Roné works as a fund analyst and investment specialist at Amity Wealth, focusing on analysing different fund managers and their solutions to assist independent financial advisers in providing clients with optimal investment solutions.
What study and career path has brought you to your current position?
I completed my undergraduate degree in both Investment Management and Financial Planning at the University of Stellenbosch, and did my Honours in Financial Analysis. After graduation I packed my bags and made the big move to Johannesburg. I started working in corporate finance as an analyst but found myself drawn to the investment industry, and after a period of time joined Amity Wealth.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My day always starts with a great, early morning cup of coffee whilst getting up to date with what is happening in financial markets. Some days I find myself reading for hours on end, as understanding the political and economic environment locally and globally does take a great amount of reading and research. As a fund analyst my days are mostly filled with due diligence and follow-up meetings with portfolio managers from different investment houses to gain insight and keep up to date with the views, positioning, process and philosophy of each of their mandates as well as to understand how fund managers differ in their approaches in constructing portfolios. This insight is used together with our in-house economic research and scenario analysis to gain a sense of what different fund managers might do in certain markets, given their investment process and philosophy, and we can then go about reviewing our in-house funds and model portfolios to ensure we have the most optimal solution for our network of advisors and their clients. After a long day’s work I shuffle in behind my CFA books as I’m studying towards the CFA designation.
What are the highlights of your job?
Being young and new to the industry, you often do not get much exposure to an array of different asset managers while still being involved in an investment team in-house. I have been fortunate enough to join a company where gender and age has not been a limitation, and I have been given a lot of challenges throughout my career at Amity. I probably work within one of the only all-female investment teams within South Africa, which has definitely shaped who I am today. Being a fund analyst also entails a lot of meetings with portfolio managers, which has afforded me insight into a large number of fund managers both locally and globally, and giving me a great toolkit to use when building portfolios for advisors and their clients.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received that’s helped you in your career?
I have been fortunate enough to work with great mentors, but my greatest mentor has been my dad who is an avid businessman. Starting out my career within the current tough market was challenging to say the least, but there has been a piece of advice which has kept me sane through it all: "You have to give yourself an hour to sit in a corner and sulk a bit; when that hour is over you need to get up and start thinking of what opportunities have been created". Always looking for opportunities within the chaos has become a way of thinking for me personally and has really helped me develop as a fund analyst.
What would you say it takes to succeed as a woman in finance?
I think the key thing would be confidence. Being a young female in an industry full of individuals with such a wealth of knowledge and strong opinions can be quite intimidating. Believing in your abilities and knowledge, being well read on what is going on in financial markets, and having strong technical knowledge can go a long way in setting yourself up as a force to be reckoned with within this industry and a great asset to the business you find yourself working for.
There is a perception that the finance sector can be a "boy’s club". Have you found this to be true at all in your experience?
This statement can certainly feel true when you find yourself to be one of the only five females at an investment roadshow. We’re often told that our all-female investment team is uncommon, but I have never felt that we have been treated differently and have actually felt a sense of appreciation from most males we have dealt with for having strong opinions and being able to challenge them with our ideas.
Do you have any tips for those entering the finance industry?
I think the first step would be to really understand yourself and the industry you are entering. The finance industry has a lot of different sectors and layers, and understanding where your interest lies is a great starting point. For me personally, looking and acting professionally in meetings, good email etiquette, strong presentation and relationship-building skills are key.
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Nicole Cameron is a features writer with over twelve years’ experience, focusing primarily on the business market with a niche focus on entrepreneurship. She has written on a variety of topics for Sharenet and is excited to be focusing on women in finance in her new monthly column "Femmes in Finance". She holds a Business Science degree from UCT and is passionate about reporting on the events and people that make up the local business landscape.