Investment banks are some of the most technologically and administratively complicated organisations in the world and operate in a competitive and fast-moving sector. So it's no surprise that they're investing in the best systems and graduate talent to stay efficient and powerful. Here we take a look inside Operations at global investment bank RBC Capital Markets, from the perspective of a recent joiner.
BA Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge, 2009-12
Summer Analyst, RBC Operations, summer 2011
Joined RBC in 2012
What does Operations do?
We're the hub of the bank; we make sure everything that's meant to happen does happen as smoothly and as quickly as possible. Most of the work conducted by the team I work in is concerned with trading - we take information from traders, contact the counterparties involved in the trade, and make sure they're processed properly.
As well as this day-to-day work, we also take on projects to improve our processes and make them more efficient. At the moment, making sure we comply with new banking regulation is a huge part of that.
RBC came out of the financial crisis quite well relative to its peers, so we've seen an increase in business. This means there's a lot going on to make sure our systems keep pace with the new, bigger bank. I've been testing a lot of the new aspects of them to make sure they're ready to be rolled out.
How do graduates fit in?
Over the course of the programme each analyst gets to experience all the different areas that make up Operations, from product support to systems engineering project work. In doing so, by the end of the programme we have in-depth knowledge of not only each area of Operations but also how they interact with each other during the life cycle of a trade. We can also bring a fresh pair of eyes to help improve efficiency.
What do you like most about your job?
It's the problem-solving element that appeals most to me. Not long after I joined, I was testing a system that simulated processing trades, which wasn't working as effectively as required. I was able to solve the problem and also apply the solution to lots of other situations, so the time spent figuring it out paid off.
Tell us something surprising about your job.
I think it would surprise people to know how much responsibility Operations has for the bank's overall performance. We may not be traders, but Operations does guide this group on how much they have to trade with, and what they need to have in their account at the end of the day, so we contribute a great deal.
Why is Operations an exciting place to be at the moment?
Changes in UK banking regulation mean our work is constantly changing. Working for a Canadian bank with global operations adds an international dimension to change too, which adds to the excitement.