Become a member todayIn advance of our annual awards ceremony on 29 March, we've published articles on winners in the categories of compliance and risk, and wealth management and financial planning. They share some useful tips on how they achieved their high scores and a bit about their career trajectory and ambitions.
Here, our winners in the categories of corporate finance and operations do the same. Two have been working their way up the career ladder with their current employers and one has had a non-conventional start in the sector.
Corporate finance associate, Forward Corporate FinanceWinner: level 6 Diploma in Corporate Finance
Amie found that the level 6 exam “used real-life scenario style questions” which made it relatable to her work which, she says, is quite diverse. This is what drew Amie to the role. Transactions may include capital raising, company sales, acquisitions, and organising changes in ownership. She says “it involves more than just number crunching; you must be commercial, strategic, and forward-looking” to perform well. Initially, she had a non-conventional start in corporate finance, beginning her career in personal tax. Before taking the level 6 course, she took our level 3 Certificate in Corporate Finance in 2018 to “gain the fundamental skills required” for the profession and she has worked her way up the qualification pathway from there.
Her day job involves helping business owners and managers of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) plan and achieve their strategic goals. Many SMEs have never been through a corporate transaction before so it is vital that Amie can appropriately advise these clients “to placate concerns and ensure that I provide hands-on management” throughout the process, she says.
Amie enlisted further study support through remote learning with CISI Accredited Training Partner BPP Professional Education. She found this to be particularly useful, with the online lectures helping her solidify her learning after reading the study text. Her main tip for success is to do as many practice questions as possible before the exams. Now equipped with advanced corporate finance knowledge, skills, and expertise as a result of taking our qualification, Amie is looking forward to securing a management position in the future.
Senior custody and finance executive, Rizzo Farrugia Winner: level 6 Diploma in Investment Operations
Stephanie heads the custody section of a stockbroking company in Malta. Her work involves dealing with transactional items like foreign exchange trades, cash transactions, and corporate actions. “The securities world fascinates me, from the moment a trade is placed in the market to any corporate action that affects the security,” she says, but the settlement of a trade is what excites her the most. The most challenging aspect of the role for her is maintaining team dynamics on top of managing pressing deadlines.
Stephanie wanted to start a career in financial services from early on. The opportunity came when she started working in the custody department for the Bank of Valetta plc in Malta. She wanted to continue progressing her career in this division and thus sought to build her knowledge of investment operations with our qualifications.
Starting with our level 3 International Certificate in Wealth & Investment Management in 2017, she then took the level 4 Certificate in Investment Management in 2018 and completed the level 6 diploma in 2021. Stephanie chose to study with the Institute because of the extra services we provide for learning through MyCISI, she says. This includes using our workbooks, our online study tool Revision Express, content on CISI TV, and more. Furthermore, to perform well, Stephanie says “it is important that you keep up to date with what’s happening in the financial world as this will help with the exam.”
Joseph Cockayne ACSI
Vice president of reconciliations, BNY MellonWinner: level 3 Investment Operations Certificate
Joseph didn’t particularly enjoy school and wasn’t keen to continue the traditional path to higher education. He enjoyed maths and business studies, so going into the finance sector felt like an appropriate place to make use of these skills. He decided to leave school at the age of 16 to pursue an apprenticeship working in reconciliations at BNY Mellon. He has been with the company ever since and has decided to improve his skills with our qualifications.
The level 3 certificate which he took in March 2022 helped his product knowledge and understanding, he says. Further, the Introduction to UK Financial Regulation – a unit of the certificate – helped him “understand the consequences when staff do not act with integrity”.
Joseph’s primary role is to identify reconciliation processes that could potentially be automated. He also works alongside technology teams to test and implement changes. When a system fails, he helps colleagues pinpoint the issue and resolve it as quickly as possible.
He wants to focus on change and automation within operations, and says that taking our level 4 certificate in Managing Operational Risk in Financial Institutions would be a good next step for his career progression. Additionally, he would like to explore more aspects of financial services and broaden his knowledge base so he will continue to make the most of the Institute’s offering.
Congratulations to all of our award winners for their extraordinary accomplishments.