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Engaging with the potential future leaders of our industry

Technology within financial markets is already seen as an exciting career choice, and it’s set to become even more interesting. Along with other industry sponsors, we invited Year 9 students from Sir John Cass Redcoat School in Stepney, East London, to take part in the inaugural Student Crawl, arranged by Career Ready UK and Innovate Finance. The event was designed to improve the student’s awareness of the potential career choices available after they finish their education.

So, we went along with the goal of engaging the students in order to improve their understanding of financial markets, and how technology relates to the industry. We wanted to get them interested in the topic in the hope that we could build a talent pipeline of future leaders for our rapidly expanding and evolving industry.

To this end, we provided an overview of the importance of regulation in financial markets, not just for the UK but also on a global scale. We discussed the challenges that regulated firms face when it comes to understanding their obligations and implementing effective procedures to ensure they are compliant with rules all over the world. CUBE’s representative, David Noble, also discussed how artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way that organisations manage compliance issues, particularly for AML, data security and cyber security.

The students were quick to understand that one of the biggest challenges the industry has encountered is the requirement to read through huge documents of text and then having to figure out how to apply these to a business. They were shocked to hear that the FCA rule book, if printed, would stand at over 2m tall and that MiFID II runs to over 30,000 pages. We then spent time discussing natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) and the transformative effect these technologies are having on the industry.

We organised a few activities to keep the children entertained, and the game that was particularly popular was the ‘Lego Brick Challenge’. This game was designed to illustrate the difficulty that regulated firms have when it comes to managing ever-changing industry rules. We split the children into 3 groups, and then each of those 3 groups were split again into two groups of 5. Each group was provided with a bowl of Lego bricks and given 10 minutes to build the tallest tower they could. To start with there was only one rule; the base of the tower must measure 5 x 5 bricks. However, as time went on the rules kept changing! This led to lots of frustration, as the teams had to quickly adjust their design to stay compliant. The winning groups were the ones that managed to adapt and build a tower that was compliant with the final set of rules.

Nick Insley, STEM lead at Career Ready, commented, “At Career Ready, we aim to prepare young people for the world of work. The student crawl that CUBE was a part of did that fantastically. They opened up the world of FinTech and Artificial Intelligence in an interactive and informative way. David had the year 9 students… learning about compliance with a great competitive game. Brilliant!”

We fully echo this sentiment. By being able to showcase the use of technology in practice, and how it relates to the specific challenges faced by the financial services industry, we were able to bring CUBE’s solution to life in the minds of the students. By holding more of these events, we hope to light a spark in student’s minds and equip them with the right mindset to develop their skills and experience further; both in the classroom and through further engagement with companies such as ours. Doing so should hopefully create a steady stream of interested individuals who are excited to come and build a career within, what is undoubtedly, one of today’s most exciting sectors.