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Careers in finance and financial services: Profile of a wealth manager Back  
Wealth managers are likely to be in ever greater demand as the Irish economy continues to thrive, but Kevin Quinn, an associate director with Bank of Ireland Private Banking, writes that experience of other financial sectors, from accounting to life and pensions, is as important as the right qualifications.
What is your educational background?I did a business degree in TCD back in the ’80s and followed that with a Masters in Investment & Treasury management in DCU in the mid ’90s. I’m also a regular member of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute, the Society of Investment Analysts of Ireland (SIAI) and the Marketing Institute.

Kevin Quinn, an associate director with Bank of Ireland Private Banking

How did you get into wealth management? I’ve worked in most areas of personal finance over the past 16 years or so, including mortgages, pensions, life assurance, savings and investments. Wealth management is in many ways an amalgam of these and a number of other fields, so you might say it was a logical progression.

Are your peers from similar backgrounds? Not really – in fact they tend to be drawn from a variety of financial services backgrounds. The senior guys in our business come from banking, investment, legal and accounting backgrounds as too do many of the client management staff. In addition, a business like ours needs specialists in a variety of fields and includes investment analysts, pension specialists, property specialists, chartered surveyors, economists, tax specialists and individuals with corporate finance backgrounds.

What has been your career path to date? I started in a marketing role with Irish Life back in the ‘80s. Through that I got exposure to a variety of businesses and I spent time with their homeloan, investment management and life and pensions businesses. I moved to Bank of Ireland Asset Management in 1997, where I took care of the marketing of the private client division (you may recall the ‘Investment Advice for life’ book that we published back then). In 2000, I joined the newly formed private bank as head of marketing and product development, and shortly after joined its management team.

Have you worked abroad? Would you do so again? No - unless you count some ill-spent college holidays in London!

How would you compare career prospects internationally to those in Ireland? The Irish wealth management industry is a relatively young business when compared to others in Europe and is going through a very rapid period of growth. A few years back it served a relatively select number of individuals; nowadays however, with the explosion of wealth in the country, a lot more individuals have need of this type of service. As a result career prospects within the Irish business are pretty strong.

Have you undertaken any additional professional training? Not since I did a Masters some years back. The SIAI, the CFA Institute and the Marketing Institute are my main sources for keeping up with developments in these fields and I depend on colleagues from a variety of fields for other areas. In the areas in which I work it is necessary to keep abreast of developments across a number of fields - that goes for most people in this business.

What skills/aptitude would you identify as being key/beneficial to a career in wealth management? Wealth management is a broad field and can cater for a diversity of talents. If managing client accounts is that area most interesting you then I’d suggest that people skills are probably the most important; however a keen interest and understanding of investment markets, pensions, property and tax are also really essential parts of the toolkit. If more specialist areas are your preferred career path, then there is certainly demand for individuals with specialists skills in property, pensions, investments and for individuals who have a track record in closing deals in any of these fields.

What aspects of the job do you like most? I’d have to say launching new products; it’s the area I started in and I’ve been involved in about 40 new product launches in my career. I still get a kick from being able to look back and say, ‘I had a hand in that’.

Where would you see yourself in five years? Wealth management as a business necessarily involves one directly with the most successful – and wealthiest – individuals in the country. Consequently, all of us in this business would like to be a client within five years! Who knows…

What advice would you give to others who might like a career in wealth management? Wealth management is a field that demands experience. Most individuals who come into this field come with experience of either the accounting, tax, life and pensions, banking or investment industry. Using their experience and qualifications is really a springboard from which to become a wealth manager – in particular on the client management side. Being well qualified is a given in the business, the more experience that a person can bring the shorter the route to success in this sector.

In what areas are there the most opportunities in wealth management in Dublin? There will be very strong demand for experienced client managers in the years to come as I believe that the sector will continue to benefit from the performance of the Irish economy. I also expect that we will continue to see strong demand in the property market and consequently there is likely to be considerable openings for individuals with experience of sourcing and closing property or private equity type transactions. The area of pensions continues to be a growth area and specialist expertise will also be in strong demand in my view.

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