Forces Employment Charity celebrates successful Pathways into Financial Services event (PIFS24) – here’s what you missed!

If a career in finance interests you, read on to find out the key insights and takeaways from this year’s Pathways into Financial Services 2024 (PIFS24)! Held on Tuesday 4 June, the Forces Employment Charity, provided an event of inspirational speakers, panellist discussions followed by a ‘military friendly’ marketplace of 16 employers; all of whom were on hand to discuss their job opportunities and military network experiences to over 100 delegates.

The full day, hosted by BNY at their Blackfriars offices in London, brought some incredible speakers to the stage, sharing their own experiences and inspiration to help the delegates explore their next career steps.

Hopeful, curious, optimistic…

These were the three top words that came from the audience of over 100 delegates when asked, using a poll as to how they felt at the start of PIFS24.

The audience was made up of those leaving Service in the next 12-24 months, reservists, veterans, and military families, including young people. Many more also joined us virtually through a new livestream facility — an area the organisation is looking to grow so that more people can have access to these events from further afield, both across the UK and overseas.

PIFS24 the insights!

With five panel discussions and four key speakers, the day’s event started with BNY’s Regional Executive, Adriana Pierelli delivering the host’s official welcome including a key message that you do not necessarily need a background in finance to work within this sector. The required knowledge can be learned faster than the soft skills veterans have acquired in the Armed Forces. There are so many different roles available and hiring veterans and those from the wider military community makes good business sense.

Head of EMEA Securities Finance Relationship Management and Global Business Development Teams at BNY, Stephen Kiely – and a British Army veteran – followed by demystifying the sector. Key points for the audience from Stephen:

  • Validate if finance is (or is not) for you
  • Take a long look and ask as many employers and veterans on all aspects of the business – do your homework
  • Find out what you are good at, including your own personality and skillset
  • Transferrable skills are of huge value from the Armed Forces community – and know that
  • Military families – you know how to deal with lack of control, uncertainty and change – use this to your advantage
  • There are many different types of roles within financial services suited to service leavers, not just core finance roles. These include (but are not limited to) Operations, product development, risk & compliance, technology, business development and HR
  • Degree? Not all roles within the sector require one – just make sure you use your own evidence of experience to match the job role specification

PIFS24 panellist discussion themes

Panel discussions were animated and thorough, giving great insights and discussion points to explore different areas of the finance sector:

  • Pathways and transferrable skills
  • Financial crime and risk management
  • FinTech and digital assets
  • Sales, trading and investment banking
  • Tech and AI

Navigating your military pathway

Ian Rand, CEO of Monument, also a trustee of the Forces Employment Charity, spoke with 20 years of experience working in financial services, mentoring and recruiting ex-military personnel. He shared his tips on what to do… as well as what not to do! Here are just a few:

What works

  • Emphasise your strengths: You will probably have changed jobs every 6-24 months whilst in service. Use that story and show how you have the willingness and ability to learn
  • Make sure you meet and like the people you’d be working with
  • Think about all features of your career ladder. Height is not the most important feature!
  • Mentoring: look for someone two years in front of you (max of three)
  • Find a sponsor: someone who can tell other people how good you are

What doesn’t work

  • Make sure pay and rations work – don’t take ‘any’ job to get into a company
  • Show you can change but not too much! Your authenticity needs to stay with you

Above all – make yourself useful

Run to the fires — Your role is as big as you make it — Create your own opportunities!

PIFS24 Feedback 

“This was an excellent event and the best that I have been to as a veteran, having left the military seven years ago.”  Jeff Bevan, Royal Navy, Lt Cdr

“This event provided a great insight into financial services, the different sectors and pathways to enter the industry. It was really great to hear from industry leaders, recruiters and people who were in our position a year ago. I would highly recommend attending to learn more about financial services and make real connections!”   Anonymous                                                         

“Not long ago, I would’ve been the person sat in this audience, and this is what makes the veteran network so unique. We hold the door for the next and continue to support those who follow after us.”  Panellist member

“Events like this are the perfect way to understand and learn what is out there because the world is huge and the jobs that exist are varied and extremely different to what they may offer. To fully understand that I think it is useful to come to these events, meet people, hear the speakers talk in all their different sectors and understand what is out there and what I want to do that is available for me.”   Anonymous delegate

Forces Employment Charity CEO, Alistair Halliday added:

“It was an utter joy to be at PIFS24 and experience such positivity, great questions and talented panellists sharing their own journeys, experiences and learning points. Having so many military-friendly employers attend our marketplace event sealed the day’s events with routes forward and tips for delegates to translate their skills into clear routes for new career paths.

“Thank you BNY and Ed Murphy for hosting us and also to our other sponsors. To all the brilliant speakers, especially Ian Rand and Michael Cole-Fontayn and all the informative panel sessions. Great to see so many Service leavers, veterans and family members getting such valuable insights into this great sector!

Thank you to our sponsors

The Forces Employment Charity

To conclude, the Forces Employment Charity provides life-long, life-changing support, jobs and training opportunities to Service leavers, veterans, reservists and their spouses, partners and children. This is regardless of circumstances, rank, length of service, or reason for leaving.

Our employment pathway events are part of Op PROSPER funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust and designed to support the military community at all levels across the four nations. UK companies, dedicated to helping veterans overcome the challenges of transitioning to civilian life, make these initiatives possible.

If your company is interested in exploring ways of partnering with us, our Business Development Team would be happy to have an informal chat.

Want to hear about our programmes, partnerships, events and ways that we could support you?