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Role as a financial professional

Wayne Walker
Wayne Walker migrated with his family to the US and now lives in Denmark. A capital market trainer with expertise in the global financial markets and has led numerous seminars in Europe, North America, Asia and the Caribbean. He shares his experiences with Jobsmart as a financial professional and a Jamaican expatriate.

Role of the financial professional
Financial professionals can be that guiding hand that clients need when the capital markets are experiencing so many extremes. Turmoil also highlights the need for education from qualified trainers without the hype. These are times that people need proper guidance. Though it is a perception that we are sliding but the situation is bound to improve and the markets will rebound.

By being the responsible and knowledgeable advisor in times of turmoil, means you will be called upon many times in a given day. As with friendship, you remember and share most with those who were with you in times of trouble.

Opportunities for financial professionals
There are also many opportunities to show clients the value of education, especially on diversification. Foreign Exchange (FX) for example, which is on many peoples minds in Jamaica is neither a financial saviour or evil. FX is simply another asset class as real estate.

Word of advice
Start with a good base in economics or finance and build on the opportunities as they come. My own story, like countless others, where you begin is often not an indicator of where you will end up.

Getting experience
I am not sure if it is always an advantage to go abroad for a degree, Jamaica has equally good institutions, the University of West Indies for example. You may want to consider, if possible, is to do some work abroad as you will get exposure to different practices and trading of different instruments which aren't on the lips of most Jamaicans.

Where to start
As a financial professional you can look for jobs in banking and financial institutions; try and look for places that have a varied portfolio. At the beginners level you start off in a analysis role and also assisting senior financial advisors, you can start trading basics This will expose you to different instruments of trading and after getting a hands on training, you can decide which course of action to take.

Knowledge is the key
When you are starting out do not look for that little incremental over a company that offers lesser salary but has a wide range options. What you learn will be very valuable down the line. Also look out for ways and means to upgrade your skill sets by getting certifications and taking time out to learn. You should be abreast with what is happening in the world. Your reading should not just be restricted to only to financial news, there are so many factors that run the financial market, natural calamities, political situations etc.

I started in financial sales and moved to heading two teams of investment bankers trading equity derivatives, FX & commodities for both North America and the Middle East regions based in Copenhagen and London.

Traits and pre-requisites
It is very important to get a solid education; it really is your ticket even in the most hostile of environments. The opportunities, when you get them, you have to jump and take advantage. You should have the capacity to learn, and to learn fast. Try to get a practical knowledge of how trading is done; you can do this by logging to online banks and learn on their demo accounts, this is the most viable way of learning.

Like all professions, the financial market has also gone electronic; you should be comfortable in using technology and the various aspects of electronic transaction and trading. You can also learn another language, this would help in exchanging ideas and getting other perspective.

You should be open minded, the world has already started the move away from the days where everything is determined by the European Union and the US. Since this is a very volatile area, you are bound to make mistakes, there is a constant flow of information and split second execution of transactions, but you should not get weighed down by your mistakes, instead learn from them. But be careful that you do not repeat the same mistakes over and over.

Jamaican financial market in coming years
I think I am probably the most bullish person on the Caribbean capital market I know there will be more consolidation and regional activity. The Jamaican market is experiencing some turmoil but the overall returns would make most investors smile.
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