Careers in Financial Services

Posted: 13th Jan 2021

Officers in Financial Services

Matthew Raeside and Katie Lavin joined UBS Investment Bank in 2019 on the inaugural Ex-Forces Associate Programme (EFAP).  One year on, we catch up with them to find out how they have found the transition to a career in finance…




Katie, what has stood out to you in your first year at UBS?

There are quite a few similarities to your first year in the military where language was the largest barrier to cross.  There are just as many (if not more)TLA’s to navigate but, in the same way as you adapt at the start of your military career, you soon became conversant in the language of finance – although I still wouldn’t consider myself fluent.

Luckily, we were well supported by UBS who gave us the time and the training to allow us to complete relevant courses and gain qualifications that provide a solid foundation for our careers going forward.

What has been the biggest challenge?

I’d predicted a steep learning curve in my first year but, like most, hadn’t even considered the possibility of a global pandemic.  In what has been an undeniably challenging year for all, I’ve felt my military experiences were invaluable.  The old Sandhurst adage ‘adapt and overcome’ was used frequently as we transitioned to working remotely.  Having stretched lines of communication was a familiar challenge, and was much easier to overcome with 5G and Skype rather than Bowman Radio.



Matt, how has your first year on EFAP been?

Amazing! Remarkably, my EFAP experience remained largely unchanged from the initial programme. I conducted placements at UBS Investment Bank within Cash Equities, Financing Sales and Principal Investments (with the transition to remote working happening towards the end of the second rotation). I have been fortunate to secure a role in the Investment Bank’s Principal Investments team following completion of the scheme- which stood out to me due to its alignment with the firm’s Digital Transformation initiatives and strong culture of innovation.

Has your military experience helped you to navigate your first year?

I have spent the year grateful for many military skills which I developed during my time in the Navy. Chief amongst these have been adaptability and cheerful resilience: two keys skills that anybody who has ever deployed for a long length of time will have developed. My closest comparison to 9 months working remotely is that of a 9 month deployment on a ship – lots of work to be done, an established daily routine and few chances to get out and explore. But like any deployment, the key to navigating the pandemic has been the people surrounding us. Frequent check-ins and virtual meetings have kept me and Katie enthusiastic and eager to learn our new trades.

What has surprised you abut your new career?

Katie and I have been overwhelmed by the ex-military support that exists within the firm, despite the infancy of a formal scheme in the UK. We have had colleagues reach out to us from the US and India, where ex-military recruitment is a well-oiled machine, but also from our own Veteran’s Network in UBS UK. Events including film screenings, guest speakers and fitness challenges have kept the Network engaged and it’s been great to meet people with similar backgrounds.



UBS will be hosting a Webinar on 27th Jan 2020- where they’ll give you a snapshot of what it’s like to work in banking, and pass on their experiences of making the transition.

Please register your interest for the insight day:

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