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An interview with Graham Rogers

flexible working - british businesses yet to face up to the impact

Graham Rogers, Executive Director Morgan Stanley, Head of Finance Glasgow

Graham's career to date:

I have worked in financial services for 27 years across Retail, Wealth Management, and Investment Banking. I started in retail banking with TSB England & Wales before moving to Scandinavian Bank in London for a role in Portfolio Management and Settlements. In 1991, I moved to Mitsubishi Finance to run Middle Office teams supporting the Equity and Fixed Income Derivative Desks. In 1998 I joined Barclays Capital in their Equity Derivative Product Control team and in 2001 started my first spell at Morgan Stanley. Over the next 10 years, I have held a number of roles including running EMEA Convertibles and Equity Flow Product Control teams and Global Derivative & Global Security Settlements teams. 

I left Morgan Stanley for Barclays, where I ran Global Settlements supporting both Wealth Management and Investment Banking Divisions returning to Morgan Stanley in October 2013 as head of Finance in Glasgow and Co-Head of the Glasgow office.

Why did you think you would suit a career within finance? 

Finance requires a structured and organised mindset with the ability to apply detailed accounting concepts to often complex, structured products. The evolution of financial markets and financial products during the 1990s and beyond opened up new opportunities in areas such as Middle Office and Product Control that didn’t exist when I started my career. Having a background that encompasses many elements of the lifecycle of financial instruments has helped me to bring a diverse view and perspective to my current role.

What attracted you to a career in finance?

Finance is a complex and varied division that continues to play a pivotal role in supporting and controlling the business whilst also meeting the requirements and obligations set out in the ever changing regulatory landscape. As such, it is an area that can make a significant contribution to the business and it gives its staff great opportunities to stretch and challenge themselves and to build long-term career opportunities.

What do you enjoy about your current role?

It is a well-used cliché, but each and every day presents a different type of challenge partly due to the dynamic nature of the business and partly due to the ever-changing environment that the financial services sector operates within. There are a diverse range of functions that we manage within the Glasgow Finance team encompassing the more traditional Statutory Account Preparation and Financial Reporting roles, with Accounting Policy, Tax, Regulatory Reporting, General Ledger Management, and Compensation Controller roles. In addition, the team also comprises more product focused roles such as Financial and Market Risk, Product Control, Treasury Control and Liquidity Management. As you can see, the day-to-day demands vary significantly.

The size of the Finance function in Glasgow, coupled with the diverse nature of the roles means that collaboration across teams to execute on the firm’s strategy is commonplace. This brings with it additional advantages as the Glasgow Finance team has one of the highest mobility ratios (both global and intra-office) across the company.

Lastly, Morgan Stanley actively encourages staff to give back to their local communities through an annual, global volunteering month. This, alongside our many charity and social events, are very popular and well supported by the staff in Glasgow.

How do you feel your organisation’s  finance function has developed as a result of the financial crisis?

The finance function has developed significantly since 2008. With the new regulatory environment, banks have been required to hold much more capital than they did before, bringing positive stability to both the firm and the industry. In Glasgow in particular, we have seen a significant growth in areas including regulatory reporting, risk management, and liquidity and treasury control functions.

What attributes do you feel makes you successful in your current role?

During my career, I have had the opportunity to work with many people across a variety of roles helping to build significant experience of the financial services industry. In my role as Head of Finance in Glasgow, two attributes - strong stakeholder management and communication skills (both within and outside of Morgan Stanley) – have proved very helpful for me. The second aspect of my role, as co-general manager of the Glasgow office, requires a network of external contacts to ensure that the framework around which the office is set-up provides the firm with the strongest platform for sustained success as well as career opportunities for our staff.

What advice would you give someone who was considering a career in finance?

Throughout the 27 years that I have been working in the industry, I have been given many pieces of advice, but the ones that translate across all levels of an organisation would be; never stop asking questions; proactively seek feedback and use it; set out clear and measurable objectives; build and maintain networks and develop business acumen and self-awareness.

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