Welcome to our third article in the Equiom Guides series, this time looking at the opportunities and considerations when it comes to a career in financial services.
Alice Dumoitier, Client Services Director at Equiom Jersey is one of many financial professionals involved in helping school leavers and graduates pursue a career in the financial sector. As a member of Jersey Finance’s Education Working Group and Life in Finance, she is an active supporter of developing the workforce and facilitating new career paths for young people. She gives us some insight into what it takes to be successful in the offshore financial services sector.
What is your background?
Like so many 18 year olds, when I left school I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do. I decided to try working in an office, with no real idea what to expect! As a school leaver, my first role as a trainee involved everything from the daily bank run, to sitting on reception welcoming clients, to washing cups at the end of the day. I was fortunate to join a small business, which gave me exposure to all different aspects of the industry. After a failed start at Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), I refocussed and worked hard, training on the job to become a qualified Chartered Certified Accountant. I have always welcomed a challenge and as I gained more experience, my role moved from bookkeeping and accounts to Trust Administration. Always willing to have a go at anything, I was quickly promoted and in 2011 our chairman asked me to consider taking a seat on the board of Vivat Trust. When Vivat was acquired by Equiom, I continued in my role as a Client Services Director, overseeing the successful integration of the Vivat business into Equiom. In 2018 I stepped up to the role of Interim Managing Director for Equiom Jersey. This was an important position that would help provide the leadership needed for Equiom before the new Managing Director, Steve Le Seelleur was appointed in March 2019. The role was a steep learning curve, but provided me with an invaluable opportunity to learn and develop new skills.
Tell me about your work in career development through Life in Finance and the Education Working Group
As part of my role as Interim Managing Director I reintroduced Equiom’s role in Jersey Finance’s Life in Finance scheme. Working together with Jersey Finance and the team at Equiom Jersey, I have been fortunate enough to be involved in the process of pairing A-Level students with local businesses to help them get a taste of working in the financial sector. Our 2019 candidate was given the exposure to different parts of the business, including private clients, crewing, finance, business development, IT and human resources. Our aim is to demonstrate that working at Equiom and the Finance Industry is not just about administering trusts; it can provide a great opportunity to broaden horizons, travel and learn globally transferrable skills.
Equiom Jersey is delighted to be a part of Jersey Finance’s Education Working Group, which aims to raise awareness of the opportunities available in the Finance Industry. A key focus of this group is to better understand many challenges faced by people coming into the industry, the options available, and what the group can do to help combat these challenges. For the industry to grow, we must attract and engage people from all walks of life.
In your opinion, how big a role does education have to play in readiness for the working world?
The education system in Jersey is currently under debate which is a pivotal moment for education in Jersey. This consultation is the biggest of its kind for the Island, and aims to undertake an historical and unprecedented root and branch review of the system, from primary through to secondary education. It also aims to identify training which assists school leavers to enter the workplace as seamlessly as possible.
A big part of preparing young people for the working environment starts with schooling from a young age. We need to have the reassurance and the comfort that at all times, our children are getting the best education available to them in order to have the confidence to step out into the world with the right attitude and application. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see the outcome of the consultation, and the measures that will be taken as a result, particularly with reference to identifying and developing valuable skills that will translate well into the workplace.
What qualities do you think a school leaver needs to succeed in the financial sector?
The most important qualities are willingness to work hard, confidence to ask questions and enthusiasm to try anything. After that, we look for skills such as attention to detail, reliability and the ability to organise and prioritise. I firmly believe that if individuals enter the workplace with these qualities in their skill set, they will inevitably flourish and succeed at what they choose to do.
Why should a school leaver be interested in a career in financial services?
A career in the financial sector is an extremely exciting and rewarding experience. It’s not just about the numbers. You get the opportunity to meet intriguing clients, deal with high value luxury assets and travel to different parts of the world you might not have otherwise seen. At Equiom, our staff have managed multi-million pound portfolios with private jets and superyachts, met with high net worth (sometimes famous) individuals, and have been given the opportunity to be seconded to our offices across the world, in locations such as Hong Kong, Monaco and the UAE. I have seen first-hand from my team the benefits that such opportunities bring, on both a professional and a personal level.
There are countless opportunities available to you in the finance industry. You can pursue internationally-recognised qualifications that will help you practice what you do, from bodies such as the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the Institute of Chartered Secretaries (ICSA) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Being at the forefront of technological advancements such as robo-advice and fintech is certainly another exciting aspect. It truly is a world of possibilities where anyone with the right attitude can succeed!