A day in the life of Pete Smith
Associate and Investment Consultant
I started working at Barnett Waddingham three years ago having previously worked at multi-national consultancies. In that time, the investment team has grown a lot - at the time of writing, we're a team of 72. It's fun to be part of a growing team.
Like all of the Barnett Waddingham team, the investment team is very much that, a team. Although I am based in Glasgow I will be in communication on a daily basis with colleagues in the other offices, as well as in Glasgow.
No two clients are the same and so no two days are the same, and this is one of the things which I enjoy most about working at Barnett Waddingham.
I began my career as an actuarial student before moving into investment consultancy 12 years ago. Like Ben Harris, my role started with delivering the ‘nuts and bolts’ work, through to checking and allocating work amongst the team, delivering advice at meetings and managing relationships with clients. I too believe progressing in this way really helps – different clients, who may be in the same industry sector, will have very different aims for their pension scheme investment strategy and be impacted in very different ways if these do not work out as expected. As an investment consultant I need to be able to help clients quantify the size of the risks they are taking, what the benefits of these risks may be and help them to understand what these mean. I rely on the technical skills I have built up throughout my career and the consulting skills that come with experience of interacting with clients.
Our culture is based on doing the right thing for clients, going beyond their expectations. The outlook for investment markets is continually changing and our advice to clients reflects this. Each member of the team spends time thinking about not just what the implications of these changes are, but also how to communicate these to clients.
The variety in what I do is best illustrated by what I am doing today.
Discussing the contents and implications of a quarterly investment monitoring report with two of the Glasgow team;
Preparing a presentation for a seminar I will be speaking at next week;
Talking through with an investment manager what they intend to present at a Trustee meeting that will be held in two weeks’ time and what the impact of this will be under various potential investment market scenarios.
Draft a report to a client on how the departure of a key member of the team at one of their investment managers may impact the outlook for future investment returns and what action we recommend they take as a result.
Summarise a recent transfer of assets from one investment manager to another to make sure it all took place as expected.
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I really like the people I work with. Our team is full of bright and creative people who are fun to work with. Our culture is to do the right thing. This extends to colleagues as well as clients and results in an environment that is very supportive and has my, and others, development at its heart.
I enjoy the fact that I can make a difference and I enjoy solving problems. Every day presents different challenges such as balancing the commercial needs of clients with the gains a change in their strategy may result in. A client once said to me he would never invest in something he could not explain to his granny. On another occasion one asked me how Ronseal would describe what we were recommending. For me there is a great satisfaction developing a robust solution to clients’ issues and explaining it to them in a way they (their granny and the paint manufacturer) could understand.
As a more senior member of the team, part of my role is also to help the more junior members of the team develop. Again I think we have a great culture of getting junior members of the team face to face with clients from an early stage. I get great satisfaction in seeing team members develop and clients beginning to rely on them.