18 November 2015
It was witnessing the impact of the global financial crisis (GFC) which inspired the newly-awarded 2016 Menzies Scholar in Law to plan her scholarship and her career in financial services law. Emily will complete a Bachelor of Civil Law at Oxford next year, where she will concentrate on courses in securities and financial regulation.
Her ultimate career goal is a senior leadership role with a regulator such as ASIC, ensuring we have a strong and stable financial system.
“I’m drawn to working in government because of its capacity to implement change and to have a positive impact on our regulatory system,” Emily said.
“When I started working at the ASX as a paralegal during my law degree, it was in the aftermath of the GFC, at a time when the performance of our regulators and those around the world were being scrutinised to try to understand how the GFC had eventuated.
“I found it fascinating and wanted to learn more. I hadn’t considered financial services before as an area I might like to practice in before my time at the ASX. But that experience, and my study in this area as an undergraduate, has really reinforced to me how important this area is for all Australians. Given our compulsory superannuation system and the $2 trillion in funds under management in Australia, the performance of our markets and the financial sector as a whole affects everyone,” Emily said.
An Arts/Law graduate of the University of New South Wales, Emily currently works in the financial services regulatory practice at Herbert Smith Freehills in Sydney, working with domestic and international financial institutions to help ensure they are compliant with their regulatory obligations.
The always-changing, complex world of financial services law has Emily hooked.
Part of the attraction is the real-world ramifications of problems within the sector coupled with the rapid pace of change.
“I talk to people who have been in this field for 20 years or more and they are still learning because of the way this area constantly evolves.”
The fallout from the GFC, impending changes as a result of the Government’s response to the Financial System Inquiry led by David Murray, and rapid technological changes including the impact of disruption from start-ups (such as the likely future impact of blockchain technology), all combine to ensure that the financial services sector is a rapidly evolving area of our society.
“It is a very exciting time to work in this area. Many of the changes being considered in Australia have already been adopted in the UK, so part of my study at Oxford will involve gaining a better understanding of the implications of these changes in Australia,” Emily said.
Clearly understanding the potential implications of financial sector reforms will be useful for someone whose future career is aimed at a leadership role in policy formation and implementation.
And when you talk to Emily about leadership, you get a sense of someone who has a very strong grasp of what it means.
“Leadership looks different in different contexts.”
“To me it is the capacity to identify problems, engage in debate and find solutions; the capacity to go beyond criticism. A leader may not have the best solution to a problem, or even present the solution you ultimately implement, but they need to be willing to start a discussion and suggest ideas.”
Emily credits her own firm with showing this type of leadership: “I’m tremendously inspired by the way in which the lawyers I work with engage with and influence the development of the law.”
One gets a strong impression Emily will follow suit.