Winston Yap

It has been a while since my last blog, and again there are many things to update you on.

I mentioned in my last blog that I would be taking the CFA Level I exam in December. I had a week of study leave prior to the exam, which took place on a Saturday in December. Like all CFA exams, it took place in a cavernous exhibition hall, with thousands of other candidates. The day consisted of two 3-hour papers with a lunch break in between. I will find out the results in the next few weeks, and have everything crossed in the meantime!

It was a huge relief to have finished studying – for now – and I have since been making the most of living in a different country, spending weekends in Washington DC and Boston so far.

Aside from the exam, I have got to grips with my normal duties within the Guided and Discretionary Managed Solutions team. This mainly entails assisting sales teams across the country in implementing asset allocations, which are agreed with clients through fund managers who have made it through Barclays’ rigorous due diligence process. One of the key differentiators of this proposition is the research-driven and rigorously applied global process we’ve developed for evaluating individual managers.

Since my team is based in New York and serves sales teams across the country, I can be talking to a sales team in Los Angeles one minute and a sales team in Chicago the next. I’ve been given a lot of exposure to the front line and I have become the first point of contact for sales teams much of the time.

I’ve also been familiarising myself with a couple of ‘Americanisms’ here in the office. Something that took a while to get used to was the date conventions (mm/dd/yyyy). I’ve finally got into the correct format, but I fear it’ll take some time to re-acquaint myself with the British convention once I return to London!

In addition, my team here has ‘Bagel Thursdays’ whereby there is a rota for team members to bring in traditional New York bagels for the rest of the team. This Thursday was my bagel day – undoubtedly one of the most important days in my career so far! I completed rigorous research into local bagel establishments and even brought in some crumpets for a touch of Britishness! The bagels went down very well, but unfortunately, the crumpets slightly less so.

I mentioned in my last blog that I had also been given the opportunity to spend time with other teams to learn more about the Americas business. Some of the highlights so far include:

·      Spending time with a team of Investment Representatives (US equivalent of Private Bankers) and observing their client interactions

·      Learning how the Portfolio Consulting Group works closely with Investment Representatives to create custom portfolio proposals and analysis

·      Attending training on prospecting which was meant to be for Investment Representatives.

This was particularly of interest to me, as I hope to become a private banker when I finish the graduate programme, which is a role which requires entrepreneurial spirit to be successful

Finally, last week my team had a surprise visitor on our floor. I was happily working away at my desk when I received an email from another graduate who sits in the row behind me. He told me to see who had just walked behind me. The person he was referring to was none other than Antony Jenkins, Barclays Group Chief Executive!

It was wonderful to see Antony speaking to my team. He spent time with my team discussing what it meant to be the ‘Go-To’ Wealth Manager. He also found out how the new Values had been received from my team’s Managing Director, who was a ‘Values Leader’ during the roll out. Antony was accompanied by Tom Lee, the Head of Barclays Wealth and Investment Management in the Americas, who we regularly see speaking to people around the floor.

It was wonderful to see such senior leadership speaking to my team. Indeed, when the values were first announced last year, I personally emailed Antony a question to which I received a reply that same morning. In some large organisations, senior leadership might seem detached – especially for young people starting their careers. This couldn’t be further from the truth at Barclays and it is yet another reason why Barclays was the ‘Go-To’ employer to start my career.