“Education got me out of poverty and that is why we sent you to that school!”, is how my grandfather, a WWII veteran from the highlands of Scotland, scolded me when I complained about boarding school. I was 7 years old when I got a scholarship to a boarding school nearby and that is where I grew up. It was an upbringing which is thought of as archaic nowadays but what it taught me was self-reliance and independence.
At 18 years’ old I signed up to teach English in Japan for a year being paid just food and board and the experience of working in rural Japan. I learnt conversational Japanese and this prompted me to change my undergraduate degree to East Asian Studies, a course with which I spent a year studying in Nanjing, China, where I then learnt conversational Mandarin. I completed my studies with a masters’ in Management and Finance and knew I wanted to be in the most fast-paced, international industry available.
In 2008 I joined Macquarie Securities in London to broke Japanese equities but when the collapse of Lehman Brothers’ changed the industry I was offered a contract in the Singapore office to muck in as the equity department’s coffee boy. I was the MD’s dogsbody, preparing presentations about the Singapore business, sitting with the sales traders, taking notes for the brokers and doing all the work no-one else wanted to do on the equity sales desk. It was an experience I would not have gained in a permanent role. Finally, I moved into Macquarie’s research department to crunch numbers for the regional economist and equity analysts and this is where I got my first taste of analysis and writing reports.
I subsequently secured a position in Aberdeen Asset Management’s Singapore office where I was a generalist analyst on the pan-Asian equity research desk. I spent the majority of my time researching public companies across ASEAN and Japan and ended up co-managing the Indonesia country funds and finally the Asia-Including Japan regional funds.
I had always wanted run my own business so I left Aberdeen to do so and set up a company in Singapore in which we analysed clients’ businesses, their target markets and helped clients to raise capital by originating mezzanine financing.
After 3 good years we decided to close our doors after a sudden change in regulations. It was the most difficult decision I have ever had to make but it was the right one. After more than 10 years in fund management and asset raising in Singapore I decided I would move back to the U.K. if I could find the right role. As Head of Research at Murano I work with a talented team in a business which is going from strength to strength, work with clients who are industry veterans and utilise all my career experience to date.