One Day... How Ksenia was inspired to help

I never considered working in finance because coming from a country where the finance industry and asset management are not very developed (Russia), I never had exposure to them.

It all started when I moved to Australia and I walked into a bank and saw a couple coming out of the office and they were thanking one of the branch staff for assisting them. They looked so happy. At that moment I thought to myself that the person that they thanked must have done something really lovely for them. So I asked another branch staff who that person was and they told me his job was a Financial Planner. I went home and did my research on financial planning and my biggest takeout was that so many people working in finance industry helped others to reach their financial goals and make others happy. I decided then and there that I also wanted to help people to achieve their financial goals, be that buying their first house, building wealth or comfortable retirement. It has been 5 years since I started in finance and I have never looked back. Since then I’ve had a number of roles working in retail banking, private banking, financial planning and now wealth management. In each and every one of these roles I had multiple opportunities to help other people.

A career in finance is very rewarding as it teaches you so much and provides various opportunities be it having exposure to different areas (wealth management, insurance, investment banking, etc.) as well as opportunities to work overseas. A career in finance has provided me with the opportunities to meet amazing people from all over the world and I look forward to continuing my journey in finance for years to come. 

Ksenia Zaychuk, Investment Research Analyst at Commonwealth Bank

Some exciting news - F3 is partnering with CFA Societies Australia!

There are some days we’re you just want to get really excited because of the work that you do.

Today is definitely one of those days for us in the F3 office!

After keeping it under wraps for a little bit, we’re very proud to announce that we’re partnering with CFA Societies Australia and New Zealand!

CFA Societies Australia and New Zealand will be help us in our mission to help foster the next generation of women in financial services and promote greater diversity within the industry in Australia.

How can we possibly not be excited about that!

If you’re interested in our work experience program, please make sure to see our work experience page about how you can benefit and be apart of the program here.

If you’re a corporation that would like to help tackle diversity within the workplace and help us make a real change feel free to contact here as well!

Soft skills - a hard requirement for a brighter future

Soft skills - what are they? How do I even know if I have any?

I totally understand that you’ve spent so much time at school and uni, working through all those texts books and working on your statistics and analysis skills and you think you’re on the right track to get a job when leaving uni… yes?

Well one thing that university does not teach you but life does is the all important soft skills required to work together with others. Working effectively with others is a critical skill to create high performing teams and ultimately become successful.

Some people believe that these soft skills are innate - that you’re born with them. But this is definitely not the case. Soft skills are learned, taught and finely tuned over time. You need to work on them, practice, fail and try again just like your university studies. I encourage you to spend some more time working on the soft skills required to be successful.

Here are my top soft skills required for the workplace. What are yours?

  • Effective communication– not only talking but listening and also in body language, communicating effectively is the most important soft skill required in your role. Practice, practice, practice. Ask questions to get the bottom of things - said and unsaid, allow others to get their point across without interrupting, listen actively,

  • Taking on-board constructive criticism – willingly take feedback from others, good bad or otherwise, and also practice providing feedback to others. Both are as difficult as each other. Your pride gets in the way. Think about how you’d like to be given feedback - delicately and focusing on the action rather than the person is very important.

  • Working as a team. As they say “there is no I in team but there is an M and an E.” Make sure the M&E (i.e. you) is good to work with. Cooperation, a can do attitude and offer great leadership skills.

  • Flexibility. This soft skill is a must. Adaptable, agile and compromising – it’s important.

  • Creativity and resourcefulness. I personally love working with those who constantly throw out new ideas, test and learn new things, fail positively, think a bit left field and are great problem solvers. Whilst not everything sticks, it’s the open-minded attitude that counts. It’s gold!

Being book smart is one thing, but it does not necessarily mean you are a great employee. 

Practice and receive feedback from others on my top 5 soft skills and you’ll make a better, more well-rounded person and more effective to work with.

Good Luck!


Roles in risk brings rewards

I fell into the finance industry completely by accident. I studied law because I wanted to change the world, one injustice at a time. Quite early into the degree I had decided that a traditional career as a solicitor or a barrister wasn’t for me, but I could see the benefits in the broader skills that I was learning, so I kept persevering, and now I use these skills daily. 

Providing governance, compliance and risk management advice and services to trustees of, and service providers to, super funds is a really rewarding job. The majority of the people working within the super industry are genuinely working hard every day to protect the retirement incomes of ordinary Australians. I’ve seen first-hand how tirelessly people work to ensure that a super fund is operating effectively, and how personally they are affected by some of the issues that they have to confront as part of a day’s work, particularly in relation to insurance claims and applications for early access to super. 

Working in compliance within the superannuation sector is my way of, if not changing the world, working for the benefit of others. Ensuring that super funds are working within the legislative framework means that these funds are able to dedicate their time and resources to working on new ways to protect retirement incomes and engage members.

Simone Thompson, Managing Director, ST Consult Pty Ltd 

What is Financial Services?

I know what you are asking yourself...How do I even know if I want a career in financial services if I don’t know what it is? Well, this post is for you!

Financial services, in short, are professional services involving the investment, lending and management of money and assets.

In Australia, Financial Services is a very important component of the economy. In fact, the financial services sector in Australia is the largest contributor to the national economy, accounting for around $140 billion to GDP over the last year. Over 450,000 Australian’s are employed in the sector and it will continue to be an important contributor to the strength of the Australia’s economy into the future.

At the heart of the financial services sector are Australia’s four major banks. These banks are some of the safest and most profitable banks in the world.

Given our superannuation, or retirement savings, sector, we also have one of the worlds largest pool of investment fund assets.

Together our banking and superannuation sectors help to make Australia a powerhouse in the global financial services industry.

The sector is also ripe for the picking when it comes to new technology and the burgeoning Fintech industry in Australia is often acknowledged as offering some innovative new ideas that could be applied globally.

It’s a great industry to be involved with and can provide some fabulous global opportunities.

I look forward to welcoming you into a wonderful industry that is making a meaningful impact to the Australian economy.

Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: A Book Review

Book Review: Talking to My Daughter about the Economy: A Brief History of Capitalism by Yanis Varoufakis

I picked up this book because, whilst I don’t have a daughter, I am a daughter myself. Knowing my journey with economics and ultimately majoring in it at university, I’m keen to ensure more girls understand in plain language the workings of the economy.

Yanis Varoufakis is most well known as the Greek Financial Minister at the most critical point of the modern Greek economy, aiming to bring Greece out of the government debt crisis. However, I most remember him as my Economics lecturer whilst I was at Sydney University in the late 90s. Always passionate and straight forward, Varoufakis shows clarity and strength throughout this book.

The book is written to Varoufakis’ daughter, who was 14 years old at the time it was published. It is a wonderful mix of classic economics, personal, historic and modern examples, mythology and even TV and movie references. His passion for his home nation of Greece, as well as his one-time adopted nation of Australia is clear throughout.

I particularly enjoyed his tale of inflation and deflation in POW camps during WW2 using tea, coffee and cigarettes as the simple worked examples.

He also touches on some great modern examples of where economics places greater importance on exchange value rather than on today’s important resources such as the environment. By using an example of forest fires, Varoufakis shows how these fires increase the economic value of a nation (by fighting the fire), rather than decreasing it by the value of the loss of flora and fauna -an obvious gap in economic theory.

Whilst a little left leaning at times, it is a book providing simple and clear examples of the history of capitalist society that many daughters (and others) can read and understand.

Enjoy the read!