October 2021

Young professionals who work for ICMA member firms can keep up to date with developments in the capital markets by accessing the wide range of useful resources and services of the association, including a legal and regulatory helpdesk, podcasts, webinars, and various guides and FAQs. 

Contact futureleaders@icmagroup.org



Welcome to this latest ICMA Future Leaders (IFL) newsletter!  

ICMA launched the IFL more than 6 years ago and it has grown since then to a network of more than 1,200 young professionals in capital markets around the world. There have been some real material achievements along the way - from issuing a practical guide on how to get involved with ICMA, to great suggestions on communicating with the younger generation which resulted in factsheets, animations and podcasts, to launching a mentoring platform and the very many networking events in different countries that have brought us together and helped us to think productively about our careers and our lives. It’s great to see contributions this time from IFL members sharing their own experiences.

The pandemic has been hard for everyone and it has been impossible for us to meet, but we have kept on creating and enjoying the IFL podcasts, succeeded in adding new members to the network and started new initiatives including launching a new Fintech working group. We are all looking forward to meeting again at the events which have made the IFL such a supportive and helpful network!

Michael Sansen, Citibank
Chair, ICMA Future Leaders Steering Committee.

Get in touch with the IFL representative in your region! Please visit www.icmagroup.org/FutureLeaders to find out more.


How do we steer ourselves through the start of our careers? 

Finding our first ever job is like a game of musical chairs. Everyone is running around trying to make sure they are not left standing when the music stops. But what happens after we find our seats?

No-one really tells you how to navigate through the trenches once you start your career. Finding a job is one thing, but what do we do once we’ve found it? How do you make sure you gain the most knowledge and expertise possible? How do you climb the corporate ladder? How do you know it’s time to move on? 

If you are a fellow junior, graduate trainee, entry level employee or however we call those who recently started their careers, then you have probably asked yourself at least one of these questions. 

We all know, the current circumstances haven’t made things easy for those of you just starting out. Working from home makes it hard not just to motivate yourself, but to learn and connect with fellow colleagues. I personally started working on a trading desk two weeks before a national lockdown was announced, after which I spent 6 months working from home. Saying the experience was challenging would be an understatement. But today, we are not going to be dwelling on the past. With more and more people going back to the office, it is time to catch up on the valuable time we juniors have ‘lost’ working at home. But how? Here are a few tips.

Buddy up: I cannot stress this enough. Get yourself a buddy, a mentor, a coach, whatever you want to call it. When one says mentor, people often think of someone who has a lifetime of experience in a related field, but this doesn’t need to be the case. I personally have found a mentee to learn the most when the mentor has been in their shoes not a lifetime ago. Circumstances are constantly changing and you need someone just a few years down the line from you; someone who can reflect on their personal experiences from not too long ago. Ideally, this person would have your best interest at heart. Try to find someone you get along with and build a level of comradery. Not only might you gain a friend who has a flurry of knowledge and expertise, but also several years of lived experiences you might learn a thing or two from. 

Make yourself heard: whatever you do, do not sit around waiting for an opportunity to come by. The world will not dream about your aspirations, you have to voice them. Make sure your manager knows what you are after early on, and discuss any goals you might have with them. If out in the open, a good manager will help guide you to achieve what you are after in your role, or maybe even outside of your current function. I know this might sound easier said than done, but if you want to progress, you have to face the music. Dream big, but not in silence! 

Knowledge is value: a steep learning curve early on in your career is essential. If you do not feel like you are being pushed outside or your comfort zone on a somewhat regular basis, you are not in the right place. You don’t have to feel like you are drowning, but there should be moments where you are kept on your toes, and being pushed further than you might push yourself. Ask yourself “am I learning enough?” If the answer to this question is “no”, or even “I am not sure”, it is time to start thinking about exchanging your current seat for another. The expertise you gain in your first few years, along with the practical skills lay the foundation for a successful career, so you want to make sure you gain as much as possible from each role!  

Anna Tsutsunava is a Junior Rates trader at ING in Amsterdam and a member of the ICMA Future Leaders Committee representing the ICMA Dutch region.

The new ICMA IFL FinTech Working Group: exploring the future of capital markets

On 24 October 2008, during the global financial crisis, many of the world’s stock exchanges experienced the worst declines in their history, with drops of around 10% in most indices. The then deputy governor of the Bank of England, Charlie Bean, lamented ‘a once in a lifetime crisis, the largest financial crisis of its kind in human history.’

One week later, on 31 October 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper introducing his proposal for a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. His upbeat message was the antithesis of that of Charlie Bean a week earlier. He presented Bitcoin to the world and with it the potential for greater speed, transparency, and security in how transactions could be conducted. He promised a revolution, in only 9 sides of A4. 

Today, the economy has stabilized and there is renewed confidence in the global financial markets which have been resilient in the face of the recent global Covid-19 pandemic. Bitcoin has flourished in some respects, with sources reporting that there are 12,168 Bitcoin transactions an hour, but floundered in others, with the currency criticized as volatile, environmentally damaging, more of an investment than a medium of value and rightly or wrongly, a tool of cybercriminals.  

In the capital markets context, it is the technology of the digital ledger in which Bitcoin transactions are recorded, the ‘blockchain’, which market actors are most interested in, rather than Bitcoin itself. If there is to be a blockchain revolution in capital markets, it will be centred around the potential offered by code (more specifically, smart contracts), the transparency and security offered by the digital ledger, the possibility of reducing barriers to market entry by reducing costs and the advantages of quicker settlement and trading. 

Innovative FinTech product specialists are also using data and artificial intelligence to improve the process of issuing on the capital markets, promising greater efficiencies in areas such as bookbuilding, KYC checks, document production, post-trade reporting and investor relations, among others.

In this context, the ICMA IFL FinTech Working Group has recently been created. The Working Group, which will be chaired by Alejandro Martin Parrilla from Banco Santander, with Alexander Tollast as Vice Chair and and supported by Rowan Varrall and Allan Malvar from ICMA, will meet on a quarterly basis to discuss and debate the latest FinTech developments in the capital markets. The Working Group’s inaugural podcasts, focusing on the use of distributed ledger technology in the capital markets, will be published in Q4 and the Working Group, keen to introduce capital markets practitioners to what can be seen as an inaccessible topic, will aim to publish articles and organize events on a regular basis.

Alexander Tollast, Clifford Chance
Vice Chair, ICMA Future Leaders FinTech Working Group.


Tapping the full potential of LinkedIn

Algorithm, insights, analytics, and research… I am not talking about trading, but about your social media presence and footprint. Should you care, you are not looking for your next job yet, are you? I think you should care, whatever position you are in. It opens up opportunities (podcasts, working groups, speaking engagements) and connections beyond your immediate physical community, and you might be getting that new job you did not think you wanted. 

Social media, and specifically LinkedIn, has provided a free professional marketing platform for firms, brands and people. It has helped countless people to apply and change jobs. And the question is ‘are you really tapping its full potential?’ Is your CV up-to-date? Do you have a short and snappy description of your experience at the top of your profile, including your strengths, strategically placing a number of keywords to be viewed by potential connections and employers/recruiters? Do you ever share stories and posts of relevance to your industry – or your own achievements, if you are invited to speak on a podcast or a conference? 

Have you ever thought of what your audience might be interested in? It is likely that your connections work in your industry and might like to see relevant pieces of information. LinkedIn gives you a chance to show more of your personality and objectives than a written – static – CV will ever do. Your network is one of your biggest assets - nurture it without taking too much place on their feed. Share a mix of relevant and useful information as well as your own achievements. It is not all about the likes and comments. It might involve selfies, it does not have to. It is about cultivating your own brand, in a subtle but effective way.  

Nathalie Aubry-Stacey, ICMA Social Media Consultant


Mentoring – making connections that matter

Although any time can be a good time to enter a mentoring relationship, it becomes more meaningful when you have a career goal in mind and/or want to pursue a career challenge or opportunity. Career goals can include many things; overcoming knowledge or skills gaps, clarifying career choices, or simply to achieve a better work-life balance. Our mentoring platform contains a number of tools to help you identify your key needs and set achievable goals. Once you identify your motivation(s), you will feel more prepared to enter and progress in a mentoring relationship.

What a career mentor can offer
A career mentor helps you go where you want to go in your career. They can provide a unbiased view to help you identify your blind spots and a big picture perspective of your career and what to look for in your next opportunity. They can help you identify and work on your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and show you how to apply them as you develop your aspirations and vision and work towards your goals.

And the benefits for mentors…
People often think mentoring is only one way, but a younger person may have the skills to provide reciprocal or reverse mentoring. Seasoned professionals can still learn so much from a younger person’s approach and their understanding of an everchanging world. You just need to be open to new learning and possibly even a little bit of criticism.

Reverse-mentoring means that you tap into the ideas and expertise of a more junior person. A younger, less-experienced person may have a better understanding of their peers’ expectations in the business and digital world. So, mentoring goes both ways. While you are helping a mentee to find their path, don’t underestimate the valuable insights they can share with you and miss out on the opportunity to learn from them.

And finally..
One of the positive outcomes of the Covid pandemic is that it has meant that video conferencing is now much more accessible to all and has opened up the freedom to have mentoring conversations and build relationships both near and far.

Access the ICMA Mentoring Platform (for members only)

"Should you be thinking about your next internal or external step, struggling with work/life balance, seeking inspiration or to test out ways to optimise your management style and effectively enhance your team the mentoring platform of ICMA should definitely be considered.

The service is within your firm's ICMA membership and enables you to access a wide range of mentors and mentees from similar - and not so similar (depending upon your goals!) – financial institutions. Having utilised the platform for many years - both as a mentee and a mentor – I cannot recommend the platform enough.

Easy to use with fascinating members who really care and want you to be the best person and leader you can be."

Sara Benjamin, previously with Financial Markets Sales at ING.


Our regular features ‘Ask the trainer’ and ‘Ask the coach’ answer your career-related questions. Send your questions to us at futureleaders@icmagroup.org and we will get the professionals to answer.

Ask the trainer

Richard Comotto is Course Director for a number of ICMA educational programmes for the repo and securities lending markets, including Introduction to Repo and Understanding the GMRA.

Q. Are there any recent developments in the repo market that we should know about?

A. The most topical development is perhaps what we could call “the search for the green repo”, although for “green”, we should read ESG. The implicit question is what role can repo play in ESG financing? Repo will be vital to ensuring the liquidity of the ESG bond market but many firms are looking to the ESG impact of specific transactions. At this level, there is a tendency to label any repo against ESG collateral as an ESG repo as collateral is the most visible aspect of a repo. However, the fact of taking ESG collateral does not change the ESG profile of the seller or the buyer, as the seller keeps the exposure despite transferring legal title, so there’s a danger of double-counting here. One really needs to look at the counterparty or the use of the proceeds. The ESG rating of the counterparty is a criterion used by green money market funds. The use of proceeds is more problematic as most repo is short-term whereas ESG financing tends to be long-term. However, more and more long-term repos are being used to finance ESG investments. Some have recently hit the headlines, eg deals by BNP and Deutsche Bank. 

At ICMA, which has published widely-adopted principles to guide the issuance of ESG bonds, there is a desire to do the same for repo and there is a demand from firms for definitions and best practice recommendations. ICMA issued a consultation paper on the subject in April and a summary of responses in September. The conversation has started but the next steps are unclear.

Ask the coach

Executive Coach Gillian Cribbs answers your questions. 

Q. With many employers seeking a partial return to the office, how do we manage a hybrid work model effectively?

A. After 18 months of learning how to work remotely, you are probably now gearing up to the new ‘hybrid’ models of working – a combination of office-based work and working from other locations.

The hybrid work model offers many advantages – structure and sociability but also independence and flexibility, but as you plan your return to the office, it’s important to understand what will best support you and your career. Here are some pointers: 

  • Your company or manager may decide the mix of in-office to remote working for you, but if you have some leeway, consider the ideal balance for your role. If you are a young professional at the start of your career, 4 days in the office and 1 day working remotely would give you time to build networks and learn from more experienced colleagues, while 3:2 or 2:3 would suit those with a heavier workload or family responsibilities. 
  • Consider the type of work and tasks you are doing: which are done more productively at home and which in the office? Formal meetings, team building, project kick-offs, creative or brainstorming sessions work best in the office while remote days are better for focused work.
  • It will take some time to establish the right balance, so track your time for a few weeks and see what patterns emerge. 
  • Be sure to share these insights with your manager as they are also learning how best to manage this new way of working. 

Q. What are your tips for virtual networking?

A. Be clear about what you want from networking – unless networking is linked to a specific outcome, e.g., to learn more about my industry/sector or to find out what career opportunities might be available, you can waste a lot of time. It’s also important to be clear about what you are offering to others as you network – it’s a reciprocal process, not just a means to an end for you.

Here are a few pointers: 

  • Start with your current contacts, colleagues, friends and family – by zoom, phone or text and listen to their news and share yours
  • Allocate time to network online – two hours a week should be enough initially; you decide how much time you wish to invest thereafter 
  • LinkedIn – see what your colleagues and contacts are sharing, follow interesting writers and companies, seek out relevant articles and broadcasts that will help you reach your best networking outcome
  • Look for relevant discussions or groups on Clubhouse, Facebook, Twitter, Quora and Instagram and participate to get yourself known 
  • Don’t expect instant results – networking takes time, patience and understanding of others

How can ICMA help you?

ICMA has produced two factsheets on the Common Domain Model (CDM) project for repo and bonds, which provides a single, unambiguous representation of the execution, clearing and settlement of a fixed-term repo transaction, as well as a bond transaction.

The CDM for repo and bonds is now available in a private environment to ICMA member firms. More information at www.icmagroup.org/CDM.


ICMA Events

IFL networking reception, Zurich, 30 September
We've all missed not being able to connect with peers during the pandemic. With life more back to normal, the Swiss Future Leaders decided to revive the ICMA community with a casual networking drinks reception last month. Approximately 30 attendees joined, ranging from individuals just starting their careers to desk heads across various different ICMA member institutions. With many of the attendees not having seen each other in person since the start of the pandemic, you can imagine that many lively discussions followed! Conversation topics included how the pandemic has impacted junior development in the industry, employer as well as personal preferences on working from home as well as the impacts of various current developments in capital markets, such as the evolving role of technology or the ever-growing importance of ESG for both issuers and investors. One thing was clear: everyone appreciated the opportunity to network again in person and the Swiss ICMA Future Leaders are thankful for the kind support of the ICMA team in helping organize the event. Let's hope this is the start to more such in-person events – stay safe and healthy!
Max Weiss, UBS and Charlotte Müller, Swiss Reinsurance Company
Members of the ICMA Future Leaders Steering Committee

Save the date: IFL networking reception, London, 1 December
The IFL UK region will hold its first in-person reception since the start of the pandemic. Young professionals from member firms are invited to catch-up with each other face-to-face in this evening of networking. Details will be announced shortly.

The IFL French region is also planning an in-person networking event in Paris in December, focusing on the theme of crytpo-assets and blockchain and why this is crucial for future leaders. Watch out for an announcement to be made soon.


ICMA Education

ICMA launches its 2022 scholarship programme
We were delighted to launch our second scholarship programme earlier this week  for individuals from selected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia Pacific who are unable to pursue a financial qualification due to their economic circumstances. We are offering 35 scholarships to ICMA Diploma courses in 2022 to as part of ICMA's mission to raise standards and support inclusion in financial markets. More details here.

Find out what an ICMA diploma can do for you!,

Advance your career in the capital markets 
ICMA Education has been setting the standard of training excellence in the capital markets for almost half a century with courses covering everything from market fundamentals to latest developments and more. Check out our courses running in the last few months of the year.


ICMA Media Library

Check out ICMA’s media library featuring webinars and podcasts on a variety of current issues and themes relating to capital markets, including sustainable finance and FinTech.

ICMA podcast      

Introducing Bryan Pascoe – ICMA’s new Chief Executive
Bryan joined the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) in September following a 28 year career in financial services mostly with HSBC.
Here he talks about what he is bringing to the role, the relevance of ICMA’s mission particularly at this critical time and his vision for the future.

ICMA podcast  

ICMA virtual event: Common Domain Model (CDM) for repo and bonds
This virtual event provided an introduction to the CDM project for repo and bonds and a demonstration of the CDM in action, providing a roundup of ICMA’s recent work, in collaboration with ISDA, ISLA, and REGnosys, to extend the Common Domain Model (CDM) to include repo and, by extension, outright bond transactions. A discussion on progress made to date, expected benefits, and the path to implementation followed from a panel of industry participants involved in the ICMA CDM Steering Committee.


Popular episodes

ICMA podcast      

Origins of the Eurobond market
Bond market veteran and author of the definitive history of the Eurobond market Chris O’Malley, tells the extraordinary story of how the market developed into the principal source of international finance for governments, supranational agencies, financial institutions around the world. Starting in post-war Europe he traces the evolution of the Eurobond market in a  constantly changing economic and political  environment to create today’s global cross-border markets.

ICMA podcast  

Primary bond markets regulation post-Brexit - what’s the UK planning?
The UK Government and authorities issued a flurry of consultations impacting primary bond market regulation this summer. In this podcast, ICMA’s Ruari Ewing and Charlotte Bellamy discuss the consultations and ICMA members’ key concerns in this area.

ICMA podcast  

Addressing workplace inequality
Rebekah Bray of ICMA Women’s Network Nordic region speaks with Alexis Cousins of SEB’s Debt Capital Markets team to discuss workplace inequality. As a PhD candidate at the Stockholm School of Economics, Alexis’ research focuses on workplace inequality and the struggles of under-represented populations. She discusses general initiatives in the financial sector to address this issue, alongside a new programme at SEB to facilitate diversity and opportunities for under-represented talent.

ICMA podcast      

Whatever happened to underwriting?
Bond market veteran Chris O’Malley examines the role of underwriting and underwriting risk over 60 years in the cross-border bond markets.


Keep up to date by following the ICMA Future Leaders LinkedIn page or following us on Twitter @icmagroup

Visit www.icmagroup.org



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