Caroline Connell, Director of Investment Management from Tilney’s London office, has won the Woman of the Year - Investment award at the inaugural Women in Financial Advice Awards.
These prestigious awards aim to recognise the talents and achievements of some of the top-performing females in the financial services industry. Succeeding in an industry that is traditionally seen as male-dominated is no mean feat, so we are delighted that this year a number of the women within our wider Tilney Group have won and were shortlisted. Find out more about Caroline’s career and achievements, along with why she is a deserving winner of this award.
Tell us more about how you started your investment management career
I entered the industry straight from university. I started as an actuarial intern with an insurance company, but soon realised I was looking for a role with more of a direct impact. I wanted to focus on building relationships with people and helping them manage their investments.
I joined Bestinvest as a graduate trainee in the Advisory team in 2005. In 2006, I was chosen to help my manager create a new department that managed small, bespoke platform portfolios.
Today, I’m an Investment Director, leading one of the Investment Management teams along with being the regional head of Tilney’s charity team in London.
What does your role as an Investment Director involve?
I head up a team who manages £1.1 billion of client money. I manage investment portfolios for private individuals, charities and pension schemes. I enjoy this, but what motivates me is making a difference for my clients.
This attitude has inspired other people within our company and they often come to me for advice. To me, providing this support is just as important as managing money. From personal experience, I know that if you take a step back to assist and inspire others, then there is a brighter future ahead for the whole financial industry.
‘What motivates me is making a difference for my clients.’
You’ve achieved a lot in your career in the investment industry, but which achievement are you proudest of?
That’s a tough one! But if I had to pick one, I would probably say my involvement in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute’s brand awareness campaign. I appeared in one of their videos and an advert for their website which was used globally. The campaign poster featured in the press, billboards and even on London underground barriers.
Being a part of this campaign allowed me to talk about being a woman in the industry which sparked some really interesting conversations with my peers. I hoped that whether you were already in the industry, thinking of moving or looking to start in it, seeing a picture of a woman who has achieved their desired career was inspiring.
What challenges have you faced along the way?
My greatest challenge to date came about when my manager resigned in 2007 and I was left to manage £100 million of client money. It was incredibly daunting, but I stepped up to the challenge and thrived on the responsibility. As the assets under management continued to grow under my leadership, I realised that believing in yourself and hard work can get you a long way. ‘Learn to set out your priorities and do not be afraid of a challenge’ – this continues to be my philosophy.
‘Learn to set out your priorities and do not be afraid of a challenge’
What advice would you give to women looking to start a career in the financial services industry?
We all like to be around people with a ‘can-do’ attitude – someone you can ask to do something and they go away and do it, not someone who says ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘it’s too difficult’. I believe in being assertive and asking for help when required, but I think part of the success in my own career has resulted from being positive. It’s about making the working environment easier around you, so this may mean thinking outside the box and using your initiative to help your colleagues out if you can.
No one ever stops learning, so use your energy and positivity to learn more. Try not to constrain yourself and don’t assume you know everything. Put your hand up for new challenges, because you will learn from these new experiences and it will help you progress in your career.
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This article was previously published on Tilney prior to the launch of Evelyn Partners.