The City and financial services

Competition remains fierce for work in investment, retail and boutique banks, asset management companies, insurers and life companies, private equity firms, venture capital houses and hedge funds.

For many newly qualified professionals, working as an accountant in the City is still the ideal career destination.

The bar for working in these environments is set high. In order to truly thrive, you will need:

  • exemplary records in both your academic and professional exams
  • industry knowledge
  • credibility with senior colleagues and clients.

However, if you make the cut, the benefits of working in the City and financial services are plenty, and extend beyond the pay.

So, where to next?

Retail banking is well-known for offering unparalleled professional development. As a newly qualified accountant in retail banking, you will:

  • be exposed to senior stakeholders
  • work on challenging projects
  • be given responsibility and autonomy.

In return, you will be offered a career with extensive opportunities to move internally between different jurisdiction and business lines. This sector is a fast-paced, highly commercial, consumer-facing industry offering excellent career development and progression – and the work-life balance here is generally considered to be better than investment banking.

Investment banking is arguably one of the most sought after career paths in the City.

Investment banks offer:

  • a competitive business nature
  • an excellent compensation structure
  • a highly meritocratic professional environment.

Organisations within these competitive institutions cater to professionals who are looking for a challenging international career, and who enjoy the complex nature of investment banking products. They are confident operating in a fast-paced, high performance office culture.

Investment management provide a vibrant culture with fantastic learning opportunities.

The arena of investment management encompasses hedge funds, private equity firms, private wealth managers, venture capitalists, custodians and administrators. They offer professional management of securities and other assets in order to achieve specific investment goals set by investors.

Services are similar to those offered by investment banks, but they strive to set a different culture. Larger investment managers are still able to offer a work-life balance, and more niche investment houses are often a more intimate operation, removed from the corporate behaviours of big banking institutions. They are widely considered fantastic places to:

  • learn the operations of financial markets
  • gain insight into the complexities of financial products
  • benefit from a vibrant culture.

To talk to a consultant about your accountancy career in the City and financial services, please get in touch with your City contact.


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