As one of the newest junior associates to join the growing Structured Finance Group at Reed Smith, there are times when I feel that I have the best seat in the house to witness the changes going on in this tumultuous period for our financial markets. The economy as a whole, and its associated regulatory regime are in a clear and sustained state of flux.
The main benefit of this for someone at my stage of their career is that it encourages you to “challenge the unchallengeable.” Ideas and concepts that were previously accepted practice are now being reformulated and reconsidered. The building blocks which were simply taken as read are now questioned and analysed in detail. As a junior associate, the fresh approach you can bring means that you can ask more questions of what is going on around you and learn a great deal as a result. Indeed the very infrastructure which oversees the way in which the financial markets are regulated in the UK has recently been completely overhauled – with the Financial Services Authority being scrapped and replaced by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulatory Authority.
Further, such changes make for an interesting time in Structured Finance. To a certain extent, one could describe us as “doctors to sick deals.” We help diagnose the problems and together with others look to find a suitable solution. This allows junior members of the team like myself to examine the causes of the problems involved in such deals and analyse and act on the solutions. From a learning perspective, there is little better experience to be had.
It is not simply a case of fixing broken deals, though. The growing number of new CMBS issuances gives the market new hope, and brings along with it chances for further reflection and learning opportunities.
Joining Reed Smith’s Structured Finance Group at this time has been an opportunity to learn new skills and develop a solid foundation of practical knowledge, all in a fast-paced, oft-changing time for the market. It is at times like these you realise that questions can be just as important as their answers.