AN ASSOCIATE MEMBER'S TAKE ON THE AMCT
Chase French achieved AMCT status in 2016 and discusses the benefits of taking on the ACT's newly named Diploma in Treasury Management (DipTM) qualification.
Why did you study for AMCT?
I decided to take the AMCT in general because I wanted to change my career path slightly. I worked for many years on a trading floor in Hong Kong structuring "Smart Beta" Investments and Exotic Derivatives. I specialised in their computational finance element, utilising everything from advanced Excel, Visual Basic to Python and SQL.
Upon returning to London, I used my AMCT to prove to potential employers that I was capable and well qualified in finance more relatable to a business. FX, Interest and Liquidity risk are complicated areas and well suited to the computational finance skill-set I have been trying to develop.
Having already completed a MSc in Economics, Finance and Management I felt competing qualifications such as a CFA would repeat too many concepts I had already been taught. Furthermore, I believe that Treasury is only going to become more in demand, more technical/ technological in nature but still requiring the soft skills to interact with the market which is a balance I am looking for in my career.
What impact do you feel the course might have on your future career pathway?
The course had an immediate impact on my future career pathway. Undertaking such a course can be quite challenging but more importantly it requires dedication and discipline which employers appreciate. You have to balance your work, social and personal life while still getting up at 6am to learn the notes.
The qualification helped me land a senior analyst role in GVA's real estate finance team. It is not quite Treasury however I am responsible for any financial modelling and technical analysis and increasingly raising funds for real estate projects. This was something the AMCT certainly helped with. With little past experience, I have been able to speak the language of senior, mezz and equity tranches and understanding the difference between an RCF or Term Loan. These were not things I really learnt while discussing investment metrics.
Furthermore, I have been able to advise on the FX hedging for international transactions or fixing interest margins using swaps, especially given the current low rate environment.
What were the strengths of the course?
For me, I thought the materials were very good. I never needed any external help, I just read the notes diligently. They balanced technical descriptions with real life examples. This was true throughout all four of the modules. Speaking about Cert Fin specifically, I thought it offered a very broad overview of the entire spectrum of finance. It allowed people without experience to figure out what interests them and reminded me, things I had forgotten. Also, while I would not wish for 100 hours of Business Law and Corporate Taxation learning on anyone, I am very glad I persevered. The knowledge is very applicable.
What did you most enjoy about the course?
I felt I was learning something I would actually use. The problem with a lot of academic finance is that much of it has no use in the real world. For instance, no-one is really going to complete a stock valuation using the Gordon-Growth model, however VAR analysis is commonly used and understanding that VAR can use normal or leptokurtic distributions are also real world considerations. Finally, I also liked that I was able to tailor the AMCT towards my particular interests. Even though I completed Cert Fin last, it would have provided me the experience between Financial Mathematics and Modelling or the legal and practical issues of Corporate Finance.