Pathways into Financial Services: meet Alex Burns

One of the benefits of joining our next event, Pathways into Financial Services on 4 June in London is that you’ll be able to meet those who have served and hear about their own experiences in sourcing civilian employment. The Forces Employment Charity (FEC) met former British Army Officer, Alex Burns who is now a Vice President at BNY Mellon in its Digital Assets Business where his primary focus is on risk and controls.

Prior to joining BNY Mellon in September 2023, Alex was commissioned into the Rifles and spent seven years employed as an infantry officer within the British Army. Upon leaving the Army he secured a six-month contract in a Programme and Project Management role, before later joining the Digital Assets Business.

What made you consider a career in this sector?

During my year-long resettlement period, I was first introduced to financial services whilst attending the Advanced Management Achievement Course (AMAC) at Alliance Manchester Business School. It was here that I learnt more about the sector through academic modules and had the opportunity to spend a day in BNY Mellon’s Manchester office. Speaking to people who had recently made the transition from the military into financial services, reassured me that it was a viable career path and one that contained huge variety and opportunity.

Why choose BNY Mellon?

When narrowing down the vast number of potential employers during resettlement, I would assess first and foremost an organisation’s people and their culture. BNY Mellon has a fantastic culture, where people are happy to give up their time, for a quick coffee, and help educate and support others in their daily roles and career development.

How do you feel your skills from the Armed Forces community converted across to your role?

I hope that the diverse and commercially relevant skills that Service leavers bring to an organisation are becoming increasingly recognised. However, I think it was my personal resilience and experience of frequently changing roles every 6-12 months in the Army that helped me transition smoothly into my first civilian role in the bank.

What are your personal positives to your role?

Working in Digital Assets is incredibly exciting because we are only just beginning to understand the potential cryptocurrencies, digital cash, and tokenisation has to change the future of financial services. The rapidly changing landscape, the ability to meet clients’ needs with cutting-edge technology, and the opportunity to work with amazing people make it an ideal place for me.

Any challenges – and how did you overcome them? (If any)

Transitioning from the Armed Forces is not an easy task, and it can feel like you’re on a roller coaster. However, there is a wealth of support available to help overcome the challenges, including FEC career consultations, veteran advocacy groups, and networking events. I believe that many people can relate to this experience, and there are more than enough people willing to have a chat.

What tips would you share with anyone considering a role in financial services?

Embrace a growth mindset and be curious. At first, the amount of information to learn can seem daunting, but by networking and continuously learning, financial services becomes an increasingly fascinating sector to be a part of.

Sign up to Pathways into Financial Services, and other events!

Register for Pathways into Financial Services today! If you live in Scotland, we are also running a regional evening event in Glasgow at Barclays on Tuesday 18 June.

Consider also our fully funded LinkedIn Essentials course on Wednesday 5 June by Lincoln Coutts. Afterwards, you’ll be all set to build/refresh your own LinkedIn account!


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