young but dynamic

01 April 2008 - 02:00
By unknown

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

Rejane Woodroffe is only in her early 30s but is already playing a vital role in international investments. She has been in this profession for more than 10 years.

"I contribute to the Metropolitan Asset Managers' (MetAM) investment strategy decisions. This entails researching local and international economic and financial market indicators and trends," says Woodroffe, the chief economist and head of international investments at Metropolitan Asset Managers.

"I also head up the team that manages MetAM's international asset management exposure by making investment decisions on international equities, bonds and commodities."

She handles a portfolio of assets worth R6billion.

"This is very challenging because there is such a vast body of knowledge to keep up with but I work with a very competent team." she says.

Her clients are institutional pension and provident funds and financial consultants, who are sourced by the marketing team that manages MetAM relationships with potential and existing clients.

Demanding clients can also be a challenge but she has devised a method to deal with this issue.

"We have regular, quarterly documentation and presentations for our clients," she says.

"It is through these forums that clients are able to interact with the portfolio managers and understand the investment decisions that we are taking on their behalf.

"Clients are demanding if they do not understand the decisions that portfolio managers are taking regarding their funds. This can be mitigated with effective communication.

Her interest in this field started in the apartheid era.

"During the late 1980s, when I was at high school, I became very involved in the youth struggle movement against apartheid," she explains.

"While I was trying to understand the political and economic environment that was so oppressive to the majority of South Africans, I developed an interest in how best an economy should be structured for the benefit of the broader population.

"This encouraged me to study an economics and business science degree."

Woodroffe graduated with an honours degree in economics in 1997 and Master's in development Economics in 2005. She began working as a financial economist in 1998.

"I wasn't trained specifically for the position," she notes. "My development came from on-the-job training and experience. I completed the Chartered Financial Analyst programme through AIMR, which is a challenging and demanding qualification that you complete over three years.

It equips portfolio managers and financial analysts with the tools required to work in the portfolio management industry."

"It is critical to have working experience in investment banking, financial consulting or asset management industries," she says.

To succeed in this profession there are certain crucial skills required.

"It is important to have the ability to work in a very stressful and volatile environment. You should be a self-motivated person who needs little supervision and enjoys challengers.

"The ability to write and present well to large audiences is an advantage. Good computer and mathematical ability will also be an advantage."

Woodroffe says: "There is no typi-cal day in this job. Our days are dictated by financial market events and volatility.