Financial Services Ireland

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Flexible working has really benefited me – Cheryl’s story

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Cheryl Curran shares her experiences of moving from the financial services industry to work with our Advisory Practice at EY Financial Services – read her experiences here or watch the short video at this end of this post. 

I joined EY Financial Services Advisory in 2014 and since that time, I’ve progressed from Manager to Director within Advisory’s Risk Team. Although I work primarily in the Advisory Risk area, the collaborative nature of the firm and the scale of our clients’ projects means you gain a much broader perspective than just that of your own competency area.  I think this really differentiates us – how well we team, and how open we are with each other. Coaching and mentoring is embedded in our culture and that plays into how we collaborate and work together across competency areas on projects.

My background meant I had a wide range of experience in financial services before starting with EY. After studying economics and finance in college, I took a role on a graduate programme in banking and trained as an accountant. After some time working in financial control and group financial and regulatory reporting roles, I moved to the Central Bank of Ireland to work as a regulatory supervisor of investment firms. Working with the regulator gave me a good perspective on how different firms were governed, operated and managed their risks, as well as insights into the Regulator’s expectations of what ‘good’ risk and compliance management looks like. My time with the CBI was a valuable experience and provided me with an understanding not only of the regulations themselves, but of the Regulator’s intentions and expectations behind the regulations.

flexible working

The aspect I enjoyed most about my role with the regulator was the interactions with the firms we supervised, so when an opportunity arose in EY’s Advisory Team I knew it was something I wanted to try. I work as a regulatory risk advisor across the three main sectors in financial services: banking and capital markets, wealth & asset management and insurance. It’s interesting work because there’s so much change in both the financial services industry and the regulatory space.

There are also plenty of opportunities to grow and to learn. I’ve recently had the opportunity to get involved with Triple FS, an action-focused initiative developed by EY, MetLife and BNY Mellon to help increase female leadership in the financial services industry in Ireland. It was my first experience of any kind of formal mentorship programme and I found it very beneficial – it was a great opportunity to understand how other people think about their roles and the challenges that people face.

The element of my job that I enjoy most is getting to work on a wide range of projects with a really diverse group of highly skilled people. Out teams are typically made up of people who have very diverse backgrounds, qualifications and experiences – I would say that there is no such thing as a typical route into Advisory. This means we can bring different competencies to bear depending on the client’s specific challenge. I have also benefited from the firm’s approach to flexible working, which has allowed me to work on really interesting projects while raising my family.

I think there are definitely core skills that are important to a successful career in Advisory, around the management of engagements, how to consult with clients, how to build enduring relationships, problem-solving, and flexing your approach for different projects. If you are interested in developing your skills in these areas, then a consulting career is definitely worth exploring.

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