Our Young Professional Ridwan is 28 years old and now works through Young Financials as an SBL Officer, securities borrowing & lending at one of the largest banks in the Netherlands. With his team, he keeps busy all day in the short selling department and together they monitor clients’ risks. Want to know more about Ridwan and his path to becoming a Young Professional? Then read on below!
Did you always know you wanted to do something in Finance? And how did you experience the road to becoming a Young Professional?
“Yes actually. I did a Bachelor and Master Economics, both in Amsterdam. When I finished these, my goal was to work at a financial institution. During my studies, I had a side job as a tour guide at the stock exchange. I was allowed to give tours of the building and I really enjoyed that. I also came across Young Financials through LinkedIn during my studies. I had then left my resume on the website and after a few days I was contacted to see if I was interested in a job that they thought fit my profile. That turned out to be this position as SBL Officer. I then learned that this was a position with one of the most sought-after employers among graduates and economists.
I really liked the fact that Young Financials was able to help me so much to get into such a great position. After contacting the recruiters, I met with YF’s Account Managers and they prepared me very well. Together we went through my entire resume and discussed the important points. We did role plays and some complicated questions were also asked to see how I reacted to them. It really felt like some kind of coaching I was getting. I liked that and I learned a lot from it. Eventually I had the interview with the client and there were two managers there who also happened to have ended up there via Young Financials. So they came in the same way as me and eventually grew into a management position. The fact that there are such advancement opportunities was really cool to hear.”
What exactly are the duties in your position?
“I joined the SBL department about a year ago through Young Financials, and we deal with short-selling (selling securities one doesn’t own) there. I deal with risks clients have every day. We look at how many trades are still open, see what amounts are involved, and we try to act on that. We do this by calling (or emailing) the client and indicating that they still need to cover their position if we don’t have the ability to borrow it for them ourselves (borrow & lend). And that’s what we do pretty much all day. A kind of Risk Management actually, where we monitor open trades of clients and inform them if there is no possibility to cover their trade with a borrow”
What is the most valuable thing you have learned in your career so far?
“In Finance, you notice that there are many things that need to be done and in my situation there is often time pressure on certain tasks. You learn very well how to keep your head cool and how best to prioritize. You learn how to weigh what is important and what is less important. You also learn how best to think along with customers, how to maintain good relations with them and that customer friendliness is important. There are departments that are much more involved with customer contact. You also interact with those teams within the organization, and you learn an awful lot from that too.”
And did you experience obstacles or things that just went really well?
“I was, what you probably have with many jobs, thrown in at the deep end a bit. The nice thing about that, though, is that you’re ‘part of the team’ right away. The first few weeks you’re still learning how everything works and then within a month you get your own portfolio that you get to work on right away, so the learning curve is very steep.
Furthermore, obstacles that we do have at times are caused by being very busy. Our work is very dependent on the market. As soon as there is more volatility in the markets we notice it in our day-to-day. Volumes are higher and you will speak to clients more often. During these periods the pressure is often high and you learn a lot. This also makes the work exciting and dynamic, which is something I find very interesting. I learn new things every week and get to see, for example from colleagues and managers, different things each time.”
What about working with colleagues?
“I do really feel that it is a team that we work in. It’s a very operational job and with that comes a very strong team environment. You all have your own portfolio, but in between you also have a number of deadlines that you and your team have to meet one day. For example, it can sometimes happen that a colleague has a very large portfolio and therefore finds it more difficult to meet the deadline, but then you just help each other. You can’t be a freerider in this job, because that doesn’t do much good for your portfolio. You really work as a team and together you make sure that all the work is done by the end of the day.
There are also get-togethers and events where you talk to people within the bank who have been working there for a while. From them you hear stories about how the stock market world used to work. As a result, you see very well the influence of technology on work. For example, you hear that people used to have to do things on paper and a manager would sign off on it. Now it’s all digital and the work is actually 100 times faster.
Finally, we also have a few people who are really into automation, who you can also learn a lot from. For example, I’ve also started a little bit with Python now, which I’m really enjoying. You just really see that it’s a good company to get started as a finance graduate.”
What would you like to pass along to Young Professionals starting their careers now?
“Find something you’re sure you’re going to learn something from. Say you want to do something in Finance, try to get into that world through big companies. From working at a financial institution you are going to learn a tremendous amount. Furthermore, don’t stare blindly at what a traineeship is. Especially in the beginning it is a lot harder to get in on a traineeship and through a secondment company you can actually get a very nice position. At the company where I work now, I see a lot of people who came in via Young Financials, for example, and they have all been given very good positions. So surely there are several paths that lead to a top client.”