It is good to be back

I began my career in 1998 in investment banking. Since then, I have worked in financial services in San 
Francisco, Boston and London in roles ranging from investment management to disputes and investigations consulting. I have three boys, ages 1, 3 & 5 years old. After having my first child, I returned to work for a year until having my second child. Instead of returning to work after my second maternity leave, my family and I relocated abroad due to my husband’s overseas posting. Upon returning to the UK and after having my third child, I decided to return to work. And here I am.

– Marjorie Lyons

week-1-(1).png End of Week 1: 26 Jan 2017

With my first week done, I can say it is good to be back.  Despite my 14-month-old’s heart-breaking tears when I say goodbye in the morning, I am happy to be engaging the analytical part of my mind again.  The women that Redington has assembled for the returnship program are quite impressive.

My role in manager research is new to me.  I am enjoying meeting the fund managers and grappling with understanding their strategies and evaluating their capabilities.

Luckily, due to the flexibility of the firm, I have created a unique schedule, spreading my 3 working days over 4.  This allows me to do the school run in the afternoon and be with my three boys for after school, supper and bedtime, whilst also being in the office 4 out of the 5 days of the week.  The time with my little ones, who are 5, 3 and 1 years old, is invaluable for them and for me.

What is most surprising to me is that my 3yr old and 5yr old have handled my return with such ease.  In fact, they seem quite proud that Mummy is going to work.  That has been the most refreshing part about the journey so far.

week-2-(1).png End of Week 2: 2 Feb 2017 

This week I have been getting more immersed in the work of manager research at Redington. I have been to several investment manager meetings to develop some context in the space.  I have benefited from getting to know my fellow returners and the training about the firm and the industry has also been very helpful.

At home, my 5yr old asked me if the door to my office is as big as the door to his school.  It seems in his mind door size matters!

In general, things are going well – aside from forgetting about Show and Tell for my 3yr old.  But not to worry, Show and Tell Day is now forever in the iPhone diary, along with Monkey Music and Jedi Club, so we won’t forget again.

week-3.png End of Week 3: 16 Feb 2017

This week, at work, has been focused on building my knowledge of the illiquid credit world.  I have met with some of our preferred managers and have begun to outline the work plan with the team for our periodic review.

Additionally, I have started to research the asset-backed investing universe.  I haven’t focused on ABS since the credit crisis.  I can’t believe that almost a decade has past.    Yesterday, we met with an investment manager to get a better understanding of the evolution of the mortgage-backed securities market since the credit crisis.  What struck me is that then, as now, this area of investing involves the analysis of large amounts of data, only now these large data sets have a name: “Big Data.”  There are now more analytical tools and data available, but it is still about assessing the risk around the borrower’s ability and willingness to pay and the value of the home that backs the mortgage.

In terms of happenings on the home front, this past week was half term break from school.  What I thought would be tricky to organize, ended up being much less stressful for me.  It was a week without the daily grind of school runs and homework.  However, my 5yr old couldn’t quite get his head around why offices also don’t close at half term…that would be nice wouldn’t it!

My usual schedule during the term, since starting the Returnship, is completely structured from the 6am (if I am lucky) wake-up call from one of my three little boys through ‘til 8:30pm when I have finally got them all to sleep.

Before I leave the house to head to the office, work involves dressing, feeding and packing up school kit for the boys (4 of us, not forgetting about myself).  Luckily, most of the time, my husband can sort himself out! – to be fair he is the breakfast short order cook for all 5 of us.  The morning routine is now a well-oiled machine and can be sorted within 2 hours flat.

Even though my day in the office finishes between 3pm and 5pm on any given day, what I have found is that isn’t the end of my day in terms of responsibilities.  Right from the office I need to shoot off to the school gate and then get my 5yr old onto the bus while carrying all of his school kit and feeding him his snack along the way.  He is always ravenous!  Once on the bus, we waste no time at all and get his daily reading homework done on the ride home.

Then it is straight into the house where I am greeted by my excited 3yr old and baby.  They come bounding down the hall like puppy dogs.

The next task is to get the 3yr old to eat supper.  His brothers, for the most part, sit down and tuck in. However, my 3yr old usually runs around the table as a ninja or a tiger or even an aeroplane.  The only way to get the food into him is to perform an in-flight refuelling manoeuvre.

Right after supper, the battle to get the 5yr old to do the rest of his homework begins.  A race against the clock usually helps to get his homework engine started.  I set the oven timer and say ready, steady, go!  All through this, giving the baby his needed cuddles.

Then the bath and bedtime shenanigans begin.  Last night at bedtime, my 5yr old said, “Mummy, are you the Queen of Doom?”  I told him that if he and his brother didn’t stay in bed I would be.  And then I asked him if he thought I was.  He said, “No Mummy, you are the Queen of Happiness.”

Needless to say, comments like these make it all worth it.

week-4.png End of Week 4: 23 Feb 2017

This week my focus was on asset-back securities research and reconnecting with former colleagues.  Some of my new team at Redington met with the team that I worked with pre-credit crisis.

Despite having taken several years off to start a family, my network in financial services is still alive and well.

At home we had a watershed moment – my 15-month-old slept through the night for the first time in his little life.  This has changed everything for me, as Mummy is the only one who can settle any of my boys when they wake up in the night.  Long may his sleeping last.  However, I know I should relish it while it lasts because there will be illness, new teeth and growth spurts that will cause more sleepless nights.  But we have turned a corner.

week-5.png End of Week 5: 2 March 2017

We have reached the mid-point of the returnship.  Things in terms of work are humming along.  More investment manager meetings and more training.  During the program, the returners have met for lunch several times.  It has been quite good to be returning as part of a program.  We, Returners, as a group have supported each other through the process.  It has been nice to see this group being supportive of one another.

This week Rob and Dawid, the founders of Redington, and Mitesh, the CEO, hosted the Returners to a mid-point lunch.  That they took time out of their packed schedules means a lot to us.  From the conversation, I feel that they are fully committed to the returnship program and serious about increasing the number of experienced women in senior roles across the firm.

Whilst at home on Monday, my 3yr old was ill and needed to see the doctor.  Luckily, given my work schedule, I could take him to see the doctor in the afternoon without missing out on time in the office.  That was the easy part; getting him to take his medicine was the true challenge.  What I find now, being a mum of three, is that work challenges seem a lot less daunting and more manageable than the home challenges of getting the medicine down and the homework done.

week-6.png End of Week 6: 9 March 2017

Workwise, this week we had a training session on liability benchmarking.  This was organised by one of the returners because she read a note put out by the Asset Liability Modelling (ALM) team that she didn’t understand.  True to Redington’s culture, we quickly organised a training session with the ALM team.  Following that, I wanted to understand how what Manager Research does in Liability Driven Investment (LDI) complements what ALM does in liability benchmarking.  So, I asked my colleague in manager research, if he had 5 minutes.  He was eager to share his knowledge so 5 minutes quickly turned into a mini LDI training session.  That is only just one example of the collegial environment I have experienced here at Redington.

At home, this past weekend, my two older boys were home ill.  Now that I have gone back to work, we do our best to keep the boys healthy for the school week.  But on Monday morning at 7:30am I had to make a game time decision – no one was well enough to go to school. When our nanny arrived I broke the news, she would have three boys stuck in the house for a sick day.  Luckily, she is amazing and rolls with the punches.

I didn’t have to be at the school gate at 3:00pm but being able to come home to look after the boys in the early afternoon was good for everyone – especially our nanny.    We work as a team in our house – mum, dad and nanny.

While the day home with three ill boys turned out fine, our nanny was very happy to see the two older ones dressed and ready for school when she arrived the next day!


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Author: #RedingtonReturners

To maintain our diversity as the firm grows, we have partnered with The Return Hub to support people coming back to work after a career break by offering 'returnships'. Our first pilot scheme sees us working with five women who have taken time out of the City and joined us on a 10 week initiative, to ease the transition. During this time, our 'returners', mentors and other people across the business, have documented their expectations vs. reality of #RedingtonReturners.