The financial sector is complex, fast-moving, and the stakes are high. For anyone operating in this world, a good project manager is vital. When overseeing operations that could potentially involve billions of pounds worth of stocks and shares, business equity or other assets, a team leader has to have a clear, cool head and the necessary skills to keep things moving steadily forward on an even keel. If the unexpected happens, as it easily can, you need to be able to adapt to the new circumstances and to think on your feet. Ultimately, you have to be aware that the project is your responsibility, and to be able to not only cope with that pressure but also thrive on it, knowing that the buck stops with you.
Good management qualities
Many typical project management skills are readily transferable to the financial and investment sector. You will need to be an excellent communicator, with the ability to be clear, direct and open. You need to not only be able to communicate effectively with your team but also be able to liaise effectively with clients and your superiors. You will need to be able to negotiate and be diplomatic, and at times be strongly persuasive.
Enthusiasm is another vital factor. A can-do attitude of optimism and confidence will inspire your team to do the best they can. Being seen as trustworthy is perhaps the most important quality in the investment and finances market, and as a project manager, you should set an example to your team and project a calm, resolute image to the outside world.
A financial project manager needs to be able to take the long view while also paying attention to the smallest detail. You’ll need to be an efficient organiser, capable of analytical thinking, juggling several problems at once without getting flustered and meticulous at project management planning. Foresight when it comes to the markets and their moods is essential, but so is being able to ride out the consequences of your inevitable occasional misjudgements.
Building a portfolio
Along with his brother Taha, Najib Mikati started out in property and construction in the 1980s. Foresight saw them establish their flagship telecommunications company Investcom, and by the time they floated it on the stock exchange in 2005, it had a market capitalisation of $3.3bn, making it one of the largest companies in the Middle East. In 2007, the brothers formed M1 Group, a diversified investment holdings group comprised of eight companies covering real estate, commercial aircraft, travel, energy, fashion and consumer goods. Here is Najib Mikati interviewed when he applied his project management skills to the task of being Lebanese Prime Minister from 2011 to 2013. Correctly managing different investment portfolios was absolutely crucial to Mikati’s business success, which has made him one of the world’s richest men.
A project manager in the finance and investment sector is more than just an administrator. You need to be a visionary who can inspire others to share your vision, and you need to be able to think on several levels at once, analysing the big picture while being aware of all the small details. A financial project manager must stay on top of the game at all times.