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Careers in Finance & Financial Services: fund administration Back  
Dublin is the best location in the world in which to develop a career in fund administration, says Harley Murphy, newly appointed country manager of Mellon Ireland. He first entered the industry in 1999 when he joined Mellon Fund Administration Dublin as managing director, and advises those looking to get ahead in the industry, to see how the industry is changing and then, ‘get as much experience as you can in those areas that are developing within the industry’.
1. What is your educational background?
I qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant in 1985 and in 1999, as part of a career break, completed a Masters in Management & Organisational Studies from Michael Smurfit Business School. Soon after I obtained a postgraduate diploma in Organisational Behaviour from London University.

2. What has been your career path to date?
Harley Murphy, Country Manager, Mellon

Having worked as a credit analyst with Chase, I moved to ABN Dublin where I was appointed financial controller responsible for finance and IT. In 1987 I became an expatriate manager with ABN, initially working in operations, administration and IT. In 1992, I took up a regional management role with ABN AMRO and set up a department to support the reorganisation of the European branches of the bank outside the Netherlands. Following my career break in 1999 I joined Mellon Fund Administration Dublin as managing director. During 2003, I ran major change projects for Mellon in the UK and Australia, then in 2004 became regional head Scotland for their fund administration activities there. I became country manager for Ireland on July 1st, 2005.

3. Are your peers from similar backgrounds?
Many of my peers would be qualified accountants but I expect other than that they come from a wide variety of backgrounds. I like to think that the extent of my international experience enables me to bring a special dimension to this role.

4. Have you worked abroad? If so where and what did you do? Would you do so again?
I have spent roughly half my working life abroad. I have worked in London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Melbourne and Edinburgh. This is very helpful in dealing with clients from different countries themselves. What I did in these countries is broadly described in my answer to question two. I have just returned to Ireland in the past six weeks, and have no current plans to move abroad again, but I would never say never.

5. How would you compare career prospects internationally to those in Ireland?
Certainly in the fund administration business there is probably no better location globally to develop a career.

6. Have you undertaken any additional professional training since assuming your current role?
Not yet, but as an accountant I now have to undertake continuous professional education as a matter of course. In addition, these days keeping up with the ongoing market and regulatory changes in financial services is a fulltime job.

7. What skills/aptitude would you identify as being key/beneficial to a career in your sector?
Ability to work productively as part of a team is essential, people skills in general and for many of the positions strong numeracy skills would be required.

8. What aspects of the job do you like most?
Undoubtedly, working on a variety of challenges as part of a team. Also seeing younger staff succeed in their careers with Mellon.

9. What aspects of the job do you like least?
Having to deal with the bureaucracy that is necessary for any process-driven, large organisation that has a strong emphasis on its fiduciary responsibilities.

10. How do you define success in your sector?
Having happy clients and a strong bottom line. Mellon’s corporate goal is to be the best performing financial services company, not necessarily the largest. Our emphasis on excellent client service is a key driver of our success.

11. Is there anyone in particular you admire in your industry?
Within the Irish funds’ industry I have great admiration for the energy, enthusiasm and commitment of Gary Palmer, who is chief executive of the Dublin Fund Industry Association (DFIA). On the wider global stage I have huge admiration for the integrity of Mellon’s own chairman and chief executive officer, Marty McGuinn.

12. What advice would you give to others who might like a career in your sector?
Look ahead, see how the industry is changing and then get as much experience as you can in those areas that are developing within the industry. Never stop learning.

13. In what areas are there the most opportunities in Ireland? IFSC/domestic etc.
Our industry is international by nature so definitely the development of the IFSC is where most opportunities will continue to arise.

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