Christopher P.

Senior Associate, Structured Export Finance
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Christopher P.
Politics with International Relations
United Kingdom

My employment

Senior Associate, Structured Export Finance
SMBC Group
United Kingdom
Finance and consultancy
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Senior Associate, Structured Export Finance in the United Kingdom

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

SMBC Group - Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Group is a Japanese multinational banking and financial services institution headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The group operates in retail, corporate, and investment banking services worldwide.

As of 2021, SMBC, by assets, is the 12th largest bank globally with USD 2,176.94 bn of total assets.

What do you do?

I work in Export Finance, a sub-industry within Financial Services. The Export Finance industry generated USD 384bn worth of transactions in 2022. Export Finance uses Export Credit Agency products (ECA is a government agency that issues insurance and guarantees with state backing (2022-UK ECA issued GBP 7.4 billion of guarantees)) to reduce a bank's risk weighted assets.

I work in front office of Export Finance which involves seeing transactions from origination to execution to loan maturity. Within this lifecycle, I market to SMBC's clients our financing solutions using ECA products to fulfil their financing needs, price transactions, determine their size, and create a syndicate of banks to build a facility in the USD100ms.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

I graduated in Politics with International Relations, and so the Civil Service was an obvious choice. However, I have always had an interest in Financial Services as I had tried for many unsuccessful years to get into Equity Research and Sales &Trading functions, however, without an internship it is impossible to get onto a graduate program which secures one's place within the bank as a permanent hire. What is always cited is "lack of experience", but if one is not successful in getting onto an internship program, one's chances at breaking into a front office function of the Financial Services fall dramatically. This is why the Export Finance sector is perfect, because you can join UK Export Finance (UK's ECA), without any financial experience, get insight and experience into the Export Finance sector and then look to apply to the banking side of the sector.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

Yes. I always wanted to work in Equity Research when I graduated, but as previously mentioned, I quickly realised that without the experience, I was not going to get hired.

Describe your most memorable day at work

When a deal you have been working on, gets executed and you then see it in the press.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

Received York Award, Sports Colours for Water Polo, was a radio DJ on URY, treasurer of Politics Society and Hellenic Society.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

-Figure out what sector, and then research what part of that sector you want to work in.
-Assess, do you have the skills to work there/does your degree enable you to work there. If yes, continue with the list below, if no then look at doing courses that give you those skills (they might be paid) and find employees/graduates who are in a similar position to you.
-Research the companies within the sector and look at their opportunities
-Network with people from identified company and ask all the relevant questions. Remember you want to find out what they do, build a network and hopefully get a referral application to help bump you through the process.
-Look at the employment cycles of the companies. Is it once a year, twice a year?

Next steps...

If you like the look of Christopher’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Christopher a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Christopher to be your mentor.

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