Back story: Vasu Dev Puri MCSI and Neel Kamal Puri MCSI

Twins Vasu Dev Puri MCSI and Neel Kamal Puri MCSI are the youngest candidates to achieve our level 6 Diploma in Corporate Finance, having been awarded the qualification in 2018 when they were both just 19 years old
by Bethan Rees

Neel Kamal Puri (left) and Vasu Dev Puri

It’s impressive to learn that a 19-year-old has completed the CISI Corporate Finance Diploma. It’s doubly impressive when you discover that two 19-year-olds have done so. Dubai-based twin siblings Vasu Dev Puri MCSI and Neel Kamal Puri MCSI were the youngest people to complete the postgraduate diploma in their academic year, and are some of the youngest members of the CISI.

Both twins say that this is one of their biggest achievements in life. Neel Kamal says: “Considering the rigor and time this qualification requires, the knowledge gained through this qualification has been rewarding in itself.” 

The diploma isn’t the only achievement though. Neel Kamal also topped the Association of Chartered Certified Accountant’s (ACCA) Financial Management paper in the Middle East and, with Vasu Dev, attained a score above the 90th percentile in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level I exam – this means the twins scored above 90% of the candidates who took the exam. They are both currently studying for the ACCA Professional Level paper and the CFA Level II exam.  
Their careers so farBetween the two of them, the twins already have a wealth of experience in financial services. 

Neel Kamal interned at PwC’s core assurance practice from December 2016 to April 2017, where he worked on statutory audits of companies in the pharmaceutical, real estate, retail and fast-moving consumer goods sectors. Here he refined his “understanding of financial and accounting concepts”, which gave him an in-depth knowledge of those sectors. 

He also interned at management consultant Protiviti Consulting’s corporate finance and transaction advisory practice from December 2017 to February 2018. Here, he performed financial modelling, competitor profiling, industry mapping and economic research on various companies. “I had the opportunity to work on a few live transactions within the facilities management and wearable technology industries. Through this I gained a thorough understanding of the processes involved in transactions from planning and research phase to execution and completion,” Neel Kamal says. 

In April 2016 Vasu Dev interned at UAE-based law firm Afridi & Angell, in its corporate and commercial law practice, where he assisted in the preparation of an article on financial services regulation, Dubai International Finance Centre law and energy regulation. He also researched outcomes of a disputed construction contract in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) caused by the recession of 2008 and scope of settlements by mediation. 

Vasu Dev also interned at PwC Dubai’s core assurance line of service from December 2016 to April 2017. Here he audited the year-end financial statements of a multinational insurance provider, investment bank, and credit rating agency and performed insurance premium testing and audited re-insurance. He also completed International Financial Reporting Standards checklists for financial service firms to ensure their financial statements were in compliance with the standards.

Since December 2018, Vasu Dev and Neel Kamal have been interning at PwC Dubai,  performing portfolio valuations of sovereign wealth funds’ investments. They have also worked on a white paper that demonstrates how revised regulations (BASEL 4 and IFRS 17) and regional economics will spur mergers and acquisitions activity across the banking and insurance sector in the GCC states and Egypt. 

Through this internship, they have been able to capitalise on the technical knowledge acquired from the CISI curriculum, and witness how it transposes into the practical world. Vasu Dev says: “The exams and case studies replicate real-life transactions and valuations and have allowed me to work on the business models with agility.”

Vasu Dev too, like his brother Neel Kamal, interned at Protiviti Consulting’s corporate finance transaction advisory practice from December 2017 to February 2018. Here he worked on industry mapping in the UAE, looking at the scope of mergers and acquisitions activity and performing cost analysis on privatisation of shipping ports. 

“These internships gave me a multifaceted view of the financial services sector as a legal, audit and transaction advisory intern,” Vasu Dev says. 

Currently, Vasu Dev is the leader of the Student Corporate Responsibility Committee in PwC’s Academy Dubai, where he organises corporate social responsibility events at the academy and sensitises the students about corporate social responsibility through social outreach programs and initiatives. His role also incorporates building a team of volunteers to represent PwC's Academy in the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi, which will be held in March 2019. Vasu Dev thinks corporate social responsibility is important to financial services as firms can use their position to make change. “Financial service firms are well positioned in terms of capital and brand image to alleviate many social problems. Their actions can have a profound impact on general perceptions in society, and question the ingenuity of perils such as gender and racial discrimination. These businesses can reverse the status quo through their corporate social responsibility initiatives.”
Why finance?Neel Kamal says he has always been “intrigued by the way financial markets organise themselves and work to manage various businesses” and the diversity of possible career paths appealed to him. 

Vasu Dev says after attending Dunia Finance summer school in June 2015 in Dubai, he was “driven by curiosity to learn more about the field”. At the summer school Vasu Dev learnt about financial modelling, valuations, sources of capital and accountancy, and knew that he wanted to find out more about the professions available to him, hence the varied internship experiences.

Neel Kamal adds that from a young age, he has admired his father and enjoyed helping him manage his financial portfolio. He is interested in how well-thought investments can generate enormous returns.
Joining the CISISince becoming members of the CISI in September 2018, both brothers have found their membership incredibly useful. Neel Kamal describes how his affiliation with the institute has “helped deepen [his] knowledge of financial services and has connected [him] to like-minded professionals across the globe”. He says that the technical articles published online through The Review and the regional seminars have helped him stay up-to-date with trends and practices within the sector. Vasu Dev adds that he is looking forward to expanding his professional network through his fellow members of the CISI.

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Published: 07 Feb 2019
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