Ashley

Corporate Finance / Sydney

“Numbers are an integral part of my everyday life ...”

Joined CLSA: 2015
Studied: Commerce at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Hometown: Sydney, Australia

I grew up in a small country town called Alstonville (in Northern NSW), an area famous for growing macadamia nuts, but I spent the majority of my working life in Sydney. I always wanted to be in banking or trading so I studied finance and accounting at university.

There is no typical day in corporate finance, which is one of the highlights of the role! I could be marketing to potential clients, working on upcoming pitches, executing live transactions, chasing down new leads or most likely doing a combination of all of them. Numbers are an integral part of my everyday life. Where my clients are based means I need to travel quite extensively, I spend at least one week a month in Hong Kong or China with an occasional trip to North America and Europe as well.

One of the best things about working at CLSA is being part of a growing organisation that seeks to become the “Champion of Asia” in global investment banking.

CLSA stands out from other places where I have worked because of its direct connectivity and access to China (across corporates, funds and State Owned Enterprises) and its ability to leverage off our parent company, CITIC Securities, which is China’s leading investment bank.

My role at CLSA involves advising Australian and Chinese clients, helping them execute their strategic vision through a range of transactions that includes buying or selling businesses or raising capital (either by equity issuance and debt financing) or a combination of both.

Exploring strategies surrounding complex situations, problem solving and the constant variation in the type of work I do and the clients I interact with are the most rewarding aspects of my role.

I first heard about CLSA through a former colleague and it was CLSA’s unrivalled access and connectivity to mainland China that was a deciding factor when I joined the organisation in February 2015. The culture here is entrepreneurial, innovative and dynamic.

My advice to graduates seeking a career in finance is simply to be curious, take the initiative, be smart around how you approach your work, ensure you manage your own career (remember it is up to you after all!) and you’ll do fine. Make sure to take opportunities up as they arise and if you can, gaining experience working overseas is both invaluable and fun. Handling your work and life balance can depend on which firm you work for. Generally, it’s a challenge to manage during the first five or so years of your career, but it does get a lot easier as time goes on.

Outside of work, the most challenging thing I face is surviving from day to day with a four-year-old and two-year-old twins, all boys!