Business Wisdom From Eimear Moloney Of Zurich Life Assurance

Business wisdom from the desk of … EIMEAR MOLONEY Associate Director of Equities,
ZURICH LIFE ASSURANCE PLC

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Having qualified as a Chartered Accountant, Eimear Moloney did the almost obligatory backpacking trip around Australia for a year. Upon her return, she joined Zurich as an Investment Accountant in 1997 before moving to a position in the Investment Dealing Department in 2001. She initially started as an equity analyst and progressed over the years to her current role as Senior Fund Manager.

Describe your role:

I have two roles, the first being the management of our Irish equities portfolio. I am also a senior member of the asset allocation team, which determines what we invest in, whether bonds, cash or alternatives, and in which region. We start early, at about 7.15am, and work until the US market closes at about 6.30pm Irish time.

Your company’s business priorities for 2016?

We want to engage with our clients more and meet the needs of the market. It’s our priority to be a provider of choice for both customers and distributors in Ireland.

Highlights and challenges during your tenure?

Having to constantly deal with new information often requires decisive action, particularly when markets are volatile. While this can cause pressure, it has also made my career so far remarkably interesting and challenging.

Did anything in your early life experience or family background influence your journey to
your current role?

My parents were both primary school teachers who instilled a passion for learning and self-belief in me. They were huge advocates of studying hard, which definitely played a part in my career path, and I’ve always had an interest in economics and financial markets.

An accomplishment you are proud of?

I’m very proud of the overall performance of our pension funds, and my own development and progression at Zurich. Outside work, I am very involved in an Irish-based charity, Cara Projects (www.caraprojects.com), which has built and operates a girl’s rescue centre in Kenya. The remarkable work that has been achieved and the difference it makes to the lives of these amazing children makes the work so worthwhile.

How do you approach difficult situations?

Stock markets can go through phases of being highly volatile so it is very important that I am level-headed, pragmatic and decisive in my role, as these are traits that help counteract the uncertainty. Having a great team of colleagues around me to listen, engage and support me in the decision-making process definitely helps.

Which is the most useful way to engage clients or suppliers?

Conference calls, monthly briefings and webinars are all tools we use to relay information to a wide audience. I am often addressing up to 400 people at a time.

What keeps you awake at night?

Not much, unless I find a very good series on Netflix. When I feel stressed, I find art classes and long walks very therapeutic as they help me switch off.

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?

Being organised the night before ensures that I can be out the door in 20 minutes.

What is one characteristic a business leader should possess?

The ability to communicate effectively, in order to bring people along with their vision.

Three pieces of advice you might give to women who aspire to be in leadership roles?

Believe in yourself and your ability to succeed. Listen, be open and learn from others who inspire you. Value people and the relationships you hold with them. 

THE WAY I DO BUSINESS

1. STRONG POINTS: I am decisive and a good communicator. Both are vital traits when working in stock markets.

2. WEAKNESSES: I always strive for excellence, sometimes expecting too much of myself and my peers.

3. WORK/LIFE BALANCE balance: For me, a good balance is when I can split my professional, social and personal commitments and feel fulfilled in each.

4. LOOKING THE BUSINESS: I typically wear a dress with a jacket or a trouser suit in the office. If you don’t feel your best, you won’t perform at your best. Shoes are my weakness.

5. PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE: Working in finance, I’ve had a pension from an early age, and I am aware of all the financial products, which allows me to make an informed choice. 

Eimear Moloney was photographed at Blackrock Library. Membership of Blackrock Library offers free access to all public libraries in Dublin and their virtual services, including downloadable e-books and audio-books, international newspapers and on-line education.

Blackrock Library hosts a diverse programme of free events for all age groups, from Yoga Storytime for children to computer classes for adults. For more information contact 01-2888117 or see http://libraries.dlrcoco.ie

This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this, don’t miss our May issue, out Thursday May 5.

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