The Financial Conduct Authority

2019 SILVER PARTNER

Why we’ve partnered with WiD UK 2019

Women make up nearly half the UK workforce yet are still underrepresented in data and technology professions. Gender diversity is crucial for innovation; it encourages different perspectives, promotes richer discussion, and effectively drives better change and solutions. The Financial Conduct Authority is proud to partner with Women in Data so that together, we can drive change and improve the representation of women across data and technology.

Name: Isobel Seabrook

Job Title: Data Scientist

Expertise: Python, focusing on network analytics research and anomaly detection.

What do you do?
I am a data scientist in advanced analytics, and my work either focuses on anomaly detection in FCA data or financial network analytics.

How did you get in to data?
I studied physics at University, and did a summer internship at the FCA in BTS. I came across some of the work going on in data analytics at the FCA during this placement, and then joined the new Advanced Analytics team on the FCA graduate scheme.

What’s it like working in data at the FCA?
The FCA has unique datasets that are equally interesting and challenging – so working with it involves a lot of problem solving, and also making sure that you relate to the context of the data itself and the use case. Another good thing about the role is that my team exists to support the wider business so I get to work with a large range of people from across the organisation, and learn from them through this.

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in data/data science?
Find an industry and topic that you are interested in and throw yourself at it – for me it’s financial network analytics. Also keep in mind that data science is a constantly evolving field, so you never stop learning – make sure you keep up to date with the latest developments in the field as chances are you might want to use them some day!

Name: Nathalie Lowe

Job title: Portfolio & Project Manager

Expertise: Project Management

What do you do?
I run the centralised management of a portfolio of analytics projects to help the dept. achieve its objectives. I help bridge the gap between strategy and implementation in order to ensure the dept. can leverage its project selection and execution success. I’ve also been involved in developing the project management framework for the dept. including setting project management standards and managing larger projects.

How did you get in to data?
I’ve always been interested in technology and came from a traditional tech project management background. A couple of years ago, it started to become clear that the information within the tech was beginning to be more important than the tech itself. I realised that my iPhone was nothing without the apps/data. I started reading blogs such as Futurology and listening to podcasts and although I don’t code, I found it interesting. I also wanted to differentiate myself from other PM’s as there aren’t many PM’s with experience in this area compared to traditional tech. I realised some experience in this area would give me an edge in my career.

What’s it like working in data at the FCA?
The FCA handles an extraordinary amount of data so if you’re interested in data, this is the place to be. As our division is also new, it’s pretty forward thinking and the combination of being a new division specialising in a relatively new discipline means we have a lot of freedom to set standards and be creative. A lot of organisations both nationally and internationally look for us to lead, and that drives the need to constantly innovate. I like new stuff and change so it works for me.

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in data/data science?
Go for it! We need you! There are all kinds of roles, if coding’s not for you, there are Project Manager roles. Business Analysis roles, Operations roles etc. I’d love to see more women involved. I’ve even convinced my 8-year-old daughter to code so she can create her own games with the view that coding will be a viable career in the future. The importance of data will only keep increasing.

Name: Francesca Hopwood-Road

Job title: Head of RegTech & Advanced Analytics

What do you do?
I lead a department of technologists, data scientists, developers,business change specialists and programme managers to support the delivery of the FCA’s ambitious and exciting agenda to use data and advanced analytics to catalyse change and innovation in ourregulatory activity and the wider regulatory ecosystem.

How did you get in to data?
In the roles I have done, I have sought to identify and understand problems affecting people and often the most vulnerable. Using data to explore and surface  some of these problems and then tellcompelling stories has been at the heart of my career.

What’s it like working in data at the FCA?
We are on an exciting and fast journey. The FCA has a significant span of interest and responsibility and therefore the data we have and the mission we have to protect markets and consumers means our work has a clear impact and purpose.

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in data/data science?
When I was first asked the question about how I got into data, it didn’t resonate with me because I saw myself as someone who liked to identify and fix problems. Data is the oil that helps me do that. I would say be curious and think about the skills you have, their transferability and what drives and interests you.

Name: Phoebe Pryor-Hill

Job title: Data Analyst

Expertise: Coding in R.

What do you do?
I sit in the Data Analysis and Insight team within the FCA’s Central Data Services department. Most of my work involves delivering key external FCA publications and analysing data to inform decision making and to monitor trends. I also use coding when possible to help automate manual tasks.

How did you get in to data?
I always enjoyed maths at school, but after completing an Economics and Social Sciences Baccalaureate, I decided to do an undergraduate degree in International Relations. I found my most interesting modules to be those which combined data analysis with policy or behavioural sciences. I decided to pursue this further, completing a MSc in Policy Analytics where I was learned how to code. I then joined the FCA as a Data Science Research Assistant in the Economics Department, before securing a permanent job as a Data Analyst in my current team.

What’s it like working in data at the FCA?
Since working at the FCA, I have worked on a wide range of projects, from analysing market-wide data to inform new policies, through to preparing data to be published externally. The range of data we have available and the chance to use such a varied set of tools and methods is what makes my job exciting.

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in data/data science?
The main piece of advice I would give to women considering a career in data would be to push yourself out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. This has helped me discover what I enjoy working on, and has helped me develop and discover new strengths. The second piece of advice from me would be to continuously develop your skillset and knowledge to keep up with the innovation within data science.

“Gender diversity is crucial for innovation; it encourages different perspectives, promotes richer discussion, and effectively drives better change and solutions.”

About FCA

Financial markets need to be honest, fair and effective so that consumers get a fair deal. We aim to make the markets work well – for individuals, for business, large and small, and for the economy as a whole. We do this by regulating the conduct of more than 59,000 businesses. We are also the prudential regulator for more than 18,000 of these businesses. The FCA is responsible for regulating a sector which plays a critical role in the lives of everyone in theUK and without which the modern economy could not function. From children’s ISAs to  pensions, direct debits to credit cards, loans to investments – how well financial markets work has a fundamental impact on us all. UK financial services employ over 2.2 million people and contribute £65.6bn in tax to the UK economy. If UK markets work well, competitively and fairly they benefit customers, staff and shareholders, and maintain confidence in the UK as a major global financial hub. Our role is to help ensure this happens.

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