James Siswick - Financial Services Partner - Guidehouse
What does your current role at Guidehouse entail?
Leading the Financial Services team, covering financial crime, investigations and advisory. My role is to build the team and to win and deliver great client work.
Was regulatory consulting your first career choice?
No, both my parents were entrepreneurs, so I thought I would end up running my own business. However, I decided that accounting was a good starting point, one thing led to another and here I am.
What was your first job in regulatory consultancy?
In 1997 I joined the graduate scheme at Arthur Andersen in Leeds, where my focus was technology audit and data analytics.
Why did you not follow your parents career path?
Because consulting has always given me the opportunity to do a variety of things, including demonstrating my entrepreneurial skills.
What attributes do you think have made you successful in your career?
The ability to pick up things quickly, leadership skills, authenticity, relationship building and sticking to core values. I believe in doing the right thing and taking a long-term view. I’ve always been open to new challenges. For example, I moved to Switzerland earlier in my career and this opportunity introduced me to working in Financial Crime.
Do you look for candidates with a particular educational background or particular qualifications?
I’m not completely set, however we need people who can pick up new challenges and are adaptable. Qualifications are very useful to validate experience, but not essential. Degrees do validate intellectual capacity, but again not essential.
What advice would you give to a junior starting their career?
Build relationships, stay in touch with people, be open about what you specialise in, be willing to think outside the box, have a career plan, but be flexible and not too fixed.
What advice would you give to a mid-level professional?
Start to focus on leadership skills, keep technical skills current and continue to develop deeper relationships with people.
What advice would you give to a number two?
Keep focusing on doing a good job and doing the right thing by the people you interact with. Be aware of areas you need to improve and always look to develop. Have people around you willing to help you.
What do you see as the growth areas of regulatory consulting in the next 18 months?
Financial Crime is still a hot topic. The use of AI and data analytics to make Financial Crime work more effectively – in particular in areas like KYC, Sanctions and Transaction Monitoring, which currently require large numbers of people to work on repeatable processes. Tax evasion, bribery, conduct, governance and behaviour will also be areas of focus.
Who is the person or persons who have had the biggest impact on your career?
I’ve been lucky enough to have a number of inspiring people around me, but three people particularly stand out. David Hughes at Deloitte for people leadership and team building. Karen Briggs at KPMG for authenticity and client relationships and Ellen Zimiles at Guidehouse for all round greatness - inspirational, excellent leadership and managing her work /life balance.
Last, but not least, when you’re not in work, how do you unwind?
I enjoy running and am currently training for the 2020 London and New York marathons. Hanging out with my husband Nick, cooking and entertaining. I’m also a trustee for Starfish Greathearts Foundation, who care for vulnerable and orphaned children affected by HIV and poverty in South Africa.