Career Story: Corporate Actions Analyst At A Custodial Bank

Corporate Actions Analyst At A Custodial Bank

Job Title: Officer - Corporate Actions Research

Type of Company: My company provides financial services to institutional investors and trust advisors.

Education: BS, Economics, Villanova University

Previous Experience: I work at a custodial bank where I have worked since leaving college. My first job was in Custody/Fund Accounting, but since then I've worked in a group that is an intermediary between Fund Accounting and Corporate Actions and briefly in the Reporting and Compliance. I moved to the Corporate Actions Department in January of 2005.

Job Tasks: I work in the Corporate Actions Department of a custodial bank (which, unlike a retail bank, does not offer checking or savings accounts). A merger is one example of a corporate action. If Coke were to buy Pepsi, for example, those who owned Pepsi shares would be paid compensation in the form of cash, shares of Coke, or a combination of the two. The part of the Corporate Actions Department that I am in researches such events and provides event information to our clients: rates, critical dates (in the example I just cited, when the merger is slated to happen), options (what kinds of compensation are going to be available to Pepsi shareholders), restrictions, and entitlement information.

But there are many types of corporate actions, and a merger is one of the most complicated. Some are simple, like a company changing its name. Others are convoluted. GM's declaration of bankruptcy and its ensuing restructuring is an example of a recent corporate action that most people are familiar with.

Essentially, our job is to provide accurate and timely corporate action information to clients so that they can make the best decisions with respect to that information for the mutual funds or accounts they manage.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is far and away the people I work with. They are genuinely good people and many are my closest friends. The second best thing about my job is that I am a manager and am in a position to teach people and help many entry level workers develop through the early stages of their career. The third best part of my job is that there is that there's scarcely any busy work (i.e. mindlessly throwing numbers into a spreadsheet). We are required to be analytical, pragmatic, and to think on our toes.

The worst part of the job is that this is an industry with a poor work/life balance. There is high turnover due to the work stresses. We are required to complete core responsibilities while at the same time making sure hundreds of e-mails a day are adhered to and organizational goals are progressing as planned, and we are too involved in the day-to-day work of other departments within the organization that utilize the information we send out. The typical day is 10 to 12 hours long with little to no break time.

Job Tips: Working in a custodial bank can be a great experience for someone just out of college who is beginning his first entry level job. My advice would be to stick with it for two to three years and work hard. You will learn a great deal very quickly from both an industry point of view and business skills perspective. Don't make a career out of it, though, as there are better opportunities and a better work-life balance in other jobs in the financial services sector.

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