During the Barclays Day, MSc in Finance students have the unique opportunity to interact with financial specialists from one of the most prominent and successful private banks in Monaco.
In light of the long-term partnership between the International University of Monaco and Barclays Private Bank, every year the MSc in Finance students spend a special day, known as the “IUM Barclays Day”! This year it was our turn!
“The experience was interesting, stimulating and motivating” as well as “Informative, very exciting and highly professional”.
The day began with a warm welcome by Mr. Lorenzo Turco, Marketing Manager, who pointed out the important place that Monaco has at Barclays’ ‘heart’, as shown by their creative and innovative marketing campaigns all around Monaco. Following we had the pleasure to attend a presentation by Mr. Henk Potts, Barclays Global Investment Strategist, in which he shared his insights on the market turmoil of 2018 and expectations for 2019 on the global economy. He finally shared his thoughts on market risks, such as the never-ending Brexit, the ongoing trade war, but as well as on opportunities, such as India becoming one of the largest economies.
In addition, Mr. Farhad Aftabroushad, Head of Sales Management, presented us the core functions of Barclays, as well as its competitive edge in Monaco, acting as a ‘family office’ for its clients and therefore achieving great synergies between the investment bank and the private bank division. In addition, Mr. Aftabroushad presented us with one of the biggest challenges that investment banks face today, namely how to attract the next generation!
More specifically, if we take a closer look at the statistics, in 2016 ‘baby boomers’ represented about 50 percent of total assets under management, followed by the ‘great generation’ with 40 percent. That leaves generation X, Y, Z and finally the millennials with only 10 percent, presenting a great ‘puzzle’ for investment banks. There is a strong need to adapt to the rising trends of the latest generations, the greatest being ‘digitalization’. As a result, more and more financial institutions are trying to ‘digitalize’ their interaction with their clients in order to gain a competitive advantage.
Barclays has been a pioneer in digital revolution, specifically since setting up ‘Digital Eagles’ in 2013. ‘Digital Eagles’ is a national network of tech-savvy Barclays staff that have put themselves forward. They have two main tasks: to help customers that come into the branches and express an interest in its digital products, but also to go into the communities in which they operate in order to help citizens get online and help them become digitally active.
For our final guest lecture we had the pleasure and great honor to listen to one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Monaco. A visionary man full of life, talent and passion! However, what makes him unique was his ability to anticipate change, to be always a step ahead of others –in some cases even too early which proved to be ‘fatal’ for some great ideas he had. Nonetheless, he shared with us that persistence is key in professional success.
During the afternoon session, we participated at the «Investment Game», a competition that the investment team at Barclays made specifically for us. We were assigned in teams in which we were given the task to allocate assets between traditional asset classes as well as alternative investments, according to not only their risk-return profile but also to a constantly changing economic environment. We were given a short period of time in order to act quicly, but prudently. Indeed, when allocating between the various asset classes, with a goal to optimize the risk-adjusted return of our portfolio, diversification played a crucial role.
“It was a great day at Barclays! Really interesting from the beginning until the end, from the description of the bank’s core functions to the investment game, in which we could practically apply the theory provided throughout the Master’s program”
During this game, we were able to practically apply the theoretical framework that we have been building throughout our academic studies at IUM, in a very special and enjoyable way! At the same time, it made us realize how challenging the current economic environment is.
“Thank you for the wonderful experience you have provided to the entire MSc. Finance team. The investment game was challenging, yet very interesting. The chance to adjust your investments with only such brief information and in a short time frame made us think about everything we have learned and how we need to be sharp in our approach in dealing with client’s investments.”
To conclude, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the organizers of this wonderful event as well as all the employees that were so friendly and kind to us. The event was very insightful and the closing was spectacular! The Barclays day, will definitely be a day to remember!
Marianna Petroula, representing the MSc in Finance students, class of 2020.
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