We caught up with two members of the EMEA Rising Career Network, Sam Annetts, Junior Client Portfolio Manager and Katherine Williams, Specialist - Invest Content, to tell us more about themselves and their journey at Invesco so far...
So firstly can you tell us a bit more about your roles at Invesco?
Sam: As a Junior Client Portfolio Manager, my role gives me exposure to numerous operations which make up Invesco Fixed Income’s Investment Management operations, with tasks ranging from investment universe screening, to pricing and pitching discussions, to bespoke qualitative and quantitative client marketing and reporting. Aside from the supportive team structure, the element of my role that I most enjoy is the opportunities for collaboration that I have across the business. With my work requiring input from various specialised teams around the business, the challenge of coordinating with these units to produce the highest quality output is one I sincerely enjoy!
Katherine: I joined Invesco almost two years ago as part of the Investment2020 programme. Around two months ago, I moved into the Editorial & Investment Content Team, which sits within Invesco’s Marketing department. We are involved in producing lots of the articles and insight pieces that are published on Invesco’s websites. We don’t just work on articles, though. We produce lots of different forms of content – videos, infographics, copy for webpages… The role is very creative and varied, and I am really enjoying it so far! I studied English at university, and love writing, so the role really appeals to my interests.
Where have you worked previously?
Sam: Whilst studying Economics at the University of Bath, I was able to secure a 12-month placement year working at the investment bank Lazard, which gave me an immensely valuable insight into the world of corporate finance and M&A. I joined in the Capital Structure Advisory team, which meant I worked with sector and product teams across the Financial Advisory arm of the business, and this experience confirmed that a future career in the finance sector was definitely the one for me! After graduating from university, I doubled down on this conviction by completing the CFA Level I programme, which prepared me well for the technical skills and knowledge that I constantly apply in my current position.
Katherine: I joined Invesco straight out of university. My first role was in the RFP Team (also part of the Marketing department), and I was responsible for answering clients’ questions about Invesco and its products. I gained a lot of valuable knowledge during my time in the role. When you are answering other people’s questions about the business, you learn a lot yourself! Before this, while I was studying, I had a part time job in a library. This was an endless source of amusement to my friends, who thought I was about forty years too young to be a librarian…
What’s the best career advice you ever received?
Sam: An excellent piece of career advice that I once received was that one’s professional image is much broader than simply their capacity for work, and simply your attitude and enthusiasm can go much further in gaining the confidence of others than you might expect. To this end, I’ve found that Invesco places great intrinsic value on learning and development, and participation in the company’s various workshops and teach-ins not only provides a great opportunity to improve both soft and technical skills, but also clearly demonstrates one’s commitment to continued personal and professional improvement.
Katherine: At the beginning of my time at Invesco, somebody told me to get involved in as many activities as possible. Opportunities can come from unexpected places and, the more engaged you are, the more enjoyable and rewarding your job will be.
What is a skill or practice you wish you had learnt earlier in your career?
Sam: Given the growing importance of coding and programme automation in the workplace, the development of programming skills is something that I would prioritise as early as possible, with VBA, Python and R potentially being the most evident examples of this. With the firm’s capabilities continuously growing, the importance of efficiency cannot be overstated, and so skills in this area is a great way to add value to both yourself, and your wider team.
How has the RCN helped you personally?
Sam: Since its launch in April, the RCN has been a fantastic resource for a number of reasons! I think the network does an amazing job of providing an easy environment for development through direct networking with people of all seniorities and specialities. Also, having started my career at Invesco working from home, it has given me an invaluable forum to meet friendly, supportive peers experiencing similar unconventional conditions, thereby reducing the degree of personal separation that working from home has certainly introduced.
Katherine: I would absolutely recommend joining the RCN, as it is a fantastic way to meet people who are at a similar stage to you in their career journey. I have already met colleagues from different regions, offices, and business functions. I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to speak to them if it weren’t for the RCN. The group provides learning opportunities, social opportunities, and networking opportunities. There is something for everyone, and you can be involved as much or as little as you would like, depending on your time and availability.
To give you a flavour of the sort of fun events the group organises, have a look at our launch event. Olympic silver medallist Vicky Thornley spoke to us about her experience as an Olympic rower, and shared her tips for perseverance, hard work, and dedication. You can access the recording here. We had the opportunity to ask Vicky our own questions – and all while she was training for the Olympic games in Tokyo.
What would you like to achieve in the upcoming year at work?
Sam: Certainly, the largest obstacle in front of me is the CFA Level II exam which I am registered to take in November. Outside of the curriculum itself, participation in this exam definitely brings some major challenges around time management and self-discipline, which lockdown easing certainly hasn’t helped! Ultimately though, if I am successful, it’ll no doubt become an achievement of which I can be proud!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Katherine: Who knows?! I applied for a role in this industry because I liked the idea of working in a fast-paced, constantly evolving environment. Our industry is heavily influenced by political events, social changes and market movements, and that really appealed to me. My current role gives me the opportunity to combine this with my love of writing, which is really exciting. It also pushes me out of my comfort zone by forcing me to learn new things, which can only ever be a good thing. I still have a lot to learn, in an industry that is constantly evolving. In five years, I hope I am still growing my skill set, learning new things, and doing something that allows me to use the writing skills that I developed as part of my degree-study.
What has surprised you about the job in the first 6 months:
Sam: With the infamous stigma of apathy and hostility surrounding many firms in the financial industry, I was sincerely blown away by the empathy, encouragement, and support that I received during my first six months at Invesco. Given that I joined during the unprecedented conditions of working from home, I found all my colleagues were incredibly considerate as to my circumstances, which certainly made adjusting to my role and responsibilities much easier.
In three words how would you describe our company from your first perception?
Sam: Collaborative, progressive and ambitious!
Katherine: Supportive, welcoming and collaborative!