Next up in our regular team Q&As is Annabel, who joined us in January. We caught up with her via Zoom to see how she’s found her first few months with Seccl, and what she’s been getting up to while working from home…
Tell us about your journey into tech…
I graduated in June of last year, having studied history. Not the most obvious grounding for a tech start-up, I admit! I was initially looking for grad schemes, but I saw Seccl’s job ad on LinkedIn and, as I live in Bath, I thought I’d explore it.
I’m glad I did, because the more I learned about the company the more I wanted in. It’s fair to say that my experience of Seccl so far is a bit of a contrast to what my friends are doing.
What’s your job like?
Mine’s a very broad role, which I like, because it means I have scope to define what I do. Day-to-day, I’m the point of contact for any enquiries from existing clients – whether that’s to request new features, tackle an issue or what have you.
And I also work with our new clients, helping them to get ready for launch. Recently, I’ve been working more with the operations team to arrange new fund manager agreements and make it easier to access good share classes (the better the share class, the lower the cost). It’s varied, to say the least.
How would you sum up what Seccl does to someone outside the industry?
We provide the back-end technology for investment apps. Some people struggle to understand that financial advisers (who are a key audience for us) use investment platforms, so I’ve found that by using ‘apps’ it makes it a bit easier to comprehend.
Why Seccl, and not a grad scheme, then?
I really like the fact that Seccl is doing something that could have a really big impact on the industry. That’s my main motivation. And on looking into the role and the company a little more closely, it was clear that the culture supports disruption and encourages thinking about challenges in a different way.
There’s a big emphasis on being comfortable with ambiguity here, which means there’s no opportunity for boredom to creep in. That’s part of what makes working for a start-up so exciting.
What does success look like for you?
As far as the company goes, I think that we have an opportunity to make some big, positive changes in the industry – and hopefully help to bring financial support within reach of everyone, not just the wealthy.
What are your Seccl highlights so far?
The all-company karaoke night was…very interesting. Although the next day was a bit tough, it was nice to be able to let off some steam and get to know people better. My go-to song that night was Mardy Bum by the Arctic Monkeys… complete with my best attempt at a Sheffield accent (sorry, Sheffield).
I also really enjoyed visiting the Octopus office in London. It was interesting to see how we fit into the wider Octopus group, and to meet the people there.
And a recurring highlight for me is getting to see ideas right at the very beginning of the product development journey, when they’re still embryonic.
How have you been finding lockdown?
Well, if anything, I’m busier. And I like it that way, as the work’s interesting.
I’ve also had more time to DJ, which I was really into at university. So I’ve been doing that a lot – roughly two hours a day. I mostly play lo-fi house, but I like any electronic music, really.
Pre-lockdown I liked to collect records. There’s a really cool shop in Bath that has a £1 crate, so I’d go there and spend a tenner and listen to them all. That’s one of the first places I’ll go when things ease up.
Now the quick-fire round. Who’s the funniest team member?
JJ makes me laugh a lot. We worked together on the fund manager stuff, and that can be so complex, but JJ made it fun.
Who would be the most useful on a desert island?
Sam Handfield-Jones. He just seems like the type of guy who could survive on a desert island.
And who would throw the best house party (socially distanced or otherwise)?
Definitely Rhymes. Rhymes = party.
Finally…if someone was on the fence about whether to apply for a role at Seccl, how would you convince them?
I would say that tech is the future, and that the future is the best place to work…
Plus, the company encourages you to keep learning, to upskill, and to focus on your long-term career goals. If that doesn’t sway you, I’m not sure what will!
If you’d like Annabel as a colleague, we’d love to hear from you. Check out our careers page to see our open roles. And don’t worry if none of them look totally right. Just get in touch with Rebecca at firstname.lastname@example.org – and start the conversation!