Purple leaf

Director of Product Development (Economics, BA)

Philip Niles, Butterfield Fulcrum

Philip Niles currently holds the position of director of product development with Butterfield Fulcrum. His educational achievements include a BA degree in economics and financial management from Laurier and an MBA from the University of Liverpool with a specialization in accounting and finance. He also holds a CAIA designation from the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association. Philip initially planned on pursuing a career in journalism; it was not until his graduating year in high school that he discovered his interest in economics.

Butterfield Fulcrum is a top-five independent fund administration company servicing the alternative investment industry. The alternate investments industry is characterized as dealing in assets and investments that are beyond the basic equity or fixed income product. Philip describes his experience with the firm as “no two days are ever the same” as working in the alternate investments field is extremely fast paced and involves dealing with clients and co-workers in a rapidly changing environment. Philip’s job entails working closely with the business development team as well as promoting and enhancing the company’s services and technology. His job also requires him to travel extensively in order to recruit new business, as well as service existing clients through client/executive engagement.

Philip’s first job after graduation was with Manulife Financial but after five months he was offered a position with Butterfield Fulcrum as a fund accountant. His duties to name a few, included booking cash and trade activity for a number of hedge and private equity funds and liaising with clientele and external parties concerning details of the fund. He describes his overall experience of the company as being very fruitful as he has seen the company grow immensely over the past five years. Philip still pursues his interest in journalism by regularly contributing articles to a wide variety of industry periodicals, including Canadian Hedge Watch, a Canadian newsletter that focuses on the alternate investments industry.

Philip’s advice for students hoping to pursue a career in the financial field of alternate investments is to first take the time to assess their skills and understand what differentiates them from other candidates. Employers are looking for candidates who stand out from the rest. As an example, finance and other business fields all face education inflation. Philip believes that we live in a time where the vast majority of the applicants to finance jobs have an undergraduate degree; students have to now increase their education level and pursue an MBA or a professional designation such as a CFA or a CMA to truly stand out with respect to their education.

His other advice for students is to make use of social networks and consider them not as toys but useful tools. With a generation that is glued to their Twitter/Facebook, Philip suggests adding or following news agencies and professional associations to get the latest updates around the world and in the industry. Also, according to Philip, LinkedIn can be a hugely beneficial tool in finding jobs, learning more about individuals within an organization and networking. He also warns against posting provocative images or messages anywhere on the Internet as employers can view all your past information with a simple search on Google.

Philip recommends students read the Wall Street Journal and The Economist in order to gain a deeper insight into markets and their workings. He also recommends newsletters such as Canadian Hedge Watch and Opalesque.