Sebako Executive Director/Vice President, Collateral Management Operations division, London
My advice to anyone considering a career in finance would be to take every opportunity to explore and learn.
I work in the Operations division of the London office of Goldman Sachs. I currently manage the outgoing documentation teams for Equity and Credit Derivatives as well as the Retrievals and Affirmation team for the Structured Equity Derivatives piece.
My work is very much team-based. We cover many different products and have to liaise with many other divisions to get our job done daily. For example, if a new product is launched we work closely with Legal, the Exotic Trade Review team and Trading to get the correct documentation framework in place. We will also need to work with the Middle Office, projects and IT teams to ensure our systems are set up correctly.
In my four and a half years here, I have had the opportunity to work in three different roles. I have been able to get closely involved in recruitment and other initiatives, such as co-chairing the Operations Black Network, that have further enhanced my experience and personal development. I’ve also had the opportunity to influence how the industry moves forward through our participation in ISDA Working Groups. This is one of the areas in which Goldman Sachs excels.
My main key assignments include steering the team toward the future – working closely with our Projects and IT teams as well as within our wider documentation team to ensure we have efficient, controlled, scalable processes and systems – whilst focusing on keeping aged outstanding confirmation numbers within acceptable tolerances.
The most interesting part is keeping up with the new products and documentation requirements and regulations. It is also the most challenging! The most rewarding part of my role is seeing the growth in my team, both on individual and personal basis as well as more generally, as we achieve our targets.
A couple of things I am particularly proud of are the progress my team has made on their targets in the face of many challenges and the publication of the ISDA Inflation Definitions, which the industry uses to document inflation-related transactions and which my predecessor, my previous team and I contributed heavily toward. The latter was a true example of teamwork, both internally and within the industry, and definitely ranks highly!
I came into Goldman Sachs as an experienced hire. Goldman Sachs was certainly different from anywhere I had previously worked. There was a lot more talking and interaction, of which I had been apprised – the ”Consensus Culture.” There is a heavier emphasis on networking, which I have definitely benefited from personally in terms of a stronger support network and gaining greater confidence in putting my views forward and helping to drive change.
During my Bar Vocational Course and following my call to the Bar at Middle Temple, I decided to pursue non-legal opportunities before finally settling down into Family Law. I fell into legal documentation purely by accident, having been offered a role as a drafter in an Equity Derivatives documentation team. I found that I thoroughly enjoyed using my legal skills whilst working in the fast-paced, challenging environment of derivatives. So I began to focus on expanding my experience within the derivatives documentation. I also found that I enjoyed the people side of things as I progressed along the managerial path.
My advice to anyone considering a career in finance would be to take every opportunity to explore and learn. The world of finance is vast and varied, and there really is something in finance for everyone. Have an open mind, and take the time to really drill into your inherent strengths and personal preferences so you can target roles that will allow you to showcase and enhance them.
Make contact with family and friends already working in finance and ask questions, read the financial press, take part in internships and other access programs or symposiums. Have a dream and set yourself goals and targets.