Name: Rhiannon McComb
Degree and university: Studied Sport and Exercise Science at Napier University, Edinburgh
Work title: Investment Operations Trainee, Standard Life.
What do you actually do? I am a graduate trainee on the Investment Operations programme. The programme involves three, eight month placements and my previous role was in the Finance Department, where I worked in a business performance team learning about financial forecasting, budgeting and planning. I was also involved in several projects.
My current role is within the Risk and Compliance Department. I am currently responsible for ensuring that relevant people are aware of their responsibilities with regards to their dealing authorities. I also ensure that when new dealing authorities are requested, that they are signed off and filed to ensure that we have an audit trail.
I am also involved in projects including updating and improving the current dealing authority process, monitoring the Standard Life Investments website to ensure that it is compliant with the Financial Services Authority guidelines, and I will be coordinating a secure workplace initiative.
Why did you decide to go into the financial sector? My aspiration was to become a physiotherapist, however, due to the current lack of employment in that area, I decided to look at a career that could offer me a challenge as well as the financial security that I was craving.
Financial Services is a huge industry and a major area of employment within Edinburgh. I decided that I wanted to work for a local company that could offer me further training along with a competitive package and found that financial services far outweighed any other industry with regards to both.
Would you undertake further education to gain promotion? I am learning every single day and I have been on many courses since commencing my employment with Standard Life Investments, all of which have benefited me greatly with regards to my development.
As part of the graduate programme, I am also required to study for the Investment Administration Qualification (IAQ) and Investment Management Certificate (IMC). This is a fantastic opportunity for me to gain industry recognised qualifications, and to help me develop my knowledge of an industry that I knew very little about prior to working in it. I hope to continue learning and undertaking further training throughout my entire career as I believe it is vital to my professional development.
What do you like most about what you do and are there any downsides? I like the people that I meet daily, the approachability of my colleagues, and the relaxed atmosphere of the office. Sometimes the workload along with studying can be overwhelming but with good organisation and communication with my manager/ colleagues this can be managed.
What skills do you need in order to succeed? The responsibility is yours to complete your projects/work, gain your qualifications, and drive your career in the direction that you want it to go, therefore organisation and self motivation are key.
What advice would you give graduates entering this sector? As a starting point, look at the websites of the companies that you are interested in and learn as much about them as you can. Read the papers, and watch the news to learn about what is current in the financial sector, and see if you can spark you interest and improve your knowledge with further research. Do not be put off if your degree or experience is not in the financial sector, I am proof that it does not matter, and that if your desire is strong enough you can learn and perform in this industry.