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Pawan Shah: Embracing global opportunities, flexibility and leading with purpose

Having enjoyed a 14 year career with Macquarie, Pawan Shah is an Associate Director and Head of Macquarie Asset Management Finance in Gurugram. Pawan has contributed to the growth of the Gurugram office and now oversees a global team. He is looking forward to the opportunities in the business that are still to come.  


In 2004, Pawan Shah qualified as a Chartered Accountant, he spent three years working in assurance and audit in a global Big Four accounting firm. By 2008, he was looking for a change and decided to spread his wings and experience the 'other side of the table' in a financial services company.

He found himself attracted to the funds management business in Macquarie’s global operations, with Macquarie Asset Management. 

“Macquarie was not well-known in India at the time, but I saw a real opportunity,” Pawan says.

“I joined Macquarie’s Fund Accounting Team in 2008 as an Executive. It was the first team that was set up in Gurugram and at the time I joined, the office had less than 30 employees and had a start-up feel.”


A career journey 

As an Executive, Pawan supported Macquarie Asset Management by undertaking finance activities for Sydney-based funds. He was promoted to Manager in 2009 then to Assistant Vice President in 2012. The following year he was made Vice President and says it was a career highlight to lead what he calls ‘Gurugram’s pilot team’.

“Leading the Fund Accounting team was quite phenomenal, because it’s the team from which the whole Gurugram office grew. It underpins the Global Financial Services concept that we have today, covering the Financial Management Group activities in Gurugram.”

Pawan's role expanded when he was appointed team lead for the Funds Finance team. Then in 2016, he was offered the opportunity to lead the entire Asset Management Finance team.

In 2017, Pawan says he took a leap of faith, leaving his comfort zone after nine years in Macquarie Asset Management finance team to take on a team lead role in the Australia and New Zealand Legal Entity Control team. He spent a couple of years working on implementing new accounting standards and on an automation program.

Shortly after making this move, Pawan became the first Gurugram employee who had joined at Executive level to be promoted to Associate Director.

“My role has changed every couple of years,” Pawan says. “I always put my hand up to ask for new things and deliver them, which built trust and led to more opportunities."


Creating global teams

Pawan has taken this approach to his current role as Associate Director, leading the Macquarie Asset Management finance function in Gurugram.

“I may have spent 14 years at Macquarie, but my role has changed again,” Pawan says.

I’m now leading both the Gurugram and US based Jacksonville Macquarie Asset Management Finance teams, which means more learning and growth."

Together, this global team has close to 100 people. 

“My role is to support the Asset Management business' Chief Financial Officer in delivering finance function responsibilities, from monthly reporting and accounting to providing information to group reporting teams, managing subsidiary financial statements, and looking at higher level business as usual activities,” he explains.

Pawan represents Macquarie Asset Management Finance in key leadership forums, and says listening is the most important skill in his role, alongside finding solutions. 

“It requires attention to detail, with a focus on risk,” he says.


Growth, change and learning

Change and transformation projects have become an important part of Pawan’s role. 

“Macquarie is unique in the level of change that’s always occurring,” he says. “It motivates me and means you’re always doing something new.”

Pawan counts several change projects he has worked on as career highlights, including the finance operating model transformation project, supporting a new Financial Management Group operating model, setting up the principal accounting team in Gurugram, and being involved as Product Owner for the Legal Entity Control Automation SCRUM team. In this role, he helped Gurugram Finance implement the Agile Methodology for the first time. 

“I have thrived on the challenge of venturing into new areas with ambiguities,” Pawan says.


The power of why

Pawan says his philosophy is to focus on why something is done, not on how it is done. 

“It is very powerful to know why things are happening, and what will happen - or not - if things aren’t done,” Pawan says. “I’m constantly asking: why is it important, for Macquarie, or from a finance perspective?”

Alongside his own career development, Pawan has contributed to the growth of Gurugram’s office, playing a key role in hiring, nurturing, and retaining talent. He has seen the  ‘start-up’ atmosphere morph into a mature, independent office of over 1,700 staff.

Pawan explains that the work the Gurugram teams are doing has changed over the years, resulting in them becoming global process owners. He says he is looking forward to the future growth of the business.

“I’ll be focusing on bringing Jacksonville and Gurugram together from a Macquarie Asset Management finance and functional perspective,” he says. 

“We’re also supporting transformation and automation across the Financial Management Group and Asset Management business to set ourselves up for the future.” 


Accepting the challenges

Pawan has embraced learning opportunities while at Macquarie, including completing an Executive MBA. He says he has also enjoyed supporting the teams to learn, nurturing future leaders and will be playing a role in the Global Financial Services Academy. 

Despite this, Pawan believes most of his personal and professional growth has happened through the work he is doing at Macquarie, and the collegial culture of mentoring and support. 

“I’m a big supporter of flexible working,” Pawan says. “Flexibility is a two-way street, Macquarie is an output-driven organisation, we’ve been out of the office for two years and still delivered two financial-year end and two half-year periods, implemented a new general ledger and undertaken restructures remotely.” 

“Now, flexibility goes hand in hand with hybrid working.” 

Pawan believes Macquarie’s finance teams offer a unique opportunity from an industry perspective: to learn holistic end-to-end processes, rather than working with individual activity.

Working with multiple stakeholders across different aspects of finance, Macquarie’s four key business groups and central support teams, facilitates an interesting finance career."

“As my own experience shows, there’s always the possibility of global and career mobility, growth and constant learning.”

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