CISI Work Experience Week

The CISI is encouraging financial services firms across the UK to offer work experience to young people to give them an invaluable insight into the sector


Left: Antonia Moss and Charles Waters at Thesis Asset Management; top right: Theodore Lee Chee Kian, winner of risk presentation, at Ahli United Bank; bottom right: Jack James at Waverton Investment Management
As part of its commitment to helping young people gain practical experience and a professional qualification, the CISI recently organised a work experience week for students taking CISI qualifications from schools and colleges across the UK, with the main events focused in London and Liverpool. The week incorporated three-day work experience placements and a number of workshops to help give young people between the ages of 16 and 18 the opportunity to experience how their studies link in with day-to-day business at financial firms.

Work experience in Liverpool

The week in Liverpool culminated in a two-day ‘Career in Investment Management Insight Conference’ at Tilney Bestinvest’s Royal Liver Building.

One of the activities at the conference was Liver Bird’s Den – a pretend Dragon’s Den type session which gave students the opportunity to pitch their investment ideas to local leading practitioners.

James Charlton, Chartered MCSI, Tilney Bestinvest and CISI’s Liverpool & North Wales Education Secretary & Vice President, said: “The presentations were outstanding and it is clear that there is an exceptional pool of young talent in the region. The students held their own in an environment where many a seasoned professional might have crumbled! The judges had a tough time choosing a winner and in the end decided that they were unable to separate two groups – those that were on work experience with Tilney Bestinvest and those who were placed at Investec Wealth & Investment, with both teams eventually splitting the prize.”

“The conference was overwhelmingly helpful and interesting”

Katie Redmond taking part in a trading skills exercise at BNY Mellon

Katie Redmond, a student who participated in Liver Bird’s Den, said that her group’s pitch involved researching a biscuit company, pitching about how successful it had been and how the company had expanded. “Our panel of investors were pleased with the information we delivered. They took on board what we said, and asked for more detail about the company, to which our group responded well.”

James Bartels, one of Katies’ team mates for the pitch, said: "The Conference overall was overwhelmingly helpful and interesting. . . The networking and communication segment really stood out to me. It was really useful because it was at the start of the conference [and] we were in a room where most of us hadn't met.

"The work experience gave me a much deeper understanding of what goes on in the financial sector and laid a fantastic foundation for next year's course."

Five Liverpool investment firms participated: Tilney Bestinvest, Blankstone Sington, Investec, Pershing, and WEALTH at Work. Other firms involved with the conference were: Quilter Cheviot Investment Management, Rathbone Brothers, SL Investment, Barclays Lifeskills and Marshall Moore – Financial Services recruitment company.
"It has been such an amazing opportunity that I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in getting into finance"

James Bartels' work experience was at Blankstone Sington. He said:

"The people there were fantastic. . . I got an excellent understanding from all of them."

Katie said that the week helped her develop and gain new skills, such as “interview skills, networking and communication skills, and working confidently in groups”. She also “learnt about different apprenticeships, improving CVs, and more about the CISI professional qualification”.

"It has been such an amazing opportunity that I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in getting into finance," said Katie. And James Bartels said that he would “definitely recommend the work experience for anyone interested in finance”.

James Charlton said: The work experience programme in Liverpool proved to be a resounding success and the students really valued the opportunity to learn new skills and take advice from industry professionals. They really applied themselves during the programme and have been inspired to enter the industry, with many interested in careers as investment managers, financial planners, research analysts and compliance officers.”

Work experience in LondonParticipating firms in London were: Waverton LLP; Ahli United Bank; BPP; Thesis Asset Management; Hybridan; UBS; and Pool Reinsurance. Other firms involved were Henderson Global Investors and Charles Stanley. Most of the firms wanted to give something back to the industry and help students gain access to it – in particular those without their own direct links.

The week kicked off with an Insight day at the CISI’s offices in London, which included talks from experts about financial services and apprenticeships; workshops on integrity and ethics, professionalism and social media; and a class on networking and communications.

Theodore Lee Chee Kian, one of the participating students, said the best part of the day was hearing the talk about apprenticeships from Connor Day, Provider Business Support Administrator, Rathbone Brothers, who, Theodore said, was “highly relatable”. Student Humayra Ferdous also rated the talk as the highlight of the day.

Others opted for the social media presentation as the best part of the day, while some preferred the interactive sessions. There was general agreement that they did, in fact, get an insight into financial services at Insight day, with Samuel Humble saying: "It showed me the pros and cons of various job roles and offered me the options for my future career", while Edafe James said: "It gave me a great understanding of financial services, eg, front office, middle office, back office". 
“All presentations were excellent – thoughtful, considered and perceptive"

Students were set a project to complete while on placement – they were required to identify risk within the organisation. They had to choose a department to focus on, identify a key risk, the implications of the risk to the organisation and the industry if this were to become a reality, and identify the methods that the organisation has in place to prevent such an occurrence. To help them fulfil these tasks, students were given access to all departments, and allocated time with different practitioners so that they gained a full understanding of the firm.

On the final day of the week, students had to present their findings to a panel at the CISI. Kevin Moore, CISI’s Director of Global Business Development, was one of the panel members. He said: “All presentations were excellent – thoughtful, considered and perceptive.  Our winner, Theodore Lee Chee Kian, began and ended his presentation with a balance sheet analysis that would have impressed even the Dragon’s Den panel.  A worthy winner.”

The CISI is looking for practitioners and employers to work with to give young people across the UK access to the industry through work experience and practitioner participation in insight days and presentations. If you are interested in finding out how you or your firm can get involved please contact the education development team on or 020 7645 0714.

Published: 26 Aug 2015
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  • work experience

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