced, highly competitive and heavily regulated industry so it is important to keep on top of changing client needs and an evolving industry landscape. I spend most days meeting with a mix of clients, vendors, industry professionals and colleagues which all help my management team and I shape our strategic direction.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
Right now, the company is on a journey of growth and I’m excited about further increasing its visibility in the UK but also continued expansion, with a real European focus.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Together with the Board of Raymond James’ UK businesses, I have responsibility for the company’s direction in the UK. I enjoy the autonomy I have with the security and support of being part of something much bigger. Our parent company in the US, of which we are wholly owned subsidiaries, has total client assets of over $500 billion.
This strength and financial stability is reassuring and allows wealth managers, capital markets professionals and other employees here the room to grow and fully realise their potential. The opportunities for career progression and expansion are something I have always valued as part of my role.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get in to the industry?
I’m a great believer in company structured training programmes, structured on the job training and/or getting good professional qualifications. Anyone starting a career in financial services should actively seek out firms that offer structured training programmes and fast-track management opportunities. Companies that make a real commitment to invest in employees at the early stages of their career always reap the benefits longer term while at the same time giving an excellent career foundation to the next generation.
I got an interesting piece of advice from my mentor at Chase Manhattan during the late 80’s in New York to look at your career in terms of ‘learning and earning’. If you are doing one or the other that is okay for a while, if you are doing both that is great and if you are doing neither, it may be time to do something about it! Not always quite as simple as that but interesting nevertheless.