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Camilla’s career journey within investment management

Posting date: 25 Aug 2023
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Camilla Ayling joined our investment management division in 2019. When we first sat down to speak to Camilla, she was one of our rising Equity Analysts. Since then, she has progressed to become a Fund Manager within our Active Equities team. That’s not all though. She made Citywire’s 2019 Top 30 under 30 list, was awarded Investment Analyst of the Year at the 2020 Women in Investment Awards and was a finalist at the same awards in 2023 for the category Investment Woman of the Year.

Camilla told us what her career means to her and shared some wise words on charting a successful career in investment management. Read on to hear her story.

What would you tell someone thinking about a career in investment management?

It is a tough but rewarding job role. Starting out, I think I was under the illusion that it is a form of trade in which you can learn and qualify. Yet in reality, there is no handbook to prepare you for an Equity Analyst or Fund Manager role, and nobody can quickly train you to become one. Despite holding several qualifications in Investment Management, Financial Analysis and Responsible Investing, as well as having an Economics degree, I am still learning every day as the job is so wide-ranging and constantly evolving. In fact, I don’t think I will ever stop learning – a facet of this career path that I love. If you are seeking a dynamic role that will always keep you on your toes, this could suit you!

What has helped you get to where you are in your career today?

Given the fast-paced and challenging nature of the role, you need to be prepared to work very hard. However, that alone is not enough, as I like to think of fund management as a team sport. So the important thing is to ensure you are in a supportive environment that allows you to develop, and my experience at Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) so far shows that when you get that kind of support, it is highly empowering.

Working at Legal & General, I’ve been surrounded by people who have tremendous amounts of experience, and who have taken the time not only to guide me, but more importantly, to drive me to form my own opinions. It’s also evident in the lively debates about investments that we have with colleagues in our team and across the department.

Can you give us an insight into what an Equity Analyst/Fund Manager job involves?

We spend our time researching and analysing companies across the various markets to develop a view of the underlying value of these businesses and ultimately their shares. It is a multi-faceted investment process, which includes understanding their business model and competitive advantages, researching their industries and peers, and meeting their management teams, alongside performing a quantitative analysis of their financials.

We then use this conviction-led approach to select a portfolio of equities, making sure we adhere to risk and allocation parameters defined by each fund’s setup. We regularly meet with clients invested in these funds to explain our performance and answer any questions they may have.

It is this diversity of the role which makes every day different and exciting. I love bringing together the different pieces of the puzzle to critically assess each investment story. 

How is Legal & General different from other companies you’ve worked for?

For me, joining LGIM marked a shift from working solely as an analyst, to taking on portfolio management responsibilities, as well as expanding my coverage to other markets. These opportunities have been accompanied by the steepest learning curve I have ever faced. But, with the support of my colleagues, I was able to rise to the challenge. I think LGIM is a fantastic place to learn and develop.

What does your career mean to you on a personal level?

I have always enjoyed taking on new challenges and interacting with different people and this career brings that on a daily basis. I took 10 months of maternity leave in 2021 to have my son, and my desire to keep learning and challenge myself saw me study for and pass the CFA ESG qualification during that time away from work. It was wonderful to take those special months away from the desk to prioritise my family but then be able to pick up from where I left off in my role. With the fast-paced nature of the job, it is great to be able to balance it around family time to unwind. 

I also appreciate that the Investment and Asset Management industry is an excellent one to be a part of and I have found comfort over the last decade in trying to make it an even more diverse and balanced place for everyone to feel inspired to work in. 

Have you got any advice for people thinking of taking a similar career path?

Maintain your self-belief. We tend to be overly critical of ourselves, worrying that we might be wrong or that things won’t work out, but these thoughts should not hold us back. If we take measured risks and learn from our mistakes, that will help us to develop.

Unless we stretch ourselves, we will never discover what we are truly capable of and, trust me, we are much more capable than we give ourselves credit for! So, put yourself forward for new and exciting opportunities - even if you don’t feel ready. I can assure you that you won’t be alone in feeling that way. It is precisely in those situations that you will learn and grow the most.

Explore your career opportunities at Legal & General

As Camilla says, there’s no instruction manual for how to thrive in investment management or any career for that matter. It’s a case of learning by doing, tapping into the knowledge of your team members and remembering that you’re not going to get it right every time.

That culture of learning is central to everything we do at Legal & General because investing in personal growth is how we help to create something bigger.

If Camilla’s story has inspired you, why not explore our current investment roles? You don’t have to be ready to apply right now. Simply shortlist your favourite roles and keep an eye out for new opportunities as they roll in.

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