Operations staff essentially provide support to the client-facing departments within the company, such as the corporate finance department. Operations ensure that the business generated by such departments is efficiently administered.
The vast majority of banking processes utilise sophisticated IT solutions, and a key task for operations staff is to develop and implement new IT systems. Other typical responsibilities of the job include:
- supervising a team of clerks
- liaising with clients and other bank divisions
- collating and analysing systems information
- troubleshooting problems
- pinpointing ways of improving and developing systems
- ratifying data flows and ensuring accuracy (operations control)
- helping to maximise efficiency and bank profitability
- ensuring that transactions are cleared and settled correctly
- managing day-to-day banking processes
- checking daily transaction reports
- coordinating systems testing.
Investment banking provides high levels of responsibility, good promotional opportunities and decent financial rewards.
Investment banking is a very popular career choice and graduate vacancies are highly sought after. Most opportunities occur within global investment banks and private equity fund institutions in London and other major UK and international cities.
Vacancies are advertised in TARGETjobs Finance, by careers services, online, in newspapers including The Financial Times and in publications such as Business Week, Investors Chronicle, The Economist and The Banker.
Sector or company research, attending presentations and networking are essential. There are several graduate schemes available with investment banks. Applications for vacancies should be made as early in the academic year as possible.
Employers often specify that they are looking for people educated to degree level, so it can be hard for school leavers to find work in this field. However, school leavers can undertake study for foundation-level qualifications with a professional body such as the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI), and then work up to higher qualifications. This does not guarantee an operations job, but it does demonstrate a high level of commitment and employers may look favourably on this, though it can take several years to become highly qualified enough.
Some companies do offer apprenticeships for school leavers, which could lead to a career in investment operations. For more information about this route, see the finance sector of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.
Graduates will need a good honours degree (min 2.1) in any subject. A business studies, management, finance, mathematics or economics qualification can be helpful, as can an MBA or similar professional qualification.
Relevant work experience can be crucial and interns are often hired for full-time graduate roles.
- Self-motivation and determination
- Good IT skills
- Analytical skills
- Teamworking skills
- Numerical skills
- A creative approach to problem solving
- Communication skills.