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Abdul Latif

October 2020

1. Brief job description:

I provide general support for various compliance functions / projects. This is mainly on the advisory side, however, it also includes work on the surveillance side. Compliance as a team works to assist, support and challenge different business areas and respond to their queries or requests for advice, hence the work can be varied. 

2. What were your main responsibilities?

Creating management information (MI) for the senior leadership team (SLT) and senior function heads on a monthly/ quarterly basis. 

Analysis of employee personal account dealings (PAD), ensure they are in line with policy requirements.

Logging all complaints that GAM UK receives and ensure they are dealt with accordingly.

Logging all regulatory filings that are due for GAM UK entities and submitting some of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) filings.

Support employees with logging items on the StarCompliance system. This includes PAD, gifts and entertainment, outside business interests (OBIs) and employee certifications/attestations. 

Monitor the centralised compliance inbox and deal with queries / requests accordingly.

Create the compliance regulatory bulletin publication on a quarterly basis which is sent out business wide.

Monthly review of GAM fund ‘Fact Sheets’.

Assist with general administrative duties, as needed. 

3. Did you have any projects to work on?

Yes, I have supported the policy review project which includes a review of all GAM policies and the creation of new group policies. This is a long-term project. 

There is also an on-going project to re-vamp the use of StarCompliance and ensure it is as effective and efficient as possible. 

4. Day in the life – what does your day look like?

Well, the nature of the compliance department means that every day can be different. Typically, I’ll start my day by looking through my emails and respond to any queries that I have received directly. I will then look at the shared compliance inbox and again deal with queries accordingly; I have some daily monitoring tasks that I look to complete in the morning (daily Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) review). Afterwards I will usually start working on the various long-term tasks / projects I’m working on; this includes creating MI and other reports. However, we receive various ad-hoc requests daily, so I need to be pragmatic and flexible in the tasks that I do on a day-to-day basis.

5. What skills have you learnt, or improved on (department specific, personal, technical etc)?

There have been so many skills I have learned in my first year of work at GAM. Working in compliance has taught me to be diligent and concise in the work I do, I am often faced with reading large regulatory documents and / or policies which require me to quickly identify what is useful and what is relevant to the company. As mentioned before, being flexible in the work I do is extremely important as new tasks / queries can arise on a day-to-day basis and knowing how to prioritise is key. As I’m making reports for senior staff that may use the data in various meetings, I have learned to scrutinise my work effectively to ensure it is accurate and fit for purpose. My inter-personal skills have also massively improved, from face-to-face communication to learning how to send emails that are appropriate with regard to circumstance in which I am sending them. There are also many technical skills I have learedt such as improving my Excel and Word proficiency, as well as using the StarCompliance system. There are still so many skills I am learning and improving every day, I don’t forsee this will ending anytime soon!

6. Did you take any qualifications?

Yes, I am currently undertaking the Investment Management Certificate (IMC) qualification and am hoping to complete both units as soon as possible. My manager(s) have been very supportive in this regard and have allowed me to allocate certain portions of my week to study for the qualification. 

7. Do you have any further learnings or reflections, including adapting to the “remote working” environment?  

After finishing my degree and university I was very skeptical about working in the industry and quite fearful to make any mistakes. After working at GAM for a month I realised that my assumptions were ridiculous and that making mistakes was a key part of the learning process. I also found that the culture at GAM to be wholly supportive, especially for new joiners. For the future, I will be sure not to worry myself on things based on assumptions. 

In terms of WFH, it wasn’t easy to transition, especially when I was learning so much by being in the office. However, after some time I started to get used to being at home. A key thing that helped was having regular interactions with teammates. I believe being a flexible worker is crucial in the modern environment where there is so much global volatility and uncertainty.

8. What are you moving onto next?  Has this year inspired your future outlook or decisions?

I have been offered a permanent position and will be undertaking my new role as a ‘Compliance Analyst’ which I am super excited and grateful for. This year has really highlighted what I am good at and what I need to improve on. Also, I found that I really do like working within the compliance department and the year has inspired me to continue to work hard so I can hopefully have a senior compliance position in the future. Also, before this year I had a strong preference to work in the sell-side part of the industry, but this year has really highlighted the many pros of working for a buy-side firm and I wish to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. There are so many projects I am currently working on I would love to see all of them completed and implemented effectively, and it would personally be great to see the positive effect they have on the company. 

9. Can you summarise your experience?

With the exception of the effects of Covid-19, I don’t think I could have had a better experience and year. I have loved every minute and I’m super grateful that I was given this opportunity. I have an absolutely fantastic team who have provided me so much support in what has been my first year of work, I can say with confidence that my team have greatly aided my personal development and made this year as enjoyable as possible. I’m very excited to be a part of GAM during what is a tough transition period but I wholeheartedly believe that we are headed in the right direction.