Continuous training necessary in financial services
Published: Aug 29, 2013
Name: Ian Stewart
Industry position: Trust officer, UBS Trustees (Bahamas) Ltd.
What attracted you to the sector?
I've always excelled in math based subjects from primary school and throughout my college years. I derived the most pleasure out of seeing an A+ in Accounting or Statistics while struggling to pass my Psych 101 elective (for the second time might I add). That coupled with a father who was quite successful in his own right in the financial services sector sparked my interest.
How long have you been involved in financial services? What keeps you motivated?
It was roughly 15 years ago since I was first exposed to the industry as a summer student with the Fidelity Group of Companies. Every summer, Fidelity became a haven for growth and development; particularly when you have supervisors and managers who are willing and understand the importance of mentorship. Professionally, I’ve been employed in the industry for just over seven years.
For me, motivation is derived from several factors including the consistency of change within the industry, a challenging working environment, knowing your value is commensurate with how much you are valued and the constant awareness and fulfillment of life’s purpose (not necessarily in that order).
Why do you think you have been successful? Did mentoring play a part in your success?
My accomplishments thus far have been as a direct result of me clearly focusing on my personal goals, the ability to adapt in an ever changing financial services environment and becoming qualified in my field of business. I believe though that there is much yet to be achieved.
Absolutely! Mentoring played a huge part in my success. I entered the industry under a Graduate Training Program that understood and recognized the importance of mentoring. It focused heavily on mentoring and coaching, helping me to realize and understand what my goals were and what steps I needed to take to develop those goals. Coaching definitely helped to prepare me for challenges I face while executing my duties.
What qualifications do you feel are the most useful in helping you perform in the sector?
I believe the term “overqualified” is fast becoming obsolete in the financial services sector. You will readily find scenarios where the application of differing qualifications is relevant to the completion of a specific task. At the moment, the qualification most applicable in my field is the STEP designation. Work experience should not be discounted in any way, shape or form.
Why is it important to encourage our youth to think of careers within financial services?
We live in a country where financial services is the second most important industry constituting about 17 percent of GDP. The financial services industry in The Bahamas is constantly on the cutting edge from a legislative and technological perspective so that we can remain globally relevant as an offshore center.
We have thus far been able to weather the storms due to the knowledge and expertise of our people as well as by implementing critical legislation that keeps us viable. To maintain this standing, we must realize that an effective succession plan must be in place. Our youth are no longer our “future”. They are our “present”; our “now”. It is our responsibility as members of this fraternity of professionals to constantly market the industry to newcomers so that it will continue to flourish.
Are there specific suggestions you have for sustaining and/or growing the financial services sector?
We have to ensure that there is proper and continuous training of individuals who are within the industry and for those who are interested in joining the industry.
I believe a concerted effort should be made to provide our educational system with sufficient resources to effectively prepare our youth for the various opportunities that will present themselves, one of them being employed in the financial industry.
It is critical that we as an industry continue to market and rebrand the industry as well as the jurisdiction repositioning ourselves to meet the challenges ahead. We must remain ahead of the game and innovative if we want to continue to not only survive, but thrive.
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