“Faces” is a component of the Financial Centre Focus (FCF) initiative coordinated by BFSB and the Professional Industry Association Working Group to profile role models within the financial services sector. It is produced in collaboration with Guardian Business, with profiles appearing in the Monday edition of the Nassau Guardian each week.
Jane D. Major
Industry Position: Trust Officer, Banque Privee Edmond de Rothschild Ltd.
Personal: Married to Andrew C. Major, mother of 1 daughter, Alexia J. Major
Tell us a bit about the development of your career in the sector.
My career in the Financial Sector began in 1983, when I joined RoyWest Bank and Trust Company (now SG Hambros Bank and Trust) as a clerk in the Securities Department. At the time RoyWest was the largest Trust company in the Bahamas employing over 200 persons. This company had an excellent training programme which included a well-defined education development and career path for each employee. Training was provided by various reputable institutions which included The College of The Bahamas, The Bahamas Institute of Banker (now known as The Bahamas Institute of Financial Services (BIFS), and The Chartered Institute of Bankers in London. More importantly, RoyWest provided on-the-job training sessions with experienced managers and supervisors.
This company’s desire for excellence and training opportunities was responsible for me remaining in the financial sector. Training uncovered the diverse careers, which complement each other to form the financial sector. I was motivated to obtain my AA degree in Banking and Finance. I later moved to the Banking Department and finally the Trust Department. After taking trust courses for the Chartered Institute in London ABIFS diploma and becoming a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, I was promoted to Client Service Manager in charge of the Latin American team.
Equipped with a firm foundation and education in Banking and Trust, I took the challenge of working for a smaller, newly incorporated company, Banque Privée Edmond de Rothschild Ltd. I had the awesome task of setting up a Trust and Company Department for the Group, which subsequently afforded me opportunities to travel to our group companies in Geneva, Lausanne, Lugano, Luxembourg, Paris and Monaco to promote the financial services offered by our company and to represent The Bahamas as a financial jurisdiction. Given that Banque Privée Edmond de Rothschild Ltd. is a French based company, I was given the opportunity through Alliance Française to study French and to obtain the DELF A1 Certificate.
I have been involved in the financial sector now for over 27 years: 14 years at SG Hambros (formerly RoyWest, and Coutts & Co) and over 13 years with my current employer, Banque Privee Edmond de Rothschild Ltd.
What keeps you motivated?
The constant changes in the industry keeps me motivated together with the evolving opportunities for training made available by The Bahamas Institute of Financial Services (BIFS). BIFS played an important role in my development and advancement in the financial sector. The Institute has equipped me with the knowledge to deal with the day to day demands of the job through its annual BIFS’ week, lunch and learn sessions and courses. I realize that everyone has the potential to be a solution and not a problem and that to be self motivated is an asset.
BIFS also has motivated me to give back to the financial community in a tangible way, in my capacity as the Education Chairperson of the Education Committee. I work closely with the other industry professionals to provide relevant international accredited courses and seminars to meet the growing need of the industry and to be proactive with the development of the 12th grade students through its G-12 cadet program. The fact that I enjoy my work is also a source of motivation.
Do you think you have been successful?
The key to my success undoubtedly is my relation with God and my commitment to being obedient to Him. He is constantly directing my path through my daily personal and work environment and being obedient to His Word would always guarantee success. The motivation to continue learning and developing my career, maintaining a high standard of integrity, ethics, honesty and doing what is right are also contributing factors to my success.
Did mentoring play a part in your success?
The mark of a good leader is how well he or she trains and mentors others and how well they perform when they are not there. Throughout my working career and personal life, I was mentored by strong, positive, influential and highly educated women and men. Each of them deposited a unique characteristic in my life which contributed to the success I have achieved and will continue to achieve. Through my experiences, I have seen the importance and the need to become a mentor to everyone who would be receptive. I believe every day of your life as you interact with others, your words, actions and deeds should be a teaching and mentoring moment for others.
Why is it important to encourage our youth to think of careers within the financial services sector?
The fact that banking is the second largest industry in The Bahamas is the ideal reason why we should channel the focus of our youth toward careers within the Financial Sector. Technology and learning institutions such as BIFS continue to provide a myriad of opportunities for training and technology for young people aspiring to pursue a rewarding career in the financial services sector.
Are there specific suggestions for sustaining and/or growing the financial services sector?
In order to sustain and grow the financial sector, the movers and shakers of the industry must be proactive and mindful of the local and international changes and regulations that would affect the industry. It is very important to seek feedback from your clients on their current and future needs and formulate plans to meet them in an efficient, professional manner. The country should continue to invest in the financial sector’s most important and valuable assets - the hard working professionals - by providing opportunities for them to take the industry to the next level.
For example, learning a foreign language is becoming mandatory in certain areas within financial industry therefore, initiatives to encourage professionals to learn a second language such as French, Spanish, Italian and German, should be explored. The Bahamas should seek to turn challenges into opportunities by providing platinum financial products and service as they strive to be an industry leader not a follower.