“Strive to be the best at what you do”, says Paola Roca, Mizuho International’s Executive Director in Fixed Income Sales.
Paola works on the trading floor, supporting clients with market research and executing trades. “Fixed Income is the area of financial markets within an investment bank that covers interest rate products such as bonds, interest rate derivatives and money market products” explains Paola. She and her team provide market research and ideas to financial institutions such as banks and asset managers - including insurance companies, traditional mutual funds and hedge funds.
“My role is to deliver our product offering to clients, providing the best market information and market research. I’m responsible for building relationships with clients by being perceptive, understanding their requirements and swiftly adapting to changing market conditions.” Paola finds her job very rewarding and has always enjoyed working on the trading floor. “I like to make quick decisions, identify opportunities and respond to change.”
Paola is passionate about her role and has always worked on trading floors. She acknowledges it is still predominantly a male dominated environment and that she is in a minority as a woman working in sales for an investment bank. “It’s a tough reality as the demands are certainly intense but it’s a fascinating environment to work in. You have to work hard, be resilient, and always be ready to be challenged.” It’s these very qualities that attracted her to the profession right from the start of her career. “I love working with smart people from different cultural and academic backgrounds. I thrive on working in a fast-paced, dynamic environment where there are always opportunities to learn new things.”
Paola explains that her career progression has been influenced by her ability to be flexible and embrace new learning opportunities. “When I started at Mizuho, I took on hedge fund clients even though I’d never worked with them before. Those who succeed in this environment are people who push themselves out of their comfort zone.” Paola also believes that it is very important to show humility and to recognise both the volatility and the fragility of this working environment. “There are many unpredictable elements to this role and you’re not always in control. It’s the ability to deal with that unpredictability that can set you apart.”
Paola has forged a long and successful career in sales and hopes to continue her progression with Mizuho. “Mizuho is expanding and growing in a sector where many of our competitors are shrinking.”
Initially graduating with a first class Economics degree in Italy, Paola moved to the UK on an internship programme and previously worked on the trading floor for institutions like Lehman Brothers and Barclays. Having worked in culturally diverse institutions throughout her career, Paola values the importance of understanding different ways of doing business globally. ”Understanding diversity is a key success factor in my opinion because we’re dealing with clients who have a global presence as well as colleagues from different backgrounds. One size does not fit all in our business and you need to be prepared to adapt and change”, says Paola.
Mizuho offers significant opportunities for career progression due to its size and inclusive culture. “I believe Mizuho has a cohesive environment and is very focussed on supporting people’s professional development”.
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