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INN conversation with Vicki Paine

In the latest in our INN Conversation series, we spoke to Vicki Paine, Associate Director in our investment companies team, about her career journey from auditing to investment banking, the twist of fate that brought her to Numis, and how she’s preparing for her upcoming maternity leave.

Vicki Paine
Can you tell us about your role?
I’m an Associate Director within our investment companies team, which acts as corporate broker to over 40 different listed investment trusts. We provide a really varied service to our clients that adapts to their needs, and could be working on anything from interim or annual reporting to primary and secondary fundraises, M&A or tender offers. Within the team, I personally specialise in real estate and infrastructure and look after around 10 clients in the sector. 

What brought you to Numis?
I joined the Grant Thornton graduate training scheme after university, qualifying as a chartered accountant after three years and specialising in financial services auditing. I spent a further two years there after qualification, focusing on the investment trust sector. During that time, I had the opportunity to spend a year in the Melbourne office and also did a secondment with BTG Pactual, a Brazilian bank, which were great experiences.
I enjoyed the work but after five years in auditing , I was beginning to feel as though the culture was no longer the right fit for me. At the time, I was the Audit Manager for a company called Fostrow Capital and I got along really well with the Managing Partner, whose office I was in at the very moment he got a message from David Benda (Head of Investment Companies at Numis) asking if he knew of any qualified accountants who might be looking to move into investment banking. The client passed on my details to David, we connected and, within a month, I’d handed in my notice to move to Numis. I hadn’t been specifically looking for a new role but it seemed like fate! That was six years ago and I’ve been at Numis ever since.
How have you found the Numis culture?
One of the things I love about Numis is the dynamic culture – there’s huge potential for growth here and for making a difference, no matter what your role is. There’s also a lot of collaboration with colleagues across the business. It’s a real contrast to my previous experience, where it was difficult to come up with an idea and make it my own and, being in audit, I also didn’t get much of a chance to work with people in other teams.
In the six years that I’ve been with Numis, the company has changed massively. I joined not long after Alex and Ross became Co-CEOs, and it’s been great to see the business become much more diverse and inclusive over that time. 

You’re currently expecting your first child – congratulations! How are you feeling about the journey ahead? 
I’m very excited, but it’s also quite overwhelming! I did have some initial worries around the impact becoming a mum would have on my career, whether taking a year out would delay my progression, how the team would react and whether I’d feel almost left out when I returned. It’s also quite daunting given the timing around the offer from Deutsche Bank, as I won’t be here for the expected transition period. 
But there have been a few things that have helped change that mindset for me, so I’m in a much more positive space now: 
  • Speaking to two senior colleagues about their experience of maternity leave, with both of them encouraging me to make sure I let it be known what I want and what I’m expecting. I’ve started with thinking about writing down my goals for when I return, even though it’s 12 months away, so I know what I’m striving for longer-term. 
  • A bit of a personal reflection also led me to realise that this is my own journey – there’s no point in comparing my experience to anyone else’s or benchmarking myself against others. Everyone will have a different career path and, actually, having a little pause could even lead me to become better at my job, as already my confidence has increased since being pregnant and being amazed at how I’m growing a tiny human! It puts things into perspective and I would hope that when I do become a mum my confidence will continue to increase, which is something I’ve sometimes struggled with. 
  • The keep-in-touch days are going to be super important to me and I am planning to use them all, just to make sure that I still feel part of the team and can keep up-to-date with what’s going on, whether that’s in the market or with the Deutsche Bank offer. 
How have your team and clients responded?
I have felt super supported by my team and I know that they will keep me updated as much or as little as I want while I’m on maternity leave. I’ve also discussed with them the possibility of returning to work gradually over the course of a few months, so it’s a bit of a softer entrance back into the working world! 
I think the biggest thing I learnt about working through my pregnancy is that actually people aren’t mind readers and it’s key to communicate as soon as you feel as though something is too much. I didn’t do this enough in the first few months of pregnancy and it caused my stress levels and anxiety to go through the roof, at a time when actually sometimes I needed to just listen to my body and rest. This is by no means because my team were not supportive, but more because I didn’t let them know when things were too much for me -I kept saying I was fine all the time. 
My clients have also been really supportive and I’ve actually been really touched by how kind some of them have been on a personal level. The team are in place for everything they need while I’m on leave and I’m looking forward to seeing how they progress over the next few months.