Straight-talking Financial Times columnist, Heather McGregor, has been announced as one of the keynote speakers at the Welsh Finance conference, aiming to educate and inspire the next generation of financial services professionals on 29 November.
A renowned business-owner and entrepreneur, Heather, pseudonym ‘Mrs Moneypenny’ has written a weekly column for the Financial Times since 1999 and was this month appointed as Executive Dean of Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University. At the conference she will deliver a keynote presentation exploring routes into careers in financial services, and voice her thoughts on the future of the sector in Britain following the result of the Brexit vote.
The conference will be opened by Chris Nott, Senior Partner at Capital Law and will include keynote presentations from Steve Thomas, Chief Operating Officer and Location Director of Legal and General, Cardiff, and Julie-Ann Haines, Customer Director at Principality Building Society, a range of sector-specific seminars, and a panel debate on the future of financial services with panellists to include representatives from notable Welsh employers.
Designed to support the growing finance industry in Wales, the conference is being organised by a group of 40 financial services graduates who are taking part in the EU-funded Welsh Financial Services Graduate Programme. With almost 70% of financial services providers operating outside of London, the pioneering scheme was set up to attract and retain young talent to Wales, strengthening the country’s already competitive financial services industry.
Alongside organising the conference, the graduates are undergoing a variety of consecutive 6-month work placements with leading UK companies, including Atradius, Admiral, GM Financial, BBC Finance, Grant Thornton, Composite Legal Expenses, Julian Hodge Bank, Optimum Credit, Finance Wales and the Principality Building Society. Through work-based assignments and project reports the graduates will each achieve an MSc in Financial Services delivered by the University of South Wales upon completion of the scheme.
Sue Gunning, HR director at GM Financial UK, said:
“The Welsh programme gives us the opportunity to work with some of the brightest young minds in Wales.
We offer participants a chance to undertake a broad spectrum of roles in the automotive finance industry – such as project management, marketing, underwriting and accountancy – and to experience the rewarding and wide-ranging career options available to them.”
Mark Tweed, Managing Director UK & Sweden, GM Financial, added: “The Welsh Finance conference helps drive visibility of career opportunities in Wales overall and offers young talent more reasons to remain in Wales.”
Sandra Busby, Managing Director of the Welsh Financial Services Programme, which is managing the graduate scheme said:
“There are so many opportunities for the next generation to enter the financial services sector and make a real difference in a space where technology is rapidly changing the way business is done.
“In Wales, the sector is going from strength to strength and it’s important to maintain our position as a market leader in the industry and keep driving progress onwards. Through the graduate scheme and the Welsh Finance Conference we are putting business-leaders and graduates face-to-face, giving employers the chance to harness the talent that is emerging.”
Echoing this ethos, the programme for the conference has been designed to showcase the range of opportunities available to young professionals and recent graduates in Wales’ competitive financial services sector. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from and meet industry experts from leading Welsh companies, finding out more about the opportunities in the field.
Georgi Ivanov, a graduate on the programme now employed by GM Financial said:
“In a world where work-experience is as important to a prospective employer as qualifications are, being given the opportunity to develop professionally while studying towards a Master’s degree is a perfect balance.
“Having attended the previous Finance Conference, I applied for the graduate scheme which has given me an insight into the industry and has allowed me to find out about the different career paths that financial services can open up, resulting in a permanent position with GM Financial. Through organising the Welsh Finance Conference, myself and the other graduates are hoping to inspire the next generation to invest in their future by considering careers in a field that’s exciting and rewarding.”
The not-for-profit event will donate any proceeds to The Prince’s Trust. Upwards of 400 delegates are expected to attend the event at Cardiff’s City Hall. For more information, visit www.welshfinanceconference.com.
The Welsh Finance Conference will take place on 29th November 2016 at Cardiff’s City Hall.