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Getting into risk management/compliance

Question :

I graduated for 2 years from an oversea non-target but top school with a degree in Economics and I am currently half way of my 12-months contract of a Custodian Bank back office job in settlement/corporate action. I found myself not being intellectually challenged at all and I want to switch to Risk management at some of the top investment bank IBD.
My question is, how exactly am I able to make that switch? My manager is currently trying to convert me to a permanent staff by the end of contract, and that's why I want to successfully make the switch by that time. Is there anything I can do that can enhance my chances to get into RM? Would an FRM or master degree in risk management enhance my chances? Or is there any other suggestion?

Posted by Sam on Wednesday, 05 Feb 2014

Comments :

Kirstin MacLaren - Career Doctor

Posted Wednesday 26th February 2014 10:30:00 PM


Many thanks for your question Sam and sorry to hear you are not feeling as challenged as you would like to be. We normally suggest that it takes 6-12 months to fully settle into a position and to take on further responsibility, so it may be an idea to give your current role a bit more time to ascertain if the work becomes more challenging for you. However, If the outcome is still negative then in order to make the transition into Risk Management, your best bet will be to do so through an internal move as, Risk Management can be a very difficult area to enter without prior Risk experience. The demand is high in the current market, so realistically, in order to move into Investment Banking, you should continue within Operations (you may find a new culture which maybe more dynamic offers a huge difference to you.) Once within Investment Banking, it might be easier to move internally, although the most likely route would be from Operations to Product Control and then on to Risk/Valuations. Moving to a Product Control role or Operations(client servicing or trade support) within an Investment bank would be the most realistic move for you where you will gain the product exposure, some experience in P&L investigation and valuations/modeling. Of course, gaining further qualifications can always help at work, but it will not guarantee a move as most employers are increasingly focused on candidates having both a mix of the relevant experience, as well as the qualifications. In the current economic outlook, few employers are taking risks in the current climate as the banks are still under such scrutiny when hiring that they need the candidate to be the closest fit possible to their requirements. Considering that your manager has indicated that you are up for promotion, you should also consider taking the opportunity to discuss with your manager your thoughts on the current role. While it might not be feasible for an internal or direct transfer to risk management in the current set up, an open discussion might lead to you getting more responsibilities in your current and future role which could add skill sets and expertise that might prove valuable when the opportunity arises for an internal move or an external move.

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