One take on the changing face of Client Service into Business Analysis

Hello! As your Financial Careers Examiner, let me share just a little of what I have seen within my thirty year career within Financial Services. There are loads of aspects of Financial Services, but let me share a little bit on my role which has covered the Back Office moving into the Middle Office arenas. I started in 1981 (as noted in my first Examiner report, “How Wall Street looked to a high school student in the 1980s”. I understood back in the 1980’s starting in the Back Office that I would definitely be “Hands On”. I actually held in my hand some instruments that are rarely found in physical form anymore such as Certificates of Deposits, Bankers Acceptances, Ginnie Mae’s, Fannie Mae’s and Treasury Notes with the Coupons attached! Let me emphasize here that these disciplines within your Financial Services Career are excellent to have; after you have obtained them it’s important to broaden your horizon or scope of knowledge. Why you may ask??? If you are happy in just that discipline, fine. If you are sure you will always have that position, fine? This was a very valid school of thought in the 1980’s! With the onslaught of the Financial Crisis we have seen, this is no longer case (more on that a little later). I had the opportunity to “branch out if you will” and while still in a Back Office setting I was able to add on Foreign Exchange (Remittance, Confirmations, Settlements, etc.), supporting the Front Office Traders. From here I moved into the Middle Office, where while I was not so much “Hands On”, I was more of a Liaison between the Clients and the various other groups such as Back Office. The Benefit was having worked in the Back Office, I was able to “feel” what they were doing if that makes sense and also because of the networks developed, and I had people to reach out to in trying to meet goals. The Middle Office called upon my knowledge obtained in the Back Office, Money Market, Equity, Fixed and Foreign Exchange. Let’s break this down further (in terms of the impact of change within Financial Services) as you are looking at your Financial Career. What has happened is this: Little known to us, those physical instruments have gone away as they are morphed into book entry form, so everything is on the system. Where it would take me working through my lunch hour in the back office trying to count physicals such as Municipal Bonds, it is no longer the case with them being converted into book entry from. I mean I would actually have a stack of securities the height of my desk “dropped off” for me to count as it was a delivery from one counterparty to another. With the book entry format, the counting (among many other thing we would have to do such as stamping each security with our Nominee Name (oh the pain!!!) to make it negotiable) has gone away. With the Economic Crisis events such as 9/11, it has made companies think about really spreading themselves out more geographically. Within the “Location Strategy” initiatives, more onshore jobs and less onshore people have been offshored. With huge financial losses suffered by firms, many have closed down. It behooves those pursuing a career within Financial Services to learn as much as possible to be as diversified as possible. You will then not be dependent on just on discipline and one firm for your whole career. That one discipline may change (ex. physical to book entry). That one company may outsource that discipline as well. I started noticing while in the Middle Office using my Back Office skills to assist me on the a day to day basis, that the Client Service role I was performing in the Middle Office was evolving more and more into an Analytical role or Business Analyst role geared even more towards Process Improvement. I began to take on Business Analyst Roles and found that in seeking to broaden my knowledge, Business Analysis is in no way limited to Financial Services, but is in full swing in many industries. This opens the door when not just a company but an industry may be experiencing a slowdown, another industry, may be in full swing! To compliment what I was doing as a Business Analyst, I also took Business Analysis and Project courses via a company called Global Knowledge. I have obtained the Certification of CBAP® – Certified Business Analysis Professional I hope this write which include a short video of my background is helpful to you! Mike Holman New York Financial Careers Examiner

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