Working in a risk function at Macquarie is more than just numbers. For Ed Hollingdale, it means he enjoys a different perspective on Macquarie's investments and has the ability to work with a variety of stakeholders.
Ed Hollingdale's undergraduate study may seem a long way from the world of risk in a financial services organisation. He graduated with a Bachelor of Philosophy, Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Western Australia and completed an Honours year in mathematical ecology.
“I looked at sheep and deer movement to understand their interactions from GPS data," Ed explains. “Sheep and deer interaction may not be applicable to what I do at Macquarie. But the general skills I learnt from my degree are relevant to my role today, as I analyse various different types of data as part of my role."
While studying, Ed completed an internship within Macquarie's risk function. He worked on a concentration risk project to understand diversification levels across Macquarie's entire portfolio.
“The Macquarie internship was incredible," Ed says. “It was inspiring to work with such smart and driven people in a team environment. It challenged me and the work was really interesting."
“My team and its people really made me want to come back, so I felt fortunate to receive an offer for the Graduate Program the following year."
In 2018, he made the move from Perth to Sydney to join the program.
Ed found Macquarie's global reach attractive, while also noting the appeal of the organisation being headquartered in Australia.
“I get all the benefits of a global institution, like unique roles in a diverse business with exciting work, but I can work locally," Ed says.
“It's a flat organisational culture, which means I got to meet with senior people from day one, and am encouraged to challenge ideas."
Since joining the Graduate Program as an Analyst, Ed has worked on stress testing to understand how Macquarie's businesses would respond to certain market impacts.
“We do stress testing for internal risk analysis as well as for external regulators," he explains. “We have to understand all of Macquarie's portfolio and develop methods for modelling various scenarios."
“Given the organisation's large and dynamic range of portfolios, it makes stress testing a very interesting thing to do."
Ed has also worked on developing models for wholesale credit provisioning, capital requirements and helps complete Macquarie's stress tests.
To gather the data for his work, he has to engage with a variety of stakeholders across Macquarie's different businesses. He also must develop an understanding of each businesses to build the appropriate models, interpret the data he receives and then deliver his findings to senior management. He finds it interesting to be involved in the whole Macquarie ecosystem.
“It's not just using maths skills to build a model," Ed says. “I need to be able to see the before and after and get involved in the discussions about the value that the modelling brings."
Ed says that, more than anything, understanding new risk types across Macquarie's diverse businesses requires the ability to adapt and learn fast.
“We need to analyse data and information and problem-solve to ensure our models are correct," Ed says. “I enjoy the challenge of quickly gaining knowledge and responsibility, and working hard to meet deadlines for delivery."
Ed says that Macquarie places a strong focus on independent risk management.
“Risk management is a huge part of what makes this organisation what it is," Ed says.
Working in risk also provides the opportunity to work on deals and portfolios from a different perspective.
“You're not doing the deal, or managing the portfolio: you're one step removed. But you're still involved. We are looking at how a given opportunity fits into Macquarie's remit."
The Graduate Program provides networking opportunities, meaning Ed has formed friendships and been able to call upon his grad colleagues as he's worked on risk projects across Macquarie's businesses.
“I'm in a privileged position where I enjoy the work itself, the challenge, the variety of work and the people I work with," says Ed. “People are so willing to help me learn and share their knowledge."
“I'm not sure where I'll go from here but within risk management at Macquarie, there are a huge range of opportunities."