The 8th Industry Insight event this year was presented by Jake King-Smith, organised by the ICMA Centre in partnership with the University of Reading Finance Society. During the talk, Mr. Smith provided insights into his day-to-day responsibilities, highlighted the importance of regulations in the financial markets and shared his recommendations to secure a place in the competitive financial-services environment.
An alumnus of the ICMA Centre, Jake has developed his career in investment banking. In 2009, during the penultimate year of his undergraduate degree in International Securities, Mr. Smith secured a summer internship at BNP Paribas in the Trading & Sales department and he turned this internship into a permanent role, where he built his experience for the next eight years. In September 2018, Mr. Smith joined Goldman Sachs as an Executive Director with primary responsibility to manage risk in the interest rate and foreign exchange markets, as well as consulting clients on how to best finance their activities with wide range of financial instruments that include interest swaps, equities, FX and derivatives.
During the talk, Mr. Smith highlighted the growing importance of regulations in the financial markets. He spoke about the particular concern and impact of LIBOR (London Inter-bank Offered Rate) reforms on the financial sector. He mentioned that in 2021 the LIBOR will be replaced by new interest rate benchmark and the new risk-free rates will have an impact on all industries that use or invest in interest rate linked products including fixed income securities, loans, and derivatives. Moreover, Mr. Smith spoke about great uncertainty and higher volatility in the markets due to ongoing Brexit negotiations.
Ultimately, Mr. Smith shared his recommendations in order to secure a place in Bulge Bracket banks and inspired young students to succeed in their careers. He mentioned that the first factor the interviewers look for in the candidate is how well they get along with the person and whether the candidate will fit in the organisation, hence it is important to know the values and culture of the organisation before sending your application.
Other advice was to get to know the recruiters in order to establish relationships - and if there is a scheduled interview, the recruiters will already know who you are, which will help to secure a job. Ways to achieve that would be through networking events or getting in touch over social media platforms, especially LinkedIn. Another recommendation was staying up to date with news in the industry and regulations in the market, a useful tip Mr. Smith has shared is to not just be aware of the news but have your personal opinion with justifications for it, which shows that you are interpreting information and able to reflect on it.
During the Q&A session, Mr. Smith has answered questions on the valuable skills he would be looking in an entry level student, which include strong problem-solving skills, awareness of global macroeconomic environment and basic understanding of software programming. Another question was how to best approach graduate recruiters if not evident from the firm’s website, Mr. Smith suggested using LinkedIn to build connections and when sending an invite adding a note about your purpose for connecting which would increase the likelihood of the person accepting the request.
The ICMA Centre and the UoR Finance Society thank Mr. Smith for attending University of Reading to deliver an insightful talk!