Why did you choose a job in this sector/profession?
Through studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at university, I tried to keep my options open in terms of career opportunities. I had the choice of going down something more relevant to the Politics and Philosophy elements of my degree or pursuing something more financial and numerical using the Economics part of my degree. What ultimately swayed me to investment consultancy was the balance between the more technical skills needed to understand the complicated world of economics and investment, along with the communication skills needed to successfully explain often complex concepts to clients.
What drew me specifically to LCP was that it was one of the few financial companies with a significant presence on the south coast of the UK. Its office in Winchester was a real bonus, having grown up just down the road in Bournemouth.
How did you get your job at LCP?
I applied for a six week internship in the investment department of LCP’s Winchester office during the summer holiday in between my second and third years at university. I was subsequently offered a full time graduate position on the back of my internship, which started once I graduated after my third year at university.
What was the application process like – any advice?
Compared to some of the other financial services firms I applied to whilst at university, LCP’s application process was easily one of the most streamlined and straightforward. It involved just a simple application form and one trip down to Winchester for a morning assessment centre. My tip for the application process – and this doesn’t just apply to LCP’s application process – is to make sure you do your research on the firm, particularly the area of the business that you apply for. It always looks good if you can show that you have done your background reading and prepared properly for the interview.
What are your main duties / roles?
I provide investment advice to a range of pension schemes: defined benefit and defined contribution, as well as a number of charities.
The majority of the work I produce involves providing strategy advice to my clients, whether that’s completing a full strategy review or preparing advice on a proposed new investment / manager for the scheme. I also work closely with the development of key modelling software which gives our clients real-time access to the position of their assets and the performance of their portfolios.
Outside of my day to day client responsibilities, I am also a member of the absolute return research team. This team specialises in researching those managers who have the flexibility to invest in different types of investments and can adjust the positioning of their funds quickly in response to changes in market conditions. Being heavily involved in manager research means I am frequently travelling from Winchester to London to meet with various fund managers. Meeting with fund managers provides a great opportunity to understand more about the funds my clients are invested in as well as the current trends and the outlook in the economy.
Is it a 9-5 job?
Financial markets are cyclical and so is my workload. The busiest periods tend to be a month or so after quarter end when I am producing clients’ quarterly reports and attending Trustee meetings. Things then tend to quieten down a little bit in the lead up to quarter end. Everyone at LCP has a team leader who works with you to make sure your workload is manageable.
What skills are useful in this sector/profession?
Investment consultancy requires both technical skills and communication skills. It is important to be able to understand the complicated financial concepts that naturally come with the profession, but equally important is the ability to explain those concepts to clients in a clear and plain-speaking way.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
I hope to become a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder soon – I am due to sit the third and final CFA exam this summer. LCP has really helped me to achieve this ambition through a generous study package which includes days off work to study, revision tutorials as well as the entry fees for exam admission.
Over the longer term, I would like to play a more active role in developing the business, whether it be helping to broaden our growing client base or developing new and innovative investment ideas.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry?
First and foremost, don’t be put off a career in finance or investment just because you didn’t do Maths or Economics at university. LCP in particular is excellent at encouraging applications from a wide range of academic backgrounds.
Secondly, try and stay on top of what is going on in the world. Reading the news or financial press regularly will help to broaden your understanding and ensure you are always up to date with the latest developments in markets.