How to get into Financial Services

londonHow to get into Banking, Asset Management, Hedge Funds or any Financial Institutions. The first step.



Afternoon all,


The question that I hear the most from people every day is “How do I get into Finance?”. Pre 2008 pretty much anyone could get into financial services if they wanted to, be it an operations role at a custody house or in an investment bank, or even at a hedge fund. There were hundreds of recruiters making thousands of pounds filling these roles. If you had OK GCSE’s or the odd A level here and there you were fine. If you wanted to transfer from a different career to FS, as long as you had good transferable skills it was fine.


Now, even for an operations role at entry level, in order to go through an agency you need to have a 2:1 or a 1st class degree in a finance, economics of a maths based subject and at least one internship at a financial institution. You could always get a job at a dodgy land-broker phone selling to people during Eastenders but that isn’t really going to help you out long term. There is a reason why people who work in those places for longer than 3 weeks look hours from death.

But, it is not 2008 anymore (thank goodness) and the times are beginning to change again. My advice to anyone looking for a career in FS after leaving school or university is to work exceptionally hard, get A’s in everything, get firsts in all of your assignments and apply for internships everywhere you can during the holidays.

The other option is to move to Scotland or Manchester where some of the larger firms have moved their call centres and operations divisions. We do the best we can to help everyone out, but to get into Financial Services nowadays you need to have really worked hard at school and university to get a look in. Apply direct to everywhere you can and follow every application up with a phone call. Through friends and personal networks is a good way too!

People will very rarely come to a recruiter to fill a junior job nowadays. Do your research, be realistic and be as flexible as possible.

Below is a breakdown of some of the financial jobs available, it is a massive field, and these are just some examples, but it should give you feel for what is out there.


Financial career areas:

Distribution / Marketing

Some job types:

  • Client Services,
  • Presentations,
  • RFP writing,
  • General Marketing
  • Sales Support. 

Example role:

RFP writers

RFP writers create the proposals and concept papers in response to client requests for proposals (RFPs) and requests for information (RFIs). RFPs and RFIs are issued by either businesses or government agencies to get information and request bids about products or services that could solve a business need. RFP writers will work with proposal coordinators and other managers to prepare content that describes their employer's value proposition, market positioning and competitive edge.


Some job types:

  • Settlements,
  • Fund Administration,
  • Performance Analytics,
  • Client Reporting,
  • Operations Management,
  • Operations Analysts
  • Data Analytics

Example role:

Financial operations manager

A finance professional who looks after the conduct of financial activities at a company or financial institution. A varying and wide ranging position, financial operations managers will deal with tasks, such as financial reports, investment strategies, overseeing financial transactions, and dealing with public interaction with the company's finance department. 


Some job types:

  • Head of Compliance
  • Compliance Monitoring
  • Compliance Officer
  • Compliance Advisory
  • Anti Money Laundering

Example role:

Compliance officers

Compliance Officers work with high level management to make sure their firm is meeting the principles and rules set by regulators. They can work for financial services organisations and other companies that are subject to external regulation. Compliance Officers review business processes of a company to make sure they are legal and legitimate.


Some job types:

  • Quantitative Risk
  • Market Risk
  • Credit Risk
  • Operational Risk
  • Enterprise Risk
  • Chief Risk Officer
  • Risk Analyst
  • Risk Methodology
  • Risk Analytics

Example role:

Risk manager

A Risk Managers main role is to advise organisations on potential risks to profitability, identify and assess threats, create plans and procedures in case things go wrong and work out how to transfer, reduce or avoid risk altogether. Tasked with managing risk to all areas of a company from assets, to the organisation itself, to shareholders interests and the company’s reputation. Risk management encompasses a wide range of business areas, and there are many specialisms within the role itself.


Some job types:

  • Front Office Analytics
  • Quantitative Development
  • Model Validation
  • Quantitative Modelling
  • Derivative Price Testing
  • Quantitative Research
  • Quantitative Portfolio Management
  • Quantitative Risk Management
  • Quantitative Trading. 

According to Education Portal, a quant is a "financial engineer" A quant designs and implements mathematical models. This could be implementing pricing models used by traders, validating models, inventing new pricing models, coding scripts, finding statistical arbitrage opportunities, modelling credit exposures and capital requirements, and general risk such as correlation exposures. Usually requiring a high level mathematical excellence.