Winston Yap

I mentioned in my last blog that I was awaiting the results of the CFA Level I examination which I took in December last year. I found out a couple of weeks ago that I had passed the exam – a huge relief!

Regular readers of my blog will remember that I found working towards the exam early in the morning more effective than in the evenings, after a full working day, so I was getting up at 5.30am in the run up to the exam. 

Luckily the early mornings paid off and I was one of the 43% of candidates who passed the examination in December last year. There are three examinations to take, as well as other requirements to become a CFA Charterholder, a world recognised designation in the investment management profession. Fortunately, the Wealth and Investment Management Graduate Programme supports us through the examinations by providing access to top tutors, study materials and study leave when required.

For this week’s blog I want to tell a story from when I was working in the Private Bank. It’s a story which demonstrates one of the best aspects of working in Wealth and Investment Management at Barclays – the variety of work. One day, I had two client meetings with the senior Private Banker I was working with at the time. Both clients were incredibly successful entrepreneurs who had built their businesses into multi-million pound enterprises employing thousands of people.

We met the first client in his corporate headquarters. He was just what you would expect an entrepreneur would be – very intelligent and surrounded by a team of financial directors, operations directors and personal assistants. When we met the second client, who was just as successful, however, we met him in his home in London, and to my surprise he had no team around him – not even a personal assistant. 

The second client ran his business mainly from his house and although he had no formal financial training, was incredibly good at challenging the Private Banker on the various investment and wealth advisory topics that we were discussing with him.

It sounds like a cliché, but this example shows that no two clients are the same. And leading on from that – the work that we do to help these two clients achieve their ambitions stretches across the full suite of Private Banking services that Barclays, as a universal bank is able to provide, whether that is investment management, banking and credit or wealth advisory. This makes the work that my team did for these clients incredibly varied touching all parts of the bank. 

I always liken the role of a Private Banker as a conductor of an orchestra – they take the client’s needs and coordinate with the rest of the bank (orchestra) to achieve an excellent end result.

Although the work involved with both clients was challenging, it was also very rewarding due to the diversity of what I was able to get involved with. I might be working on portfolio valuations for the first client one minute and find myself working on a complex wealth advisory solution the next for the other client. I honestly don’t think there are many roles out there for graduates and people in the early stages of their careers with such a diversity of work.

What’s more pleasing to note is that both clients have been with Barclays for over 20 years, a testament to the excellent service they have become accustomed to. It’s really inspiring to see that the two clients had grown their businesses from small enterprises to large companies, with Barclays helping them every step of the way.