Research / Tokyo

“CLSA’s not like working in other places. It’s not big on meetings. There’s a morning meeting, then people go and get stuff done ...”

Hometown: Oxford, U.K.
Studied: Chinese Studies at Cambridge University, England
Languages: Japanese and Mandarin
Interests: My dog Marlon, family, cricket, ice hockey and travel

Going through university, I had not a clue about any specific career path but the people and strength of Asia helped me decide to join CLSA. I originally heard about the company through a fund manager friend. I do draw on my academic qualifications in my daily work as a lot of what happens in Japan and Korea depends on China, so my knowledge about China is absolutely crucial.

Nothing ever works out exactly as you expect on a typical working day. Something is always going on that you never expected. You have to analyse the situation and figure out what may happen next. It’s a daily occurrence.

The most rewarding part of my job and what motivates me, is helping investors make the right decisions and helping to join the dots around the region. I also enjoy having ongoing discussions with colleagues and investors. 

CLSA’s not like working in other places. It’s not big on meetings. There’s a morning meeting, then people go and get stuff done.

I’ve found that the culture of CLSA is a mixture of things. It’s about doing work that no one else will do, finding answers to questions others don’t want to face, honestly telling it like it is and teamwork. There are colleagues here with long-term experience and some who are new but striving to add their views. All of this is welcomed and combined. Integrity and being honest is absolutely essential in this job.

One of the best things about working at CLSA is being able to have freedom of thought. This isn’t something to take for granted; it really is an important requirement of the job. You really must think differently. CLSA relies on ideas, and analysts are our main ideas generators.

My proudest achievements at CLSA was seeing a number of my team mates make the transition from research assistant to becoming an analyst and beyond. My advice to graduates seeking a career in finance is that finance always has its ups and downs, but finance in Asia is still a rising star when you compare it to other geographies. One of the challenges in this region has always been regulatory shifts, but they now appear to a rising risk.

The biggest learning curve in my career was during the first 12 months when I switched from a consumer goods marketing job to take on an analyst role. It felt like I was running a marathon every day.

By definition an analyst’s work never ever finishes! This doesn’t mean you have to do it all in one day! Taking a relaxing ride on the Tokyo subway is a great way to unwind after a busy day.