00:00:03 My name is Rob Smith, I’m an Associate Director in the Central Risk Management Team for an Investment Management firm. The risks we tend to worry about are the risks that could sort of harm the business, so where we might lose money, or where perhaps our employees might, you know, have an accident and get hurt. So we obviously have Health and Safety procedures, and we obviously then try and think about those things that might go wrong in advance, and then hopefully do things that can either prevent them, or if they do happen, make sure that the impact of those things happening is lessened, and managed and controlled.
00:00:36 Did I think I was going to get into Risk Management – no, not necessarily. I guess – I don’t know whether I’m unusual or not, I didn’t necessarily have a – and perhaps still don’t – have a career plan, if you like. That in five years’ time I want to be here, here, and here. So my career, you know, has evolved.
00:00:56 School I enjoyed, and tended to get on pretty well with, you know, the teachers and the environment so, you know, I had a pretty nice time at school to be honest.
00:01:05 I was always pretty good at Science, so I thoroughly enjoyed them to be honest. You know, I had a particularly sort of good Chemistry teacher, for example, who was always blowing things up, and letting us do slightly loony experiments that you probably wouldn’t be allowed to do any more at school. Things you’re good at at school you tend to stick with so, you know, lots of science, lots of A-Levels in Science and Maths and the like, and then a Science-based degree.
00:01:29 Throughout University I was sponsored by the Ministry of Defence. Helped with some interesting research on defence against biological and chemical weapons, but then I think with that experience it actually drove me away from being a Scientist per se. For a couple of reasons. I found it quite I think , you know, doing the Science was really interesting, but there was a lot of political sort of fighting for funding and a little bit, you know, bitchy some of the Scientists perhaps about, you know, try and get one over the other.
00:01:58 I looked at other options and went into Accountancy. The reason for that really was to, you know, open doors, so it’s a broad-based financial qualification, and gives you opportunities to do a broad array of things afterwards. And it’s from there then I moved on to what was the beginnings of a sort of Risk Management type role. We were setting up the sort of processes and procedures of a European Investment Banking operation in the late 90s, and that’s where my sort of fund management and risk experience sort of started.
00:02:30 I worked for a large bank a few years ago, and – but there a sort of internal restructure of the business, and other people came in to manage stuff. And the way – the management approach of those people was very aggressive, and they pretty much walked in and tore up everything I’d done over the previous year, and it was pretty unpleasant time for a few months, and ultimately I elected to go, you know. In hindsight it can show you how – what a bad working life can have a pretty adverse affect on, you know, your health and happiness. And so I think it’s important to, you know, have that balance and make sure that actually you are, you know, pretty – you know, reasonably happy in what you do.
00:03:10 Well personally in terms of achievements, you know, I ran the New York Marathon in 2002 and that was – that was quite an achievement. I’d run a half marathon with friends, and then having finished that in the rain in Bristol, swore that I was never going to run a marathon. Six months later I was watching a friend run London, and at that point I went – Oooh, hold on, this looks quite good fun, perhaps I should do one. And immediately signed up for New York the following November. That was quite a day, that was quite an experience. And again, hugely sort of satisfying in terms of personal achievement.
00:03:39 What does my career mean to me? I guess in some respects it’s a – it’s a means to pay the mortgage. I have a family and young children and they take up an awful lot of my time, but also my career gives me the opportunity to, you know, support them and hopefully give them the best. I try and get out the office every day in time to see the kids before bedtime. I know friends of mine who are Dads now who don’t, you know, don’t see their children apart from the weekends. And you know that wouldn’t be my choice.