How To Get Ahead In Risk Analytics

Stian Iversen our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 6/26/2019 3:36 PM
In the world of Risk Management, top talent is always in high demand. Despite this, those who specialise in area know that progression can be difficult and, according to our 2019 Salary Survey, is the slowest in the industry. So, how can you differentiate yourself from the competition, and what steps can you take to make yourself the ideal candidate for that promotion or new job you’ve been hunting? 

Whether you are looking to move somewhere new, or trying to climb the ladder in your current company, here are some ways that you can make sure you stand out. 

Stay one step ahead in tech


Traditionally, the Risk Analytics tech stack has comprised of SAS, SQL and VBA. SAS and SQL remain very much present, but we are also seeing a clear increase in the use of Open Source programming languages, such as R and Python. Unsurprisingly, a lot of Risk Modellers and Analysts are now spending their time in developing their skills in these languages. One might argue that if you know one language, there’s not too much work required to upskill in another when you take on a new role, but this isn’t necessarily true. By being proactive and evolving your skillset in your current position, your CV will have a much bigger impact when it lands on a Hiring Manager’s desk. 

Over the past few years, we’ve also seen the arrival of Machine Learning and AI in the world of Risk. Whilst many businesses are still slow to embrace these technologies, do not be surprised to see them make a big impact over the next couple of years. Risk Analytics are catching up to the rest of the industry in regards to technology, and having the knowledge and skillsets required in these areas before they take off will only enhance you profile. 

Business-driven Data 


In the world of Risk Analytics, it is easy to think that if you have the right programming and analytical skills in the right tools, you’ve all got all you need. You might be off to a really good start, but there’s more to it than that. It about having the balance. 

Yes, being data-driven and understanding complex model development is crucial to becoming a good performer in this industry but, what truly separates the good from the great, is business acumen. The ability to understand both what your analytics and models do, and how they impact the overall business is now at the top of most Hiring Manager’s lists. 

A person with good quantitative skills will always see something that can be improved, but they also need to know when to stop and be happy with the result. The key to getting this right lies in their understanding of the business and the ability to answer questions like “If I sit and work on this for 8 more hours, will the real-world difference be worth that amount of time and resource?”. By viewing things through the prism of cost vs reward, and understanding that balance, you can demonstrate that your value to a business goes beyond your analytical skills. 

React, adapt and attract


In this world there are a few things we can take for a certainty; the sky is blue, it will rain on your day off, and there will always be new regulations for financial institutions. Because of the certainty of change, a key thing employers look for in candidates is the ability to react quickly and make changes as soon as they are needed. Fast growing companies such as Klarna, tink and iZettle may seem like fairy-tale success stories, but the real edge they have is their adaptability and agile culture. Whereas some traditional corporations and banks have lengthy and complicated processes required before they adapt to new regulations, these new companies embrace their agility and get things done. 

The ability to be agile and adaptable is, therefore, something that a lot of businesses are starting to realise is key. Therefore, if you’re looking to get ahead, you should try to evolve these qualities in your working ways. If you are looking for something new, look to prove you are driven and do not fear change. If you can demonstrate that you are able to work with a business-oriented mindset and embrace change, you’ll stand out as a key player in your team. 

Specialist vs Generalist 


With the world of Risk Management offering a number of opportunities to become very specialised in very niche areas, it’s worth considering whether this approach is right for you. There are some definite pros, for example, if you are the best developer of PD models for non-retail, you will be highly sought after for roles in this area. Plus, high demand, and a shortage of skillsets means that you will be in a good position to seek a high salary and lots of benefits. However, this does mean that you are likely to only have the opportunity to work in this area for the foreseeable future and, for some, this can become repetitive and not provide enough of a challenge. Additionally, if you were ever were to apply to work in a new area because of this, you would likely find yourself overpriced and needing to take a step down in seniority. 

The alternative, therefore, is to become more of a generalist, with a broader, but less advanced skillset. Think being able to play every instrument, but only knowing one song. There are definitely some clear benefits with this approach, not least the ability to work on a diverse set of projects, gain an excellent understanding of how Risk Management affects a business on every level, and be able to slot into a number of roles easily. You will also gain a better idea of which areas of Risk that you like, and which parts you dislike. Whilst many analysts begin as generalists before looking to specialise when they get promoted, they often find that their knowledge will not be as deep as their specialist counterparts. Therefore, it is likely they will have to take a step-down or make a sideways move before they can achieve that promotion. 

There is no right or wrong when it comes to the specialist vs generalist argument. However, for those looking for faster progression early-on, a generalist approach may be better suited despite the fact that you may need to change approach before reaching the most senior levels. 

Whilst demand will always be high for the best candidates, competition for promotions and senior roles in Risk Analytics remains fierce. Therefore, by proactively thinking about the ways that you work, how effective you are, your business focus, and what your ambitions are, you should be able to get the most out of your career.  

If you’re looking to get ahead in Risk Analytics, we may have a role for you. Take a look at our latest opportunities, or get in touch to see if we can help you take that next step. 

Related blog & news

With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.

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How Will New Financial Risk Regulations Affect European Banks?

How Will New Financial Risk Regulations Affect European Banks?

The financial crisis of 2007-2008 changed banking. The world moved from taking mortgage loans in our dogs’ names to introducing strict regulations for banks prohibiting them from giving out loans to “anyone” without assessing Risk properly. In 2010 the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) introduced BASEL III, a regulatory framework that builds on BASEL I, and BASEL II. This framework changed how banks and financial institutions asses risk. It introduced an Advanced Internal Rate Based Approach (Commonly known as the AIRB approach).  Now, the committee has introduced new changes and, by 2022, all banks and institutions will have to implement the revised IRB Framework, as well as new revised regulations for the standardised approach, CVA Framework and new frameworks for Operational Risk and Market Risk. So, what does this mean for those working Risk? Change Is Coming Change is inevitable, no matter what you do. If you work in Risk Management and Compliance, change is something you can expect to happen, often. As mentioned above, by 2022 there will be lots of changes. The Basel Committee calls this initiative the “finalised reforms”, or BASEL IV which builds on the current regulatory framework BASEL III. Quickly summarised, the changes limit the reduction in capital that effect banks IRB models.  This change is predicted to impact banks in Sweden and Denmark the most, with estimations that capital ratio will fall by 2.5-3%, far higher than the 0.9% expected for the average European bank.  So what does all this mean for Swedish and Danish banks?  What’s Happening Now? One of the main things that Swedish and Danish banks need to revise for these new regulations, are their internal models. The new regulations introduced a new definition of Probability of Default, measured through a model commonly known as a PD model. Effectively this means that every bank must “re-develop” their internal PD Models in the IRB approach. Consequently, we are already seeing a clear response from the banks in their strategies moving forward. It has already become quite apparent that many banks are looking to make IRB model development their focus for 2019-2020 and 2021. This has resulted in a boom in the hiring space for developers with experience in IRB Modelling and Credit Risk Modelling in general, which in turn has led to high demand in the face of the low supply of these types of candidates. Understandably aware of this, modellers are now looking to negotiate higher salaries.  What You Can Do  For candidates that hold the right experience, there are good opportunities at hand. If so inclined, they can utilise this chance to finally see if the grass actually is greener on the other side, or not. However, there are a couple of things worth considering before making a move.   Firstly, are you actually keen on switching jobs? Your skills are probably equally in demand at your current employer and, if you are having doubts about moving from the get-go, you may well be able to negotiate a rise without pursuing a new opportunity. However, if you are serious about finding something new, this is a great time to do so. The majority of banks have found that these new regulations are creating an unsustainable workload,  and are now looking for talent externally to expand their teams. This means that the experienced modeller can pretty much have their pick of the litter.  Furthermore, if you are a junior modeller, there are now plenty of opportunities for you to enter a niche area known for being exciting and innovative. So, wherever you are in your career, these regulatory changes  are likely to have a large impact and open up new avenues for you to explore.   We all know that regulations in banking and finance are now essential, we all agree, even if they can be a little frustrating. However, what people often fail to think of are the opportunities new regulatory requirements create. In the case of BASEL IV, we’re already seeing an increase in demand for strong talent, and a demand for people who are passionate about Risk Management and model development.  For businesses, new regulations also provide the chance to not only improve their teams, but to  create new models that can be utilised to optimise and automate. A lot of financial institutions are already aware of this and are using these models to gain competitive advantage over their competitors, as well as to stay one hundred percent compliant.  If you’re looking to build out you Risk Management team or take on a new Risk opportunity for yourself, we may be able to help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

Data Storytelling Vs Data Visualisation

Data Storytelling vs Data Visualisation

The demand for “unicorn” employees is growing. Those with humanities and communications skillsets are now in demand, alongside those who specialise in Computer Science, Data Science, and anything technology-related. So, what exactly is the world looking for today? Well, with the plethora of online learning opportunities available, the ramping up of technology courses both online and offline, and a cadre of storytelling books on the shelves; answering the question can seem daunting. But there are two ways in which you tell your story. They’re not separate exactly, but they do have their own parts to play. What is Data Storytelling? In a nutshell, it’s the ability to tell a story using the Data you’ve collected and analysed. So, how does this work exactly, and why would someone use it? This way to explain what’s happening the Data to stakeholders and executives helps paint a picture of their company in a different way. And unlike traditional storytelling, this type has facts and figures to back it up. But that’s only half the story. By taking a wider view of Data storytelling, you can provide stakeholders with the big picture in a way that’s relevant and engaging. But you still need the Data to back it up. This is where Data Visualisation comes in. Think of it as the Graphic Novel of your business’s story. Content is the narrative and images are the visual behind the narrative cementing the story in your mind. What is Data Visualisation? This is how you define your story, and you can do this in a variety of ways. You can use Data Visualisation software to help guide your story and keep you on track in the details. Seeing is believing and can help persuade a call-to-action from decision makers. In a nutshell, Data Visualisation enhances storytelling using traditional techniques such as a “hook”, and embodies the basic structure of beginning, middle, and end. And while those in the marketing world know how to draw emotion and get people to act on it, Data Storytelling provides a new, useful skill for Analysts. What are the Elements of a Good Story? First, understand the story you’re telling. While visualising the results happens at the end to cement the story you’re telling, the heavy lifting is done in Data preparation. It’s not unlike baking a cake; you spend more time buying (collecting/gathering) the ingredients, mixing them, and organising (which pan, how long, and at what temperature), than you do baking the cake. The end result is the smell of something freshly baked, that looks amazing (visualisation), and tastes phenomenal – where the story and the visuals come together. Second, identify the main characters; your Data elements. You need ask yourself what is the relationship between your characters (Data elements) and was is their role in the story. This can help you bring together two disparate Datasets. Ask yourself, what tools would you need to make things work together? This is the preparation side of things. Once this is sorted, you have the elements of your story.  Keys to Good Data Storytelling Choose the right subject Source credible DataCraft an interesting, engaging, or enlightening narrativeEnsure your story provides meaning and valueEnsure you’re using credible Data to back up your story.Blend narrative and visuals which can cement the information and make your story stick.Choose relevant, useful topics for a more engaging story. You want your listeners to resonate with what they’re hearing or seeing. When people are engaged, this is where the emotion comes in. Stories come from a variety of sources, but are essentially either internal (you or your organisation) or external (trade publications or industry leaders). For content marketing, external sources offer a variety of ideas to tailor your story around. But what best will resonate with your audience is your internal story. Those tailored to pain points or interests are particularly valuable.  Remember that Data storytelling is not a story about numbers; it’s about humans and how those numbers affect them.  If you’re interested in Data Storytelling and Visualisation, we may have a role for you. Take a look at our current vacancies or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

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