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Never content being ‘just a banker’

INDUSTRY POSITION: Asst. Vice President, Internal Audit & Credit Inspection, Commonwealth Bank Limited

 Award: BFSB “Professional of the Year” 2011

 

What attracted you to the sector? How long have you been involved in financial services?

I did not even plan to be a banker. After finishing one year in 6th Form doing “A Levels” at St. John’s College I decided that I wanted to get a job (some would say start a career) so I filled out applications for a few organizations including Scotiabank. After receiving several responses I accepted the offer to join Scotiatrust.

I have been in the industry now for over 35 years having been hired July 26, 1976.

 

What keeps you motivated?

Teaching and developing people and learning new things. I find that we can all learn something each day by just listening to those around us. Also I do not believe that I have done all that I can as a banker as there are still some challenges out there that I would wish to get my arms around.

 

Why do you think you have been successful?

I guess I have never been content with being “just a banker”. I always had a desire to work harder and smarter than everyone. I fed off those around me and used this to acquire as much knowledge of every aspect of banking available to me then I took every opportunity to pass this knowledge on to my colleagues. And the truth of the matter is I have always had good people around me who helped me to get better.

 

What qualifications do you feel are the most useful in helping you perform in the sector?

Academic qualifications are always useful and important, however, I believe that the ability to manage people and to yourself have the capacity to learn are the two most important prerequisites to maximize your performance in the financial industry.

 

What has been the biggest challenge in your career? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge has been managing people in a consistent and fair manner and fair is not necessarily what you deem to be fair … but what those around you perceive to be fair.

I believe that I have overcome this by creating an atmosphere of constant communication of the expectations of the organization and my personal expectations of each individual and in so doing I also get an opportunity to discuss consequences and rewards/recognition. This formula when coupled with consistency eliminates fear and surprises resulting in all staff always “being on the same page”.

What advice would you give young people just starting out in the industry?

Take every opportunity to acquire as much knowledge about all aspects of the industry as is available to you while at the same time remembering that your success will more than likely depend on your behavioral competencies (attitude) rather than your functional capacities. Something I have always said to my staff: It is far better to be qualified for a job and not get it than to get a job that you are not qualified to do.

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