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60 Seconds with Joanne MacDonald of IQ-EQ

Joanne McDonald tells us about her career.

Wednesday 8 June 2022

60 Seconds with Joanne MacDonald of IQ-EQ Tell us about your role and your organisation.
As Regional Chief Risk Officer, I coordinate and consolidate regional risk and compliance information and drive the successful execution of the region’s business strategy through the delivery of an integrated risk and compliance culture and programme.
IQ-EQ is a leading investor services group that brings together a rare combination of technical expertise and deep understanding of client needs. With over 4000 people across 24 locations, we provide an extensive range of administration, compliance, asset and advisory services to fund managers, multinational companies, private clients and family offices operating worldwide. We act as a trusted partner to our clients, helping them to invest and preserve their capital in a sustainable and compliant manner.
Give us a brief overview of your career journey so far. 
Prior to joining IQ-EQ, I was a Risk & Control Manager at Ulster Bank. I spent almost 11 years there, joining straight from university. Working in the bank gave me a wide range of experience spanning back-office process management, incident management, outsourcing, MI and reporting – alongside risk and compliance management. It was the diversity of opportunities in the financial services sector that attracted me initially and in my move from banking to investor services I have seen an even more diverse side to financial services.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Excellence, Integrity, Inclusion
What is one skill that helps you most in your role? 
That’s a difficult one. I’d say that the key skill for this role is influencing. To be successful in risk and compliance management it is crucial to bring others along the journey with you.
What advice do you have for women in your sector?
Find your power and believe in it. We are all different and each of us has our own power. Don’t be afraid to try something different, even if it scares you. Especially if it scares you! We discover our true grit through adversity.
Are there any exciting plans in the year ahead in your organisation that you can share with us?
There’s always lots going on at IQ-EQ! We continually innovate to meet our clients’ evolving needs, so you can expect new service offerings to roll out as the year progresses. One recent launch was IQ-EQ Launchpad, which aims to rebalance the prevailing gender imbalance in the global asset management industry by providing preferential service terms and tailored support for women launching their first fund. It was only unveiled in November but interest and uptake has already been significant.
In terms of business growth, IQ-EQ has expanded significantly in recent years through a mix of organic and acquisition-led growth. This will continue in 2022 and beyond as the group enters the next phase of its strategic vision – and the UK and Ireland will have a key role to play. In Northern Ireland, our Belfast office already employs a highly qualified team of 150 specialists providing a range of fund administration and accounting services to clients, primarily in the private equity sector. IQ-EQ has firm growth plans for our Belfast operation, owing to the calibre of talent here.
Who has been your biggest career inspiration and why? 
Oh, this is a difficult one. I’ve had many role models throughout my life, personally and professionally. One of my biggest overall inspirations is Michelle Obama. The poise and grace she shows, how hard she works, and the changes she has brought to this world will have lasting effects for generations. As for my career, although I have had many great managers and mentors, I would have to say that my parents would be my biggest inspiration. Both were raised in the Troubles era, from very working-class backgrounds. They worked hard for everything we had. They prized education, not just for my sister and me, but for themselves. After completing his electrical apprenticeship in the shipyard, my dad moved to Shorts and, while there, with two young kids in tow, he got his degree. The first in his family to have done so. Both my parents took GCSEs and A-Levels as adults, just a year or two before I took my own exams. They showed me that your education is your future; you can never stop learning and changing that future.
If you had to pick your soundtrack song to get you through the working day, what would it be? 
It has to be Bon Jovi – ‘It’s My Life’.
What's your favourite break-time snack? 
I’m sure I’m supposed to put something healthy here, but you really can’t beat a bit of chocolate for a snack!
How can your fellow WIB members keep up to date with you and your organisation?
You can find me on LinkedIn here and find out more about IQ-EQ here.

Author Joanne MacDonald

Wednesday 8 June 2022

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