Visiting from Australia on a gap year in 1975, it seemed as though the streets were quite literally paved with gold and by chance I ended up working as a temp for the London Stock Exchange.
In 1975, the Stock Exchange traded face to face on the dealing floor, a hugely macho and bewildering place but one where values of integrity, honesty and “Dictum Meum Pactum” (my word is my bond) were the principles to which they aspired. Not always with the same transparency that we have today.
Disciplinary action was a council member having “a word in the shell-like” of an insider trader and the government broker still wore a silk top hat.
After The Big Bang, I took two years off to study as a chartered secretary, rejoining the financial services world with Sun Alliance Life & Pensions.
As luck would have it, within a few weeks, we had a visit from Lautro (remember them?) and it gave me a fantastic opportunity to tackle the issues that we faced, as did most big providers in those early days of regulation under the FSA.
As a stroppy red-head young(ish) Aussie with a can-do attitude, the wise management gave me a free rein to do what was needed. We succeeded and I only left in 1997 after the merger with Royal Insurance – the first of many such groupings in the industry to attain critical mass and market position.
I landed the role as director of compliance at Hogg Robinson plc, unusual in those days as compliance officers were very silo-oriented – to go from stock-broking to provider to IFA was slightly unusual. But I was hungry for experience and challenges.
We sold the regulated businesses due to pension review liabilities and I decided I wanted to be in control of my own future. I set up Compliance Network, undertaking consultancy and recruitment, and then spent three years on interim assignments, including a year as group compliance officer for the Rubicon Corporation plc at the time of GI regulation and ending the period as head of corporate governance at Equity Insurance Group.
For the past two years, I have worked with a truly inspirational mentor, Joanne Smith of The Consulting Consortium. Initially as partners of the recruitment business of The Consulting Consortium, TCC Recruit, I have now moved across to the group businesses to develop business links for them.
As a former regulator, compliance consultant, expert on outsourcing and recruiter, I can offer The Consulting Consortium’s clients great depth and breadth of experience and find out how we can assist our clients in increasingly diverse ways. I am still getting to grips with our Serious games and immersive learning but I am indeed very proud and privileged to be associated with The Consulting Consortium and my colleagues who are among the industry’s finest.
I have been fortunate to have some wonderful mentors at each stage in my career. I have tried to make the most of the opportunities that present themselves, worked hard on committees and industry groups and sought the highest qualifications. And those Stock Exchange values of ethics, honesty and do-as-you-would-be-done-by are my personal code.
One must endeavour to seize the opportunity when it presents itself: leap and the net will appear.
Tracey Harvey-Bussell is business relations consultant at The Consulting Consortium