Bright Network Member James is a Graduate Analyst in the Banking and Insurance Supervision and Policy Division at the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC). We sat down with the Exeter graduate to find out how he’s getting on.
Why did the GFSC stand out when you were applying for graduate jobs?
The GFSC gave me an opportunity to expand my horizons and do something different with my career. The graduate training at the firm is exceptional and sets you up for a brilliant future in finance.
The GFSC also offers flexible working and there’s no real commute on the picturesque island of Guernsey, which is a massive selling point!
Moving to Guernsey might seem daunting, especially at the start of your career - however the GFSC makes it very easy. Everyone at the firm is extremely welcoming and the opportunities for career progression here are excellent.
What was the toughest part of the application process? And your favourite part?
It’s actually the same answer for both questions: the face-to-face interview. I was interviewed by two of the firm’s directors and they asked me some very tricky questions – I really had to think on my feet. However this was also the first time I visited the island and I was blown away by the location.
What advice would you give fellow Bright Network members looking to follow in your footsteps?
It is vitally important to research the Guernsey Financial Centre and gain a broad understanding of financial regulation. Although you won’t be expected to know every law, it will impress the assessors if you can demonstrate awareness of significant regulatory frameworks such as Solvency II (insurance) or Basel III (banking).
You don’t need a finance-related degree to succeed at GFSC, however my academic background provided me with a real head-start in understanding the jargon used across the industry. It was also useful to have prior knowledge of financial products and reading financial statements.
Tell us a little bit about your role at the GFSC?
My work on the GFSC graduate scheme has been really varied. My current rotation is in the Banking and Insurance Supervision and Policy Division where I assist on-site supervisory meetings, provide analysis on various matters and support the Conduct Team in responding to consumer complaints.
I particularly enjoy the exposure in this graduate scheme - from my very first week I was in meetings with banks’ Managing Directors, an experience I didn’t expect so early in my career. My highlight to date was being sent to Berne, Switzerland for a meeting with FINMA, the Swiss financial regulators.
It has been a challenge familiarising myself with all the different laws and regulations in banking and insurance - there is a lot to read! However all this knowledge is really helping to build my confidence in this area.
And finally, where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
In five years’ time I hope to have completed the CFA exams and have progressed to a leadership role. It’d be great to be in a position where I have the opportunity to travel regularly with work too.