Lizzie Potter is an Investment Analyst at LCP, and she tells us what her role involves, how she got the job, and offers her advice for aspiring actuaries…
Why did you choose a job in this sector/profession?
I always knew I wanted to be in a client-facing industry since I enjoy communicating. I was drawn to consultancy in particular due to the strong teamwork elements and solutions-based style of work it offers. Through studying cognitive neuroscience I had been exposed to, and found interesting, theories of risk and decision-making, and how this is applicable to making investment decisions. I decided I wanted to be in a position to help advise clients on how to navigate the complex world of investing. Pensions investing appealed to me since it has an element of social responsibility and is so important to people’s futures.
I saw LCP at a careers fair at my university, and thought a mid-size company would give me opportunities for growth, but still care enough that I wouldn’t just be a nameless graduate in a huge machine. The reason I chose to accept the offer from LCP over others was that everyone I met there seemed happy and to enjoy working there.
How did you get your job at LCP?
I applied for a place on LCP’s graduate programme shortly after I graduated. My best advice to someone applying is to read around what the job entails, show you have thought about whether it is right for you, and try to demonstrate how the experience you have will help you in the role.
What was the application process like?
LCP’s application process was simpler and less time consuming than most others. There was only one application form that included questions about experience, skills and motivations for applying, but not endless online aptitude tests with multiple deadlines like some companies. Then I was invited to an assessment day that included group exercises and interviews about my CV and prior experience.
A good tip for the interview process is that the company is trying to assess your softer skills, such as communication and working with others, as well as your technical abilities.
What are your main duties/ roles?
I provide investment advice to a range of different sponsors and trustees of defined contribution pension schemes. There is more analysis and drafting client documents at graduate entry level, with client exposure and advisory aspects of the job increasing as you progress, although I have already been to meetings with fund managers.
As a team we will assess how best to advise a client on where to invest their pension funds based on their needs and attitudes to risk, and which fund managers are most suited to their circumstances. We create long-term strategies for the client using our simple to use modelling software, and conduct research on different fund managers across multiple asset classes in order to assess their suitability for clients.
This often involves having meetings with the managers of portfolios and getting a sense of their fund management style and investment process. We also monitor how pension scheme investments are performing on a quarterly or semi-annual basis.
Is it a 9-5 job?
It is most of the time, but since the workload can increase during quarterly monitoring, there may be times where the hours are slightly longer. However, team leaders ask everyone on their team about their workload each week, so it is easy to raise any concerns if you are too busy and work can be reassigned to someone who has less to do.
What skills are useful in this sector/profession?
Investment consultancy is well suited to those who have technical skills, enjoy problem solving and are analytical. However, there is also a need for communication and interpersonal skills. The ability to analyse complex financial information and then relay it in a clear, simple way to clients is key. Time management is also important since often you will be balancing multiple tasks with different deadlines at any one time.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
Over the short term, I would like to pass the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) professional examinations. There are 3 levels to pass and LCP support all graduates sitting these exams by providing tutorials and study days and paying exam entry fees. Over the longer term, I would like to progress to a more senior role where I would have a greater client exposure, and lead on strategy innovation and implementation for my own clients.