Operational and administrative roles are varied and yet can be quite specialised. These roles can include ensuring that high volumes of trades and contracts are processed correctly, working in a call centre to support customers, or supervising the administration and performance measurement of investment portfolios.

Working in what was traditionally called the ‘back office’, Operations management deals with the administration required after a trade has been made.

If this area is not working effectively, it has the potential to lose any money that may have been made on the trade. Operations is increasingly recognised by management as key to a firm’s profitability and central to its risk management. It is growing rapidly in importance as an area of finance.

What’s involved?

Operations staff make sure that, once a trade has been made, the relevant administration is carried out and the money secured, in order to transfer the assets traded from the seller to the buyer.

This sector has seen a boom in the use of technology. The transfer of assets from seller to buyer and payment from buyer to seller used to take several weeks to clear, but now takes three days or less. Speed and technology have become vital because of the huge increase in the number of trades taking place on a daily basis.

However, much of the technology can only be used on the simplest of trades. Many are now extremely complex, often taking place across international borders. The outsourcing of operations is becoming increasingly commonplace, as firms demand more and more operational support. The increase in trade volumes, the complexity of the trades and the stringent regulations imposed on firms mean that exciting opportunities can be found here, even if they may not be perceived to be as glamorous as those in the trading community.

The hours in the operations arena are certainly more normal than in many other areas.

Skills and routes into

Roles in operations are widely available. Many operational staff hold qualifications which enhance and reflect their particular expertise.

Graduates in this field will usually have a background in accounting, maths, or business, but this is not essential as most employers run training programmes. The most important qualities are attention to detail, numeracy and a methodical, organised approach to work.

Progression into operational management roles calls for good management skills and business awareness.

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