FINANCIAL SERVICES AUTHORITY
Just four months into his first role on the Graduate Development Programme, Atul Shinh, 23, found himself training CEOs and managing directors up and down the country on how to do their job properly. "It was quite daunting at first because they’d been in the industry a lot longer than I had, but it was really good experience and I had a great deal of support from my colleagues," he says.
The early responsibility that the FSA promises graduates on its fast-stream programme was a major attraction for Atul, who graduated from Nottingham University in 2003 with a 2:1 in Maths and Economics. "I wasn’t sure what career path to take when I graduated, so I took a gap year,’ he admits. "Then I decided to apply to the Financial Services Authority (FSA), both because of this and because it offers a wide range of opportunities and experiences."
After a month’s induction, when he learned about the FSA and the industry in general, Atul secured his first placement – 11 months in the organisation’s Financial Promotions Department. "The work involved monitoring advertisements for products we regulate," he explains. "I had to check that the rules and principles were followed correctly, and the consumer is not misled into buying or investing in a product which they cannot afford."
Having just started his second placement in the Markets Infrastructure Equity Team, Atul will be spending the next 12 months helping to make sure that the exchanges – including the London Stock Exchange and AIM – are running as they should.
His next step will be a six-month external secondment, and although he doesn’t know where it will be, he knows it will be linked to his final placement. "So, if I do my final placement in the Fund Management Sector, it’s likely my secondment will be in a fund management firm," he explains. "One of the best things about working here is the friendly atmosphere and the responsiveness of my senior colleagues," says Atul. "The FSA is also keen that its people have a good work/life balance. I play for the graduate’s five-a-side football team, and I’m proud to say we recently won the organisation’s equivalent of the FA Cup – the FSA plate."