Funds Industry Profile 7: Dara Flynn, NAV Supervisor at SMT Fund Services (Ireland)17 December 2018
This is the seventh profile in a series of 12 profiles we are publishing to highlight professionals, their career paths and their experiences working in the funds industry. We interviewed professionals in a variety of firms, areas and roles in order to give a broad view of their experiences and the opportunities in the industry.
Dara Flynn, NAV Supervisor at SMT Fund Services (Ireland), talks about her current role, how she got into the industry, working her way up and what she enjoys most about her job. She also shares the lessons she's learned and gives some advice for those looking to get into the industry.
Tell us about your background and role at SMT Fund Services / within Funds?
SMT Fund Services have provided me with opportunities I never dreamed possible when I started out in the funds industry. I have been incredibly lucky. I have been with the company for over 10 years and in that time I have worked in a number of different departments which I have really enjoyed. I started out as a junior in the pricing/trades department, worked my way up over the years and eventually became a supervisor in Net asset value (NAV) with an extraordinary opportunity to move to Japan to open a finance department in our Tokyo Head Office.
Due to the experience I gained both from my time in Japan and working in different departments through the years, once back from Tokyo I was offered a Business Analyst position to help develop our operations systems which is an area I had never considered working in. I found myself working very closely with operations managers from all levels and IT developers on coding trying to streamline the new systems and I even surprised myself with how much I enjoyed seeing the industry from a technical side. Before that my IT problem solving skills amounted to switch the computer off and on again.
Describe your current role in a nutshell.
Supervising day-to-day operations in order to produce NAVs for our clients in a timely manner.
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
Working with my amazing team, it’s the number one reason I look forward to work most days. I enjoy the challenges that the industry throws up too - the funds industry is always changing and strategies that were once popular become obsolete and new financial products pop up all the time so you have to keep up. It can be very interesting.
Which achievement / project are you the most proud of?
Being chosen to open the office in Japan will always be the highlight of my career. When I left college I wasn't sure if funds was the right place for me, but one day as I made my daily commute through Tokyo on the way to work I remember thinking, ‘you made the right choice’.
What are you looking forward to next year?
Not knowing what's next or where your path will take you. This industry is international, and finance is the same no matter where you go. Who knows where it will take me next.
What's the next goal?
To keep developing my career as much as possible. I'm always open to new opportunities and this industry has tons of it.
Can we talk about the way your career has developed and the various roles that you have held along the way?
I originally wanted to be a history teacher but this career kind of found me instead. I started out thinking I'll just see how it goes for a while and then 10 years later I feel I'm still going strong. From day one I could tell that this was the path that would help me progress the best. I still love history but I've never doubted that I made the right choice.
What is the best lesson you have learned during your career in Funds?
To be open-minded, flexible, willing to learn and I believe most importantly to be a team player. If you have those qualities there is very little you can’t achieve in this industry.
What would you say to someone who is considering a career in financial services?
This won't resonate with everyone but I know from experience that some people can be intimidated by a career in finance and I would like to tell those people that they shouldn't be. There are some that believe you need to be a shark or a maths wizard to excel and that is not the case at all. If you have good communication skills, if you can work well in a team, if you like a challenge then I promise you can do really well in this industry.
Describe your role or career in 3 words…
Fun, exciting, challenging.
If I wasn't working in SMT Fund Services / within Funds, I would be...
A travel writer.