Life at Baillie Gifford

Case study: Tom Fenton

Investment Manager, LGBT+ Network Confidential Supporter

Tom Fenton stood in the Baillie Gifford office clutching a notepad.

You helped set up the LGBT+ Network and support its growth. Why do you believe networks have such a positive impact?

People should be able to bring their whole self to work. We have members who are ‘out’ at work but not able to be ‘out’ at home. I’ve been involved in the network since the beginning, and I’ve seen positive changes in how confident members have become. I met two of my closest friends at work, whom I probably otherwise wouldn’t have come into contact with, and we go climbing every week. I also met two senior people, one on the investment floor and the other in the clients department, who I see as mentors thanks to the network.

What type of activities are on offer? Is there a minimum time commitment required?

The time commitment is up to you – you can do as little or as much as you want! The range of activities varies – from organising and attending internal or external events to liaising with HR on company policy to joining external diversity and inclusion workshops. We also have a confidential support network.

Can you name a career highlight so far during your time with the firm?

In 2023 I travelled to India for two weeks meeting 24 companies in seven states as well as a couple of local investors. I had time to explore the cities we visited, and I was able to gain a better understanding of the country.

What is a typical day in an investor’s life?

It changes every day. I went on a trip to Australia which consisted of meeting companies, writing up my notes, flying between cities and getting to see the country in my spare time. I was in Portugal at an investor networking event. One of the biggest differences between senior investors here and elsewhere is that, at Bailie Gifford, investors spend much more time listening; investors elsewhere like to talk at you. When I’m in the office, most days are spent researching companies, preparing for stock discussions, meeting management teams and mentoring.

I’m interested in finance but have no formal education in this area, can I still join the Investments team at Baillie Gifford?

Of course – I had no formal education in ‘investment’ whatsoever. That can be a good thing. You just need a passion for continued learning and an understanding of why you want to work in investment in Edinburgh.

How have you overcome any challenges you’ve faced in your role?

I’m dyslexic, so there are some day-to-day things that I struggle with. For example, I’m a slower reader than the average investor here. My manager underwent some training, and I received some equipment to help me.

As an investor, you take some compulsory exams. How did you accommodate studying with a busy schedule?

It depends on the exam. The CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst exam) takes a lot of time. However, you have a lot of support from work such as training and paid leave. In addition, because you work roughly 9-5, you’re in a much better place to study and maintain a life outside of work than most other people taking the exam.

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