January 2020


Having an understanding of clients' motivations and perception makes a better strategic partner. Being well aware of this, Andrew Smith learnt to see the banking and financial landscape through the lens of his clients. 


What does your current role entail?

My team gets involved in a broad range of strategic initiatives across the banks' Wholesale Payments business. Typically when the business needs to develop or respond to something non-standard, my team will be called on to structure a solution and put it into action. This could include, new product development, non-standard products and processes for strategic clients and business development initiatives.


How did you end up in a career in treasury/finance?

My previous careers in the military, offshore oil and gas drilling have a surprising amount of carryover to finance. All three fields require attention to detail in a highly technical and fast-paced environment and rely on my ability to create strong and effective relationships with stakeholders. 


Why did you take this ACT qualification? What was your main objective?

Given my late-career entry into finance, I wanted a condensed and intensive program to build on the fundamentals I learnt through my MBA and CTP study. I also wanted a clearer picture of how and why our clients used our products and services. 


Which specific areas of your job role will this qualification support?

Because the course is aimed at preparing candidates for senior roles in corporate treasury, it provided me with an opportunity to see the banking and financial landscape through the lens of my firm's clients. Having an understanding of clients' motivations and perception will make me a better strategic partner.


Are there particular areas of treasury/finance that this qualification helped you understand even better?

The unit on Corporate Finance gave me a much better appreciation of the role of treasury within the wider finance team and how treasury can support the overall strategy of the firm. I had previously not had much exposure to the risk management side of treasury, so I found the sections on the technical aspects of this topic very interesting and useful.


What are the benefits of being able to study online?

The obvious answer is that it certifies your knowledge for a given topic. However, balancing the workload of the Diploma in Treasury Management alongside full-time employment and my family life (I am married and have 3 children) has required strong discipline, motivation and organisation. When I review CVs for potential candidates at my firm and see this type of qualification, I have a full appreciation of what has gone into that achievement beyond just the content of the qualification itself.


Do you hold any other professional qualifications? 

I have a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Cranfield School of Management in the UK and am a Certified Treasury Professional (CTP). The MBA gave me a broad foundation in the concepts of business and the CTP gave me an initial focus in the fundamentals of finance and treasury. The ACT Diploma in Treasury Management has really helped me glue all of my previous experience and education together and build a more complete picture of the role of treasury within an organisation.


What happens next in your career and how has this qualification helped? 

I look forward to more senior roles at JP Morgan where I can positively influence both my own line of business and the business of our clients.


How was your experience studying through ACT Learning? 

The approach to learning with ACT Learning requires a lot of self-motivation and discipline (traits in high demand in the field of treasury), but all the resources and support needed was available through the online platform.


How has your ACT membership been of benefit to you? 

In 2019 I attended both the cash management forum in London and the ACT annual conference in Manchester. Both provided a great opportunity to network with treasury practitioners from firms across many sectors, sizes, and markets and hear first-hand about their prominent areas of focus, their challenges and the trends they are seeing. All these are useful in my line of work.

The ACT Diploma of Treasury Management has really helped me glue all of my previous experience and education together and build a more complete picture of the role of treasury within an organisation.
Andrew Smith, Vice President - Strategy and Transformation, JP Morgan