We asked graduate Daniel Díaz to share his experience in one of the top insurance providers in Europe and tell us how EADA helped him get there. Daniel holds a bachelor’s in Economy and Public Policies & Criminology and he spent a term abroad at SKEMA Business School in France through EADA’s exchange programme. He currently work as Investment Front Office Specialist at Zurich Insurance Company Ltd.
Tell us a bit about your current position at Investment Front Office Specialist at Zurich. What are your main responsibilities?
As Front Office Specialist at Zurich, I am one of the three Global System Administrators of Zurich’s Asset & Investment Management engine (Bloomberg AIM).
One of the main responsibilities in this role is to make sure that Zurich’s investment workflow works properly. We do this by checking and guaranteeing that the compliance module captures all trades and that all trading orders are sent to our counterparts without fail. In order to ensure this happens, we also create and update all of the market data used by our engine including brokers, settlement instructions, benchmarks, models, trading and compliance rules.
Another of our main tasks is to enhance and develop, along with Bloomberg, existing and new tools required by Zurich in order to optimise investments and be able to integrate new and more complex assets into our portfolio. We achieve this with regular meetings with different teams inside the investment management division ensuring collaboration, knowledge sharing and problem solving.
What is the most challenging part of your current position? And the most rewarding?
Given the heterogeneity and complexity of regional laws, traded assets and investment approaches, the most challenging part of the job is to capture the needs of different regional Front and Middle Office teams and implement them into our investment engine, Bloomberg AIM.
At the same time, this is what makes it so rewarding, since we are exposed to a wide variety of investment styles, asset types, and compliance requirements. This complexity gives me the opportunity to learn something new every day and motivates me to keep up-to-date and closely follow the financial system evolution.
What attracted you to a large, multinational company like Zurich?
Zurich has always been a key player in the insurance sector and, especially in recent years, it has been rapidly evolving to adapt to the new trends of our growing and changing society. Being part of a leading cutting-edge company allows me to play an active role in this change, which is something that I really value.
Additionally, working in a multinational company gives me the opportunity to move abroad by accessing internal positions in other countries and, more importantly, it gives me the opportunity to work alongside people with different backgrounds and ways of thinking. I believe that these two aspects are crucial to learn and grow, both personally and professionally.
How do you see the insurance industry evolving over the next few years?
Although it is quite difficult to make a forecast in the current fast-paced environment, I believe that insurance, like all industries, will shift to a much more consumer-centric model. This will entail the adoption of new technologies that will help companies’ capacity to offer and adapt customised solutions to all types of customers.
Zurich has already begun this shift Klinc, the first on-demand insurance in the market, and I am sure that the entire sector will move in this direction in the years to come.
How do you use what you learned at EADA in your current position?
Besides all the technical skills learned during the International Master in Finance (risk management, portfolio management, programming, day trading, etc.), what EADA taught me is that you cannot do everything by yourself. In the current professional environment, you need knowledge and hard work, but most important, you need to know how to work in a team. There is nothing more efficient and valuable than a good team working together and, to achieve this, you need to invest time and effort while knowing how to motivate others to do the same.
How important are soft skills in your position?
I believe that soft skills are fundamental in any position because they are what allows you to take move work or project forward successfully. In my position, soft skills are especially relevant since we are putting together the interests and needs of several parties and leading the communication between them – this involves skills in adaptability, time management, leadership, negotiation and communication.
Which advice would you give to graduates who want to work in the insurance industry?
Have passion, work hard and be eager to learn! Financial markets are constantly evolving, so if you want to keep up the rhythm, you’ll need to be ready to handle a lot of stress. If this is your passion, it will be much easier – you will enjoy the learning process and won’t be easily discouraged.
You participated in EADA’s exchange programme. What was your biggest takeaway from this experience?
Being part of the exchange programme at SKEMA allowed me to step out of my comfort zone. I believe this is the biggest takeaway of my experience abroad, since it gave me the opportunity to get to know myself better and improve both personally and professionally.