We asked some of our members to share insights into their experience, what’s driving their career and how they got to where they are now. Passion, thirst for knowledge, networking and a proactive approach to professional development can go a long way. Take a look at our programme for opportunities to invest in your career: cfauk.org/events/events-listing
“Without these basics, I don’t think I’d have progressed as quickly”
Alexandra is managing director at BlackRock, responsible for product strategy for the firm's $3tn Equity platform, having previously run the EMEA team within Global Consultant Relations. Former CEO of Stamford Associates, investment consultant to FTSE 100 wealth manager St. James’s Place and pension schemes of UK blue chip firms. Previously, she also worked as managing director, product and marketing of Russell Investments. She is currently a member of the Steering Committee for The Diversity Project and the European Executive Committee.
How has the experience of getting your CFA helped in your career?
I didn’t have a background that included maths, economics or finance coming into the investment profession – I studied International Relations at university. The CFA gave me a great grounding in a wide range of areas that have meant that I can understand the financial markets and what underpins them – simple things like asset pricing and supply and demand often drives major trends. Without these basics, I don’t think I’d have progressed as quickly.
What are the main challenges that you face in your role?
Trying to figure out how to build the equity platform of the future. What will clients need in their portfolios, and how can we build the best answers.
What have been your key successes since becoming CFA charterholder?
Becoming an MD and a member of an Executive Committee at Russell Investments was a big milestone, as was being offered the role of CEO at Stamford Associates. But my favourite job is the one I have now – managing director at BlackRock. Another key success has been the impact I’ve been able to have in Inclusion and Diversity – I’m a founding member of the Diversity Project, which is driving change in the savings and investment profession. There’s still a long way to go, but we’re starting to see visible impact.
What has surprised you most about working as a CFA?
The immediate recognition and respect that other people have for the work you put in to passing the exam.
How did you get involved with CFA UK?
I was fortunate to work at Russell Investments with John Stannard, FSIP who is a previous President of CFA Institute. He encouraged me to take the exams, and to get involved with the Institute – I reviewed CFA exam questions and helped with Standard Setting too, then he put me forward for the CFA UK Board. CFA UK has been a great organisation for me – I’ve met so many fascinating people who really care about the future of the profession.