Nina Jamieson is a senior associate at the Financial Conduct Authority, who studied law at Brunel University in London and then began her career journey volunteering as a gateway advisor at her local Citizen’s Advice Bureau. She then joined a high street bank, working part time as a customer service advisor, before becoming an adjudicator for the Financial Ombudsman Service. Nina recently moved over to the Financial Conduct Authority, where she is a senior associate, and alongside this she’s qualified as a life coach.
“Everyone offers different perspectives and so bringing multiple viewpoints to the table and ensuring their voices are heard can achieve great results. It’s important for individuals to be encouraged speak up, and to create a space where everyone feels heard and valued.”
When I set my mind to something I don’t let anything hold me back
I followed a conventional path, gaining 11 GCSEs (A-Cs), 3 A-levels (A-C) and I went onto study law at Brunel University and obtained a 2:1. I fell pregnant in my second year, which was unplanned, and had my daughter (who is now 14) at the end of my second year. It was a really tough time for me, managing tiredness and sickness whilst keeping up with my studies as well as attending hospital appointments.
I remember having to drive the two-hour journey to and from university (sometimes longer in traffic). It was extremely tiring being on the road for four to five hours every day, but I persevered and didn’t let my situation hold me back. I also had a part time weekend job. I’m not sure how I did it to be honest, but when I set my mind to something I don’t let anything hold me back.
I managed to complete and pass my second year and then I decided to take a year out so I could look after my daughter. Returning to university wasn’t easy, I was enjoying my time off with my daughter, watching her grow and develop and I felt guilty having to put her into nursery so young. I was also a single mother with little support, but it was important for me to complete my studies.
I put my daughter in a local nursery and remember having to drop her off at 7am every morning then make the two-hour journey to university, then leave with enough time (factoring in traffic) to make it back by 6pm pick up. I would then spend a few hours with my daughter in the evening, put her to bed then study. These were probably the most challenging times of my life, but it was all worth it and through hard work and dedication I am pleased to have achieved a 2:1.
Discovering careers in financial services
After university I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to start working and I needed to start making money. With little experience, I took a voluntary position as a gateway assessor at my local Citizen’s Advice Bureau, helping the community on a wide range of issues including housing, benefits and money matters. This was really rewarding and a good way to give back whilst getting experience. I also got a part time job as a customer service advisor in a high street bank.
I then came across a role at the Financial Ombudsman Service as a PPI [payment protection insurance] adjudicator. I went on to become an investigator investigating a wide range of financial complaints including banking, insurance and specialising in consumer credit complaints, getting promoted through the grades before securing a senior investigator position. As a senior investigator, I managed teams, coached and mentored investigators, supported recruitment and trained new starters, led key improvement projects and investigated complex consumer credit complaints.
I got a lot of experience at the Financial Ombudsman Service and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, but after ten years I decided it was time for a change. I decided to stay within the regulatory family and got my job as a senior associate at the Financial Conduct Authority, where I have been for six months now.
Making a real difference to all our lives
In my role as a senior associate at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) I supervise the conduct of retail banks. This involves reviewing firms’ business models, strategy and culture to identify and mitigate the risk of harm to consumers and the market.
I regularly engage with senior management of firms and influence them to deliver better customer outcomes, including discussions regarding the culture, business model, governance and systems and controls within their firms.
Financial services play a critical role in the lives of everyone in the UK, from junior ISAs [individual savings accounts] to pensions, direct debits, credit cards, loans and investments. How well financial markets work has a fundamental impact on us all. My role can be complex and fast-paced but I thrive on the challenge and variety and the exposure to a wide range of interesting work that makes a real difference.
Women supporting women
In addition to my day job at the Financial Ombudsman Service I sat on the women’s network committee, as well as having the role of a well-being lead. For a short time before I left the service I also stepped up to co-chair the network with two other amazing women.
The women’s network is one of the service’s employee-led networks and does fantastic work to raise awareness of issues affecting women in the workplace, encourage and champion women, motivate and support career development and promote well-being and a safe and inclusive place to work.
Whilst on the network I was involved in a number of great pieces of work. I wrote well-being articles in the network’s monthly newsletter inspired by Brené Brown’s guideposts to wholehearted living. I helped plan and host events throughout the year and for International Women’s Day.
⚡ Let’s get ready for an impactful #InternationalWomensDay 2023 as we step forward with a campaign theme of #EmbraceEquity. Collectively, we can all play an important role in forging an equal world 👉🏽 https://t.co/QaNZtd0I4M #IWD2023 #IWDtheme pic.twitter.com/w6y9QmLO2k
— Women’s Day (@womensday) January 6, 2023
One thing I’m most proud of is that I worked on building and rolling out a menopause strategy, raising awareness about menopause and the impact it has on women in the workplace, and offering effective support to those impacted. This included hosting a panel event on the subject, arranging educational sofa sessions for both men and women to learn and ask questions, creating a community to network and share lived experiences in a safe and open environment, and worked closely with HR to review the menopause guidelines.
I am proud to have been highly commended for my work and nominated for the Juliana Francis award, which the Financial Ombudsman service set up in the name of Juliana Francis, a colleague who we sadly lost, who had been head of inclusion and wellbeing. Juliana was a driving force behind embedding inclusivity across the organisation and a wonderful role model who inspired many people, so this award meant all the more to me as it was part of her incredible legacy.
Elevating multi-ethnic women
Elevate is one of the Financial Conduct Authority’s employee-led networks that does some amazing work to support multi-ethnic women. Elevate recognises the challenges for women of different ethnicities in the workplace, providing a safe space to connect and empowering them to reach their full potential.
At a recent event a senior colleague gave an inspiring talk on her career journey, shared some great strategies and tips for overcoming challenges in the workplace, and also about getting your voice heard. It was a great event to connect with colleagues, discuss some of the challenges faced and hear about the work the network has planned to support colleagues in this space. Some of the topics discussed included confidence to speak up and have your voice heard, career development and the importance of mentorship.
I enjoy attending these kinds of events as I always find them really inspiring and a great opportunity to connect with others.
Bringing together individuals from different backgrounds, cultures and personalities to share ideas and thoughts
Although I’m not a diversity, equity and inclusion expert, I have some personal reflections around this space. Bringing together individuals from different backgrounds, cultures and personalities to share their ideas and thoughts is critical to an inclusive culture.
Everyone offers different perspectives and so bringing multiple viewpoints to the table and ensuring their voices are heard can achieve great results. It’s important for individuals to be encouraged speak up, and to create a space where everyone feels heard and valued. This is significant for decision-making.
Qualifying as a life coach
About 18 months ago, I decided to diversify my career and train to be a life coach because I love to help people and I find great joy in contributing to others. People always come to me with their problems and I enjoy supporting people through whatever is holding them back.
I have coached and mentored for many years in my day job and decided to get a formal qualification. I have recently completed my studies and I am waiting to receive my certificate.
Completing this course whilst working full time, raising a teenager and managing everything that life throws at you has certainly been challenging. The course was quite extensive and is the first time I’ve completed an online course. You have to work hard to stay motivated but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt so much about myself in the process.
I’ve met and worked with some wonderful coaches (and benefitted from being coached myself – which helped me change careers), as well as coaching a number of amazing women, for which I’ve received some lovely feedback.
Smashing goals without bias or barriers
Now that I have completed my studies, I am looking forward to working with many more amazing women in different areas of their lives. I am particularly interested in supporting women and mothers create a life of purpose and fulfilment and thrive in their careers.
Supporting women overcome challenges in the workplace like confidence, self-doubt and imposter syndrome and empowering women to reach their full potential.
I love to see women thrive and anything I can do to support is extremely rewarding. I am looking forward to building my business and supporting many more amazing women smash their goals without bias or barriers.