Find out what it is like to work at Baillie Gifford from some of our employees.
Kate Fox, Investment Manager, European Equities team
I joined Baillie Gifford as an Investment Management graduate trainee 14 years ago. In those fourteen years I have worked in a handful of different regional teams as well as our global smaller companies department, the Global Discovery team. Analysing smaller companies is exciting – it is an opportunity to learn about entrepreneurial and innovative businesses which are often developing new products or services that will change their industries or create entirely new markets.
I currently work as an Investment Manager in the European Equities team, continuing my focus on smaller companies and contributing to the development of a new global sustainability-themed product. It is particularly interesting to work on something from scratch. The company is very dynamic, making changes to suit the needs of our clients; this also makes it an interesting place to work as our roles evolve and develop.
The two key aspects that have been constant contributors to my enjoyment of the role are the people and the variety. Baillie Gifford is an intellectual place –working with such high calibre people with a broad range of experiences, perspectives and personalities is both rewarding and challenging. The variety spans both my research agenda (from internet retailers to software providers to agricultural biotech businesses to niche industrials) and what my days entail (internal stock discussions, product development groups, meetings with company management teams, both in the office and at their HQs, and fund administration).
I have also enjoyed being involved in with a group looking at Diversity issues within our firm. I view this as important in the development of the firm generally and am pleased that the responsibility has extended beyond HR. The seriousness with which such issues are taken by the partners illustrates the emphasis they place in maintaining a supportive and dynamic culture here at Baillie Gifford.
Angela Buglass, Learning Consultant, Human Resources
It’s brilliant that right from the beginning here, I’ve always learnt new things and developed my role in a way that works for me.
Basically, I’ve grown up here. At 17, I was determined to leave school and earn money and my first steps into the real world were as an office junior. I have to say that Baillie Gifford didn’t mean anything to me when the recruitment agency put me forward but I quickly appreciated the culture here and how friendly everyone was – and afterwards how they looked after me as the youngest member of the team.
My first roles were as admin assistants and this kept me busy whilst my daughter was young, but I knew that I wanted more – more scope and more challenge. I was interested in HR and Learning & Development, Baillie Gifford was growing and I wanted to prove myself. A new admin role was created within the HR team which I was lucky enough to be offered. Because it was new, I was able to help develop it within the recently restructured department.
I am now one of the firm's Learning Consultants. I’ve been given lots of responsibility from sourcing training providers, to the design and delivery of our own in-house programmes; everything from people management and induction right through to team building and personality profiling. Our training provision is continually evolving into new areas such as learning technologies and coaching. I have lots of customers across the firm, taking a consultative approach and working with people from many different departments.
On a personal level, Baillie Gifford has sponsored me through a number of related qualifications and courses, including my Certificate in Personnel Practice from the CIPD, MBTI Accreditation and I am now also a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach . These were all intense periods of learning, from which I was immediately able to put new skills into practice. It’s nice to work somewhere you can voice your ideas and your advice is taken by managers. Our senior management view development as essential to our ongoing success, and I’m proud to be part of it as it grows throughout the business.
Anurag Agrawal, Team Leader, Information Systems
I was actually interviewed in Delhi for this role. I liked what I heard about Baillie Gifford and I knew immediately that this was what I wanted. The reality has certainly lived up to the expectation.
I joined Baillie Gifford in 1999 as an Application Developer in the Information Systems team. We’re developing new applications and processes to support growing business demands, so it’s a constantly evolving area. The department has grown quite a bit since I joined – we now have a large team of Application Developers, as well as project managers and business analysts. We also have a Technical Services team who maintain and develop our extensive IT estate. Increasingly, we’re recruiting people with a broad range of skills to meet the needs of the firm.
We have a flat hierarchy and development opportunities are there for the taking. Many people within the department have progressed into a Team Leader or technical lead role.
I’m really busy – there’s always so much to do. My role on projects is that of a solutions architect where I have matrix management responsibility for colleagues and projects. I am mainly looking at the design aspects of a project, but it’s a very hands on role. The role involves communicating across a variety of business areas. I am also part of a steering group which sets the overall direction of my current project and takes critical business decisions, including those relating to costs and timescales, for the project.
You have the opportunity to get involved in the full life cycle of a project. My current project is coming to an end now after 2 ½ years but projects can vary in both size and scale. Projects can touch on lots of different areas of the business which brings variety to the role. Training courses are continually provided to keep people up-to-speed with developing technologies and they tend to be driven by project needs.
It’s quite a challenge building solutions to meet internal client needs. You need to know the business, interact with people and learn about what they need from a system, so communication is very important. Baillie Gifford is quality-focused and user satisfaction is very important.
Julie Paul, Manager, North American Funds Operations Department
The ‘promise’ of Baillie Gifford is definitely real. There’s a huge emphasis on training here and I’ve been encouraged to progress my career from day one.
I joined Baillie Gifford in my teens and 20 years later, my career’s continuing to develop. In the early days, I provided admin support to a team of Client Administrators within the Client Administration Department, which is one of the largest with over 90 staff split into smaller specialist teams. While I was studying for the IAQ (now called the ‘Investment Operations Certificate’), I was promoted to the role of Client Administrator. I was growing in confidence all the time, and I had a good level of fund knowledge. When a Team Leader role came up, I applied and was successfully promoted again.
I would say that communication is a key feature that runs throughout the firm. For instance, there’s always one named point of contact for clients, which ensures continuity, often for many, many years. Communication is a key priority for Managers and Team Leaders, every month we meet up to review issues or to highlight what’s coming up. We also have weekly sectional meetings where we discuss things like capacity, workloads, projects and new clients.
You always feel valued, as if your opinion really matters. At the start of each year, the Head of Department formulates a business plan, everyone is asked to contribute and think of ways to make enhancements and develop the service both internally and externally.
In 2011, I moved into an Assistant Manager role within Overseas Client Accounting, basically to cover maternity leave and was delighted when the role was made permanent in 2012, in this role I helped oversee around 40 people and was involved in meeting some of our overseas clients and custodians, clients really like the fact that Baillie Gifford introduce their admin team and it is often highlighted as a differentiator.
In 2015, I moved into a slightly different role, managing our newly formed North American Funds Operations Department and I am really excited to be part of this evolving area of our business.
Michael Pye, Investment Analyst, US Equities Team
I spend a lot of time researching US companies which can involve travelling, meeting with management or engaging with competitors, customers and suppliers, to make recommendations to portfolio managers. There’s the chance to meet face-to-face with senior executives from established successful companies as well as innovative start-ups at an early stage in their development.
Coming from an arts background, this role really suits my skills and interests. It’s mostly about research, analysis and presenting, not number crunching on spreadsheets. I think of it like an investigator’s job or active research like journalism. You’re looking to add insight on a company’s prospects by using your imagination and spotting opportunities early.
I’m not going to pretend it’s all been easy but there’s always someone to answer my questions or give me advice and guidance when I need it. And despite the wide variety of backgrounds, the people here are like-minded and very sociable.
I appreciate the straightforward approach to selection: right from my first interview, it was apparent that this was a different kind of company. I was pleasantly surprised that there isn’t the standard assessment centre with a battery of pointless tests like so many other graduate recruitment processes.
I love the quality of life here in Edinburgh and I do make the most of the vibrant arts and music scene. The ten minute walk to work and having the Highlands on my doorstep more than compensate for the occasionally ‘dreich’ weather!
Stewart Hogg, Client Service Manager, Clients Department
To be working at a highly regarded firm, in a role I find enjoyable and challenging, is the best of both worlds.
Looking back, it probably started with playing sport when I was younger, where I always wanted to learn and improve. Then, when I was at university, I realised that I wanted a job that would give me the scope to do that. So I continued to study for an MSc in Economics at Edinburgh University with the end goal of finding a career I’d enjoy. Throughout this time, I picked up repeatedly from friends, careers research and presentations that Baillie Gifford had an excellent reputation and was an employer of choice.
When I was close to finishing my MSc, I applied for an Investment Accountant role in the Client Administration department and my application was successful. This was a great entry point into the firm and I focused on continuing to develop through taking industry exams such as the IOC, IMC & CFA.
It was a deadline-driven environment with lots of problem solving and after three years I was ready for a different challenge. I was interested in moving into a client-facing role so I applied for the Trainee Client Service Manager position and was successful in my application. The role involves developing and building your investment knowledge, as well as learning about the stocks in the portfolio and understanding how Baillie Gifford invests as a firm. This helps you to talk knowledgably about the issues facing our clients and be able to cater to their day-to-day needs.
I continue my professional development through attending company meetings, industry conferences and reading more widely. The support you get from the firm to improve in your role is incredible which is down to their belief in investing in their employees. You are given a lot of responsibility early on as well but at the same time you always have the support from other colleagues if you need it. In the role you work with people across all levels of the firm on a day-to-day basis so every day is different.
I was fortunate to meet the CEO of a global company within the first few months of starting my role, and have now travelled the majority of the US when going out to see clients. For me, one of the best aspects about the role was the sound training I received. The initial training programme was very thorough; it helped me to learn about how we provide excellent service to our clients, as well as understanding how the investors make their investment decisions. This allowed me to build on my knowledge of Baillie Gifford and to perform well in the role quickly.