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Perfect Preparation for the Perfect Interview

Here are our tips to impress your future boss.  Broken down for you into straightforward digestible steps:

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

Preparation – the Scouts always said that the key was to “Be Prepared”. Interviews are no different. If you have done your homework, then you will be confident of having the right answers. You won’t get caught out (or find yourself tongue tied) as you have thought about and practiced the scenario

Know your CV – the Company has chosen to interview you, based on the strength of your CV and the skills you have mentioned. So, you must know it inside out and have good relevant examples ready to go

Research the company – some interviewers want to know todays Shareprice, others want you to have read the website and an understanding of their core business. You need to know who you are interviewing with and what the Company does

Research the interviewers – take a look at their LinkedIn profile, Google their name, you may find you have interests / people in common

Re-read the job description – you need to understand the role. If you don’t know what the role is, you can’t think about the relevant experience you have

Imagine you are in the Managers seat – what would you want to hear / see in a candidate? You would want to see good eye contact, a smile, well thought out answers, good examples of related work to what their team does. They want you to tell your story . . . so tell it

On the day: The Basics

Dress to impress – generally we advise people to overdress. Show you have taken time and are treating the interview seriously. If in doubt, ask the Recruiter in advance of what the company expects

Arrive early – nobody is impressed by a flustered, stressed out, panicked interviewee. Get there early, have a coffee nearby and get your ‘game face’ on

Documentationbring ID along with a copy of your CV and the job description

Professionalism is important – yes, its important to make a connection, show the real you, but its important to read the tone of the professional environment. Once you are colleagues you can drop your guard, but for now its business time

Politeness and smiletreat everyone you meet with respect and a smile. It goes a long way and gives the best impression of you

Relax and Deliver

Relax – take a breath and control the nerves (we all get them and a few nerves are a good thing by the way)

Be positive – believe in yourself, believe in your preparation, believe that you have a real chance at getting the job (and you really do)

Be authentic – sometimes trying too hard shows. You can only be yourself, so that’s what you should be

Be Realistic – let’s face it, there is no such thing as a perfect interview. We will all make mistakes. But the key is to deliver “you” in the best possible way. So don’t be too hard on yourself

Ask Questions – Remember that an interview is a two-way process. Managers want to be asked about themselves, their team, the Company, their vision and its important for you to understand where you fit into those plans. Think of some questions in advance

The Risk Partners are here to help. Working with us will give you access to a wealth of advice, tips and stories from our Partners. We have trodden the paths before, so do let our experts help you.

Get in touch today: contact@theriskpartners.com

Which area of Risk Management is right for you?

The Risk Management profession has grown significantly over the years and is vital to the Financial Services industry. The importance of strong Governance has resulted in specialist disciplines being established.

Different skills are required for each area. So which area are you most suited to?

1) Market Risk / Quantitative Risk / Model Risk

• Strong academics are highly desired. Generally, professionals have Masters Degrees or PhD level academics in a numerate subject (e.g., Maths, Physics)
• The roles involve mathematical calculations, modelling and scenario generation. A high level of technical competency in the likes of Excel, VBA, SAS, SQL is often required

2) Operational Risk / Enterprise Risk

• The ability to think about the big picture, to spot problems, build frameworks and implement controls to prevent risks occurring are core to the discipline
• Operational Risk professionals are required to work with every area of the firm, so require good people skills and the ability to challenge existing processes

3) Credit Risk

• Integral to the Banking sector and the key offering of the Risk function
• Analytical and research skills are required to determine is a loan or trade should be done
• Mathematical / financial statement analysis skills are required in addition to ability to make multi million-pound decisions

4) Treasury / Liquidity Risk
• Generally, suits those from an Accounting / Finance background
• Financial liquidity is crucial to business, risks posed to its core operations must be minimised
• Mathematical and accounting skills are used every day along with relationship management skills with internal departments

5) Technology Risk / IT Risk /Cyber / Information Security

• A highly technical discipline with many sub areas and specialisms
• Professionals will have IT based academia including the likes of Computer Science and professional qualifications such as CRISC
• Skills in SAS, SQL, VBA, Advanced Excel are required
• Awareness of frameworks such as NIST CSF, RMF, ISO, C-SCRM, SOC 1 / SOC 2 etc

The Risk Partners are here to help. Working with us will give you access to a wealth of advice, tips and stories from our Partners. We have trodden the paths before, so do let our experts help you.
Get in touch today: contact@theriskpartners.com

How to take your Career to the next level

1) Education

• Standing out academically is an excellent start. But what if you don’t? You can Strengthen your profile and knowledge with an MBA, and industry-based qualifications such as FRM, CFA or CISI.

2) Obtain relevant vocational exposure

• A related Internship could kick start your career at the outset
• As an experienced professional get involved in NED assignments to broaden your exposure / perspective
• The more senior you become, the broader your position is likely to be. Showing breadth of experience / responsibility will make you a more viable candidate for the top jobs
• Mentor and manage other professionals around you

3) Expand your network outside of your immediate team

• Network with peers
• Speak to divisional heads, team leads, team members and EA’s
• Stakeholder support will help propel you through the corporate world

4) Get your name known in the industry

• Get involved with specific industry groups, you can learn, network and grow
• By regularly attending and speaking at industry specific forums, your stock will certainly rise
• Consider forums such as: PRMIA, GARP, Risk.net events, Risky Women, The Risk Partners events
• Have an opinion – get involved in internal seminars, participate in online discussions / webinars / podcasts

5) Come up with new ideas & suggestions

• Successful new ideas and practices will propel your career
• Carve out a niche area and building something new

6) Reflect on your skills and your career plan

• Think about your career plan and milestone goals
• Reflect on what you are good at and showcase it
• Know where you want to be in the future, plan the path to get there

7) Consider exploring career options outside of your current firm

• There is a big world of opportunity out there, other firms want and need your experience
• Give The Risk Partners a call to discuss your path. We can confidentially talk about your trajectory, market value and recommended steps

The Risk Partners are here to help. Working with us will give you access to a wealth of advice, tips and stories from our Partners. We have trodden the paths before, so do let our experts help you.
Get in touch today: contact@theriskpartners.com

Why is a CV / Resume so important?

“A great CV will help land your dream job”

‘Digital you’ – a potential employer hasn’t met you in person yet. So, they are relying on a Word / PDF representation of you, which makes the first impression and showcases your experience and skills.

007 Seconds – Experts have found that a decision on whether to interview a candidate will take place within 7 seconds of reading a CV. So, it needs to be clear, concise and relevant.
Also, where does the good stuff need to go? (Hint: Its near the top of the CV)

Volume of applications –Recruiters / Talent Acquisition professionals / HR Managers will get a LOT of CVs across their desk for a vacancy. Those that are relevant, clear and targeted to the job, will help your CV get through the initial screening.

Shows you are serious – if you have a high level of attention to detail it shows you mean business. If your CV is sloppy, then it makes firms wonder if that’s your approach to work? Information needs to be accurate, to the point and tailored towards the role in question

Reduces problems later – if dates are correct, academia is fully updated, you will sail through the onboarding steps at the end of the interview process. If not, you could be back to square one

Compliments the interview – everyday tasks, core skills and examples listed on the CV will give an interview the basis for discussion. Also, you can prepare for the interview around the points listed

The Risk Partners are here to help. Working with us will give you access to our wealth of experience through advice, tips and stories from our Partners. Let our experts help you.

Get in touch today: contact@theriskpartners.com

How to write a job description!

The number of risk managers seeking new roles was high before the COVID crisis, and the pandemic’s economic impact on the employment market has driven the number of vacancies down. However, the demand for risk managers is resilient, and it is very much a buyers’ market.

Consequently, scrutiny of the quality of job specifications and their suitability to the applicants they are trying to attract is becoming the norm. Job seekers are becoming more vocal in their critique of various social and business platforms. This critique is often warranted and comprises a combination of the following complaints:

· This job spec asks for everything 

· It doesn’t tell me much

· Why is this or that qualification necessary for this role?

· This is the same job spec from 6 months ago – is it the same role?

Our tips are written with Risk roles in mind and are inspired by conversations with candidates and hiring managers.  

Job Title

Approach bespoke titles with caution: applicants actively search for roles based on job titles. While “Investment Risk Analyst” may seem bland, it will yield the most effective search results and give your vacancy exposure to the relevant audience. You can liven up the vacancy in the job description content. If you are not listing salary, be cautious of overemphasising level as corporate grades vary across the market; an Associate Director’s responsibilities in one firm may be quite different in another, for example.  

Career progression and growth

Too few job specs address career trajectory. It is unnecessary to go into extensive detail, but the knowledge that there is a powerful career path from the first day of joining is attractive. Research shows that remuneration is not the foremost reason risk managers move roles—career projection, work-life balance stack grade higher.

Boring

If your job description is bland and focuses purely on the employee’s responsibilities, your readers may feel this reflects the firm. Ideally, your marketing team should be involved in selling the features of joining your organisation. Many fintech’s get this right. It appears contradictory to sell your services to consumers and yet have a copy and paste bland, generic job spec. It can portray the impression of a customer-first approach rather than a people-first approach. 

Discriminatory language

From “he must have” to masculine language such as “dominant.” To avoid this, we recommend using gender decoding tools that assess if the language you use is gender bias. There are several free and paid tools on the market. Statistics show that the language used in job specifications is more likely to dissuade female applicants from applying. Only 25% of companies set gender diversity targets when recruiting, and the efforts to recruit a diverse workforce begins with the job description.  

Certifications

There is now a depth in the certifications available to risk professionals. A few years ago, it would suffice to stipulate: “relevant qualifications” as a criteria. Now the opportunity to use qualifications specific to credit, investment, information security, market and operational risk could give you an advantage in finding the ideal candidates faster if they are genuinely relevant to the position. If in doubt, there is no harm with having a flexible approach to certificates.

We are an ‘Equal Opportunities Employer’

Think carefully about promoting yourself as an “Equal opportunities employer” if there is no diversity within your senior team. One firm, aware of their undiversified management, wrote in their job spec. “We are an Equal opportunities recruiter and are striving to make improvements in this every day.” This disclaimer seems genuine and challenges the assumption that “equality status” is a badge of honour rather than a discovery and journey towards improvement. 

Applicants are likely to judge this Equal opportunities employer statement on a firm’s Leadership Team website page and Linked In information.  

Creating a job description should not be an automated process, it should be as individual as the employee. Risk Partners offers a job description creation as a Service, enabling you to attract the right talent.  

Your job description advertises your organisation and your team. Not everything should be recycled. Reach out to discuss our service.

Matt Brown 

Director 

matt@theriskpartners.com 

Which qualifications are right for me?

Within Financial Services there are many qualifications that can help progress your career. Continued learning is important to many employers, but given the many choices out there, which qualifications are right for you?

RISK MANAGEMENT

1) FRM (Financial Risk Manager) – GARP
Course Link: https://www.garp.org/frm

Summary: “Recognized in every major market, the FRM is the leading certification for risk managers. It is consistently in demand by nearly every major bank and firm in the world, and is awarded only to professionals who demonstrate the knowledge and ability to anticipate, respond, and adapt to critical risk issues.”

Suitable for: Everyone in Risk Management

Fees: Part 1 (USD 950 / GBP 700), Part 2 (USD 750 / 550 GBP)

Our thoughts: “FRM is a widely recognised as one of the market leading qualifications and will enhance your CV. We feel this is a good qualification and would recommend.”

2) CQF (Certificate in Quantitative Finance) – Fitch Learning
Course Link: https://www.cqf.com/

Summary: “The Certificate in Quantitative Finance (CQF) is designed to transform your career by equipping you with the specialist quant skills essential to success. That’s why the emphasis is on teaching current, real-world techniques you can apply with confidence from the moment you learn them.”

Suitable for: Quant Risk & Modelling professionals

Fees: Level 1 (USD 10,000 / GBP 7445), Level 2 (USD 10,000 / GBP 7445)

Our thoughts: “CQF is a popular course for those looking to supplement their vocational knowledge within the Quant Analytics space. CQF is the market leader for this space and has had some positive feedback from those who have completed.”

3) Managing Operational Risk in Financial Institutions – CISI

Course Link: https://www.cisi.org/cisiweb2/cisi-website/study-with-us/operations/managing-operational-risk-in-financial-institutions

Summary: “The Certificate will equip you with the knowledge and practical techniques to be able to investigate an operational risk incident, manage operational risk in the long term, model appropriate behaviours to support operational risk management in the workplace, and effectively recommend and contribute to measures to enhance the operational risk culture and operational risk management in the workplace.”

Suitable for: Operational Risk professionals

Fees: (USD 500 / GBP 363) + study support fees

Our thoughts: “This is particularly niche course and forms part of the Investment Operations Certificate (IOC). This course would appeal to mid-senior level Operational Risk professionals”.

4) Risk in Financial Services – CISI

Course Link: https://www.cisi.org/cisiweb2/cisi-website/study-with-us/compliance-risk/risk-in-financial-services

Summary: “Risk in Financial Services offers a comprehensive global introduction to the major risk areas in financial services. It addresses international issues, reflecting the needs of a worldwide market, and provides a sound grounding in the principles of the risk management framework, corporate governance and risk oversight. It covers specific techniques used in identifying, reducing and managing operational risk, credit risk, market risk, investment risk and liquidity risk.”

Suitable for: Everyone in Risk Management

Fees: (USD 470 / GBP 347) + study support fees

Our thoughts: “Junior-mid level individuals looking to advance their knowledge in Risk Management. This could be a good course to contribute to internal training sessions run by your company”.

5) Risk Manager Qualification – PRMIA

Course Link: https://prmia.org/Public/PRM/Public/PRM/2019Home.aspx?hkey=70930e7c-622e-4488-b789-8342795ee6f6

Summary: “The Professional Risk Manager (PRM) Designation is a globally recognized, graduate-level risk management credential. Today’s Risk Professionals are expected to know and understand industry best practices and be committed to using them. There is no better way for risk managers to show their commitment than by proving that they have the knowledge, skills, and qualifications to back their experience.”

Suitable for: Risk Managers of varying levels of experience

Fees: (USD 1430 / GBP 1050)

Our thoughts: “A popular course to rival GARPs FRM. Trusted by some of the industry’s biggest names.”

6) International Certificate in Financial Services Risk Management – Institute of Risk Management

Course Link: https://www.theirm.org/qualifications/international-certificate-in-financial-services-risk-management/

Summary: “An introduction to the principles and concepts of risk and risk management in financial services, it explores how to classify risks in a financial services environment and the approaches that are used to identify, assess and treat them.”

Suitable for: Entry level Risk Management professionals

Fees: (USD 2800 / GBP 2095)

Our thoughts: “A good foundation course in Risk Management. Ideal for those without prior Risk management qualifications”.

COMPLIANCE

1) CAMS Certification – ACAMS

Course Link: https://www.acams.org/en/certifications/cams-certification#overview-e1131add

Summary: “In recent years, Financial Crime has hit the headlines, and the spotlight is firmly on compliance. CAMS is an established global qualification that outlines the key principles of money laundering, and how to prevent it. In as little as three months, individuals and teams can be certified as Anti-Money Laundering Specialists.”

Suitable for: Compliance professionals, in particular Financial Crime Officers

Fees: (USD 1695 / GBP 1250)

Our thoughts: “A big hitter in the Financial Crime Compliance academic world. CAMS is globally recognised and is the minimum expectation in a number of FinCrime jobs”.

2) CISI Diploma in Investment Compliance

Course Link: https://www.cisi.org/cisiweb2/cisi-website/study-with-us/compliance-risk/diploma-in-investment-compliance

Summary: “The Diploma in Investment Compliance is suitable for practitioners who are wishing to pursue a career in compliance and, in particular, those employed at a supervisory level aspiring to a senior management role. It is suitable for those working in both wholesale and retail.”

Suitable for: Those ready to push their Compliance career to the next level

Fees: (USD 660 / GBP 490) + study support fees

Our thoughts: “Great for senior level Compliance individuals looking for development. There is a significant time allocation for the course, so do consider this when applying”.

3) ICA Certificate in Compliance

Course Link: https://www.int-comp.org/programme/?title=ICA-Certificate-in-Compliance

Summary: “A practical, introductory-level course that will give you a solid understanding of core compliance issues. Suitable for anyone who wants to learn more about compliance and the regulatory environment as well as those considering embarking on a new career in compliance as a stepping-stone for study at a higher level.”

Suitable for: Entry level Compliance professionals

Fees: (USD 935 / GBP 690)

Our thoughts: “A great starter course for those commencing their career in Compliance”

OTHER QUALIFICATIONS

1) Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Course Link: https://www.cfainstitute.org/en/programs/cfa

Summary: “The CFA Program, awarded by CFA Institute, is the most respected and recognised investment management credential in the world. A self-study, master’s-level qualification, it provides a strong foundation of advanced investment analysis and real-world portfolio management skills that will give you a career advantage”

Suitable for: Buyside based Risk Managers who want to understand the investment management industry in more detail

Fees: (USD 2550 / 1880 GBP) for all 3 levels

Our thoughts: “This is a popular qualification for Investment Risk, Performance Risk or Portfolio Risk professionals with aspiring careers as a Portfolio Manager. This is not an easy course to study and steps up in difficulty at level 3”.

2) Investment Management Certificate (IMC)

Course Link: https://www.cfauk.org/study/imc#gsc.tab=0

Summary: “The IMC is the benchmark entry-level qualification into the UK investment profession. It delivers the threshold competency knowledge required by investment professionals involved in portfolio management, research analysis, and other front office investment activities. The examinations cover the key content areas appropriate for these roles including economics, accounting, investment practice, regulation, and ethics. The qualification is developed, delivered and awarded by CFA UK.”

Suitable for: Investment Management Risk professionals

Fees: Level 1 (USD 530 / GBP 390), Level 2 (USD 560 / 415 GBP)

Our thoughts: “If you are starting out your career on the buyside this is a great course to look at. Could be a great stepping stone for those not quite ready to complete a full CFA”

The Risk Partners are here to help. Working with us will give you access to a wealth of advice, tips and stories from our Partners. We have trodden the paths before, so do let our experts help you.

Get in touch today: contact@theriskpartners.com