Amy (front row, second from the left) with her team at the Invesco Perpetual Lakes Challenge.
With new apprenticeship schemes being developed each year, there are now more opportunities than ever for young people to join the financial services sector. Amy Kirby, currently working as an assistant investment manager at Rathbone Brothers, took such an opportunity upon completing her A-levels, and has never looked back.
Her journey into the sector began with work experience at an investment management firm in Liverpool during her school days. Having thoroughly enjoyed the experience, Amy was inspired to study economics at A-level at Liverpool Bluecoat School, and began attending talks from financial services companies, including Rathbone Brothers, at career evenings to find out more. She applied to the Rathbones Liverpool apprenticeship scheme
– a partnership between the firm and local college Archbishop Beck – after recommendation by her head of sixth form and, following her exams and a week’s assessment programme, was offered the role of operations apprentice working with client static data.
Diving into working life
“University was never for me, and the apprenticeship was the perfect way to start my working life,” says Amy. Beginning in October 2013, the two-year rotation scheme allowed the apprentices to experience many different facets of the business, as well as study for qualifications – an NVQ in business and administration in the first year, and the CISI’s Investment Operations Certificate
(IOC) in the second. Amy also submitted a number of blog posts to the CISI during her time on the scheme, documenting her activities and experiences. “There was a great deal of support given, which I think we all appreciated as a slightly daunted group of 18-year-olds.”
Upon completion, Amy jumped at the opportunity to join the Rathbones team full-time, and has since immersed herself in her current role as an assistant investment manager. At just 21 years old, she now works alongside two investment directors, with a front row seat in portfolio management for private individuals, self-invested personal pensions and trusts. “We have to figure out how to respond to the daily stock market changes, which is both a highlight and a challenge,” says Amy. “There is so much more to the job than just sitting looking at the FTSE 100 on screen all day!”
“The apprenticeship scheme has allowed me to progress and take exams sooner than perhaps normal”
Keeping up with regulation is another challenging, but interesting, aspect of the role. “There is now a much greater focus on client suitability, as well as anti-money-laundering regulations. Any changes are usually for the good, however, and soon any new processes become normal,” Amy explains. “Adjusting for the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) II is next on the agenda.”
The value of apprenticeships
Amy has packed a lot into her few years since leaving school, with a successful career not the only string to her bow – she is also the youngest person ever to have completed the CISI’s Chartered Wealth Manager
qualification. “I think it is a major accolade to the apprenticeship scheme, which has allowed me to progress and take exams sooner than perhaps normal,” says Amy. “It is a wonderful feeling that, at 21, I do not have to study for another exam if I don’t want to – though people who know me know I’m itching for something else already!” She has also completed the Investment Advice Diploma
(IAD), alongside the IOC. “These were both great introductory exams to take before tackling the Chartered Wealth Manager qualification”
Looking ahead, Amy plans to develop in her role by applying what she has learnt in these exams to real world clients and portfolios. “Investment management isn’t something you know how to do overnight, but I learn more and more every day and I am excited for the future.”
Setting new challenges
While a budding investment career seems like plenty to keep a young and successful professional busy, more challenges are on the horizon outside of the office too. Last year Amy took part in the Invesco Perpetual Lakes Challenge as part of Team Rathbones, and has already signed up to the next, which will take place in Snowdown. “Despite having never camped, climbed a mountain, canoed or mountain biked before, it is one of the best things I have done,” she says.
With her appetite for challenge, knowledge and progression, Amy is a shining example of how apprenticeships are providing young people with a strong alternative route into the financial services sector, helping to develop skills and improve employability.
CISI qualifications are now available as technical units for nine different financial services apprenticeships. For more information or for support and guidance on implementing an apprenticeship programme visit cisi.org/apprenticeships or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.