Rhiannon McKinnon, CFA
GM Strategy and Partnerships
What are some of your career highlights so far?
What I like best about my career so far is that I have been able to move around and transform myself over the years. I started in London as a sell side equity research analyst which is when I did my CFA. From there, (via a year in Beijing studying Mandarin) I moved into Corporate Finance in New Zealand, then I went in-house doing first Investor Relations, then corporate treasury and then M&A, next a stint in the CEO’s office at Kiwibank, and now I’m closer to my roots doing corporate (not investment!) strategy for Kiwi Wealth. I believe my CFA has been the foundation for the confidence to try my hand at different things and expand my skills and experience.
Another more recent highlight is that I recently returned to work after my third baby in quick succession (they are all under 5), and I have a very interesting part time (3 days a week) role. Maybe I should think of it as more of a right, but I think it’s also a privilege to be able to work part time at a senior level and I am very grateful for the opportunity.
What do you like most about your job/industry?
My current role allows me to read and think very broadly about the future of the wealth and funds management industries, how we service our clients and how we might build a sustainable business that will last through the generations. I enjoy thinking about how trends might impact an industry that I care about, know a lot about, but am not actually ‘doing’ anymore.
What are your interests outside work?
I have a young family so hanging out with them is a lot of fun (most of the time…). I am also the President of a charity, Dress for Success Wellington, which is a pretty interesting yet challenging role. I’ve probably learnt more in the past year through my volunteer job than my paid one! I’ve decided to give that role up early next year though – juggling all three things – family, paid work and volunteer work – isn’t sustainable for very long. It’s nice to play at being ‘super woman’ every now and again, but not all the time!
I also really love to travel. One thing I would recommend for the bold and foolhardy is planning lots of travel during maternity leave. With our first child, we went around the world for 3 months from when she was 5 months old, living in New York for a month, and also time in Europe and Asia. We did a similar trip (although only just one month) when the second one was 4 months old. With the third, we re-located to Beijing for a month and sent the older two to a nearby international pre-school. We are extremely fortunate to have a lot of free bunks around the world but I suppose the moral of the story is that you don’t have to completely give up what you love when you have children (although life does change, there is no denying that!).
Make a prediction for 2023
I’ve just been to the forecast dinner and was truly impressed by the winning forecasters! What pressure!
I’m really interested in the groundswell of attention on diversity and inclusion in recent times. From lip service to the mainstream, it feels like the majority now believe in the economic and moral rationale for doing this well; I wonder whether the vast number of initiatives across our sector and across businesses in general will begin to make a real impact in financial services. Fund managers have been asked to be at the forefront of this – within their own businesses (more diverse teams are more likely to deliver better investment performance) and as criteria for businesses in which they invest. By 2023, I hope and believe that those who do this well, who encourage participation from all sections of society will firstly, be able to demonstrate real progress in this field (e.g. by meeting appropriate measurable benchmarks) and secondly, be really reaping the benefits of the seeds that they sow.