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Trish O'Dowd

Compliance Officer, Investec Ireland

Degree subject BA Management Science and Information Systems Studies

Job title Compliance Officer

Employer Investec Ireland

When I graduated I knew that working in regulation and compliance would give me a good grounding in finance. I began my career working for the Financial Services Authority in London. It was here that I first realised how key compliance is to an institution's success: regardless of the financial strength of an institution, their reputation – and more – can be at risk if the correct resources are not put into compliance. I then decided I wanted to move home, so I joined the regulatory risk team of a Big 4 firm in Dublin. This gave me a great insight into regulation and compliance in the Irish market, which has gone through much change recently. After this, I decided to experience compliance 'on the front line' within a bank and so applied for my current position.

I am one of three compliance officers in my department and my workload is really varied. The biggest aspects of my work involve analysing the impact of regulatory changes, advising the business on day-to-day compliance matters, monitoring ongoing compliance, and being part of new product development, eg how a new banking product can be marketed to customers. The work often has a legal angle and can be time consuming when you encounter something new – as it is still relatively early in my career, this can happen often and it keeps the work interesting.

Another part of my work is training staff on topics such as anti-money laundering, fraud and new procedures arising from new regulations. Throughout my work, decision-making and analytical skills are crucial, as are the abilities to prioritise and negotiate.

I get to know and interact with everyone at work and be involved in different business activities. While others have to understand their own area, I need to understand what's going on across many areas. Working in regulation and compliance has also given me great access to senior management: a highlight of my time with the FSA was having a meeting with the global CEO of one of the world's biggest investment banks.

Advice for graduates

My advice to graduates is to consider working in one of the world's major financial centres to gain insight into, and solid experience of, the world of finance.