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Expert Career advice from Four Asset Management Heads of Comms

02 Mar 2020 by Cordelia Pollock.
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We have recently published a Thought Leaders Connected article, based on interviews with four Heads of Communications and Media Relations at leading global investment management firms, focusing on what makes them tick and full of interesting insights into aspects such as the key challenges they are currently facing, what they enjoy the most about their role, and what they find particularly interesting about asset management comms at present. If you haven’t already, do have a read of this article here.

When talking to my four experts, I was also lucky enough to gain their valuable views on career progression. So, if you are wondering how best to get ahead in asset management comms - or comms in general, as the advice applies to all areas of comms – then here are some top tips for success from those in the know:

Fiona Kehily, Head of Communications EMEA, Neuberger Berman

“It’s important to continually educate yourself and network consistently – you can never know too much or too many people. Also, try to stay on the right side of people – pick your battles!!”

Constanze Ullmann, Head of Communications Europe, Legg Mason

“Be visible within the organisation; speak out, question things. But also take ownership rather than just following orders. I like working in an entrepreneurial way and coming up with new ideas, taking ownership of projects and running with them. When starting out in an in-house role, check where within the organisation the comms department sits, as this gives an indication of how important the managers see communication to the overall strategy. Being interested and open minded is key. You do need to understand the technical side and have an interest in financial products and funds, but it also helps to have a marketing/comms background.”

“Being a reliable source to journalists, so they are likely to go to you is also important. Being open and gaining an understanding of what your peers are doing and planning is always interesting at times of change in the market or with Brexit planning.”

Despina Constantinides, Head of Communications, Jupiter Asset Management

“Building relationships, both internal and external, are no longer forged over long lunches, but are still the most important thing, along with building trust and an understanding.”

“Understand what your company is all about, what they stand for and try to apply that to the way you create comms.”

“Be accountable and behave with integrity. The proliferation of sources for news online means there is a greater responsibility for information to be accurate, and for us all to help each other. Journalists rely on us to provide accurate information, so we have to be a trusted source.”

“Respect other people and their opinions. It is a very small world and you never know when you might meet someone again! Think about how you want to be seen further down the line. Don’t rush – nothing replaces having experienced something for yourself!”

Dorine Johnson, Deputy Head of Corporate Communications, Global, Franklin Templeton

“Understand who your key stakeholders are and build strong relationships. Particularly in a large firm, it is important to understand how to navigate within the firm, understand who are the people you need to work with and how to effectively collaborate and partner with them.”

“Gain a deep knowledge of the industry and the issues that asset managers, the end investor and the key stakeholders face.”

“I am bi-lingual (French and English) and in today’s interconnected world, languages are incredibly important, and help with communication and relationships, especially as you progress and expand your remit across international markets. I always look for candidates with strong language skills to join my team.”

Thank you very much Fiona, Constanze, Dorine and Despina for your time and advice.

The Works Search specialises in finding industry best talent at board and senior level in corporate communications and financial communications. As executive search consultants we enjoy nothing more than discovering hidden ‘high calibre’ gems and sharing our expert career advice.

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