Seung Executive Director/Vice President, Securities Division Compliance Global Compliance division, London
My first impressions of Goldman Sachs were they are willing to invest a lot of time and money to ensure we were well trained in a quality environment.
I am a compliance officer responsible for Commodities Compliance in Securities Division for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Our team is primarily responsible for making sure Commodities Sales and Trading personnel are legally and regulatory compliant, while also acting as a key advisor to them. I get a lot of questions varying from approving structured and strategic trades to advising what commodities exchange rules we need to follow and be aware of.
One of the most interesting aspects of my job is that I never know how my day is going to turn out. Every day I get different and challenging questions which keep me on my toes and force me to think quickly and provide good advice to my clients. I also get involved in a number of training initiatives which provide me with the opportunity to address a big audience on compliance policies and procedures.
I think there are many great opportunities to pursue a new career at Goldman Sachs and to get involved in the firm’s citizenship activities for example various affinity networks, diversity and leadership initiatives. As always, it really is up to the individual to be proactive and find out more about these initiatives.
New global financial reform means that there will be opportunity for compliance officers to interpret the rules to ensure that our business meets new rule requirements associated with this regulation. We do this by implementing and updating policies and procedures and then communicating them via various training mediums. My work is a combination of individual and team work. I tend to work individually on more local issues, such as ad hoc queries on trades and client marketing efforts or European regulatory or exchange enquiries and rule updates, and work with a team on global projects, including drafting policies and procedures or training initiatives.
Probably the hardest part of my job is having to deliver difficult messages to my clients. However, I try to build strong business relationships with all of them to ensure that they understand the nature of compliance, and how it plays an important role in protecting the firm’s reputation.
The most rewarding part of my job is interaction with the clients in extremely fast paced trading floors. Clients value my work and advice and clients trust my ability to resolve issues. It is good to create a positive perception of compliance services and see a result in getting the deal done or providing solutions for my clients.
I applied to Goldman Sachs after attending a presentation by the firm at the College of Law. A number of my friends from the Masters programme at the London School of Economics were applying to banks and we started to go to campus recruiting events. An internship at another financial services firm was the turning point where I decided I wanted to work for a bank rather than a law firm.
I contacted Goldman Sachs directly the day after the campus presentation by writing a cover letter and enclosing my CV. I did apply to a number of other banks and I invested a lot of time preparing for interviews, including doing research about each firm, the financial sector and speaking to friends who already worked in the industry.
My first few days were in New York for the global analyst training programme. People were professional and we had an impeccable agenda to cover our training materials as well as fantastic social events. My first impressions of Goldman Sachs were they are willing to invest a lot of time and money to ensure we were well trained in a quality environment.
Looking back at the days of applying for jobs, I never thought I would work in the financial industry. I studied languages for my BA, international relations for my MSc and a CPE at a law school which automatically made me think I could not work in the financial industry. However, Goldman Sachs focuses on getting the right candidates with the right potential. So even if you do not hold a finance degree, Goldman Sachs will provide you with the training needed in order for you to succeed in your job.
There is no substitute for preparation. To anyone considering a career in finance, I would suggest doing plenty of research about the firms you are interested in and speaking to as many people within the financial industry as possible. Try to get interview practice before the real one. Be yourself when answering questions during interviews. There are typically no right or wrong answers. But you must do your homework.