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Jobs in investment for IT graduates – by Morgan Stanley, Baillie Gifford and the London Stock Exchange Group

IT plays a pivotal part in all areas of the financial industry and, as companies become more tech savvy, exciting opportunities are opening up for graduates.

Graduates wanting to combine an interest in finance with IT should explore the jobs on offer across the financial industry because you can contribute to projects that shape the way companies engage with clients and solve real-world problems. TARGETjobs spoke with Morgan Stanley, London Stock Exchange Group and Baillie Gifford about the role of technology in different areas of finance and how graduates can get involved.

Morgan Stanley: investment banking case study 

There’s a misconception that investment banks just do ‘banking’. But a trend that’s being observed is an amalgamation of the technology and business sides of a bank. Kate Platonova, executive director (IT) at Morgan Stanley, explains: ‘Processes used to be much more manual with, for instance, traders writing up deals on a paper ticket. Now the process is in real time, so a trade will be entered into the system and processed automatically.’

This blend between technology and business has resulted in Morgan Stanley heavily investing in state of the art systems and the best people. ‘We’re looking for exceptional technologists because we’re trying to build specialised software for a specialised group of users,’ says Kate. ‘As a graduate there are opportunities to work on systems that have an impact on significant flows of capital through the bank, enabling clients across the globe to borrow, lend and do commerce.’

Graduates typically start out in the business in a supportive role where they’ll work in an existing team either to support an application that’s already in production and being used by the business or build a new software package – this provides an excellent opportunity for graduates to build first-hand knowledge and experience. It can be front office applications, middle office, operations, risk management, or in finance or trading. ‘All of them are exciting and you’ll be supported by senior colleagues,’ says Kate.

Kate concludes that another misconception about investment banking is the work/life balance. She says: ‘Financial services as a whole, and especially technology, is becoming a lot more flexible and accommodating to people with families and with different needs. Flexible working – working from home or working remotely – is becoming more common.’

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG): stock exchange case study

From London to New York and Hong Kong, the world’s stock markets rely heavily on technology. Nowhere is this more evident than at London Stock Exchange Group, an integrated financial infrastructure business that supports some of the largest financial markets in the world, including London Stock Exchange and Borsa Italiana. 

Innovative solutions are provided by MillenniumIT, the group’s core technology business based in Colombo, Sri Lanka, as well as dedicated teams working across all its global locations. ‘Without a doubt, technology is at the heart of everything we do here at LSEG,’ says Amin Dawuda, Head of Client Services Technology at the Group. ‘In today’s modern technology-driven financial markets, without this capability, the entire financial system would essentially grind to a halt.’ 

The globalisation of financial markets has gone hand in hand with an ever-increasing volume of trades and the demand for more sophisticated financial products. Technology has to adapt to this: ‘The need for faster, more efficient trading and data solutions is only likely to grow,’ Amin explains. ‘It’s crucial that we have the capacity and flexibility to keep up with the changing needs of our clients.’

Technology graduates who join LSEG undertake three, six-month rotations in a different area of the Group’s IT and Operations. During the programme they could find themselves in technology roles as diverse as software development through to testing, analysis and business development. Graduates are also encouraged to complete a rotation in a business-facing role and may also have the chance to join one of the Group’s overseas operations. 

Working in a markets-based environment means being at the forefront of some of the major technological advancements currently taking place and graduates need to be ready for whatever comes their way. ‘We need skilled people who can adapt to a changing environment,’ says Amin. ‘It’s a partnership where you’re developing your future but also that of the business.’

Baillie Gifford: investment management case study

Investment management is a global industry with stock markets, clients, counterparties and investment opportunities across the world. ‘It‘s an industry that simply wouldn’t be able to function 24/7 without the application of technology,’ says Yvonne Robertson, head of applications and project delivery at Baillie Gifford. 

She explains: ‘Technology is used to trade and message between brokers, trading platforms and banks. It’s used to communicate with clients (increasingly via web and mobile). And technology is at the heart of an investment management firm’s daily operations for client administration and how investors keep track of their investment portfolios.’

Technology underpins Baillie Gifford’s core operations – it’s been an enabler to the growth of the firm and its ability to serve clients. ‘Technology and systems are part and parcel of this business,’ says Yvonne. ‘The value of IT is understood and there’s commitment from the top to invest in technology.’ This creates opportunities for graduates; Baillie Gifford takes on a small number of graduates each year, across infrastructure and applications, and invests heavily in their training and development.   

Graduates complete a comprehensive training programme for the first three to four months before moving onto a preliminary project that consolidates the training. ‘It’s a real-life project developing something that’ll be used in the firm but is not business critical,’ says Yvonne. Following this, graduates move into their respective areas of work (applications or infrastructure) and get involved in many of the company’s top priority projects. 

Recent projects at Baillie Gifford include developing a new client servicing system using the latest web technologies, development of the group’s front office trading applications and implementation of a new data centre using state of the art storage and replication technology. Yvonne says: ‘Everything you do here will have a purpose.'

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