Rachel Finlayson


I read Rachel’s responses on her interview questions feeling a deep sense of satisfaction - we are on the right track at Northstar - we are passionate investors, we are always learning, we are humble and most importantly, we place our clients at the centre of our efforts. My final word on Rachel is that you will ascertain from the interview that her passion is numbers, she is our quantitative analyst in our firm and consequently, I have left her answers in bullet point as it talks to the structure of her mind.

When did your interest in financial markets start?

  • I was a late bloomer with regards to investing – this developed while I was at varsity.
  • I am driven by learning. Listening to friends that were studying financial degrees made me realise that there was a lot I didn’t know – this peaked my interest.

What did you study and why?

  • BSc Chemical Engineering at UCT.
  • My strengths at school were Mathematics and Science.
  • I enjoy problem solving and puzzles – chemical engineering is known to enhance these skills.
  • I knew that my degree was not limiting and would allow me to follow different career paths – after completing my degree I realised that I did not want to be an engineer.
  • While at Northstar I have completed all three levels of the CFA program and am currently completing the required work experience.

What do you think equips you to do this job properly?

  • My eagerness to learn and develop.
  • My problem solving skills.
  • My affinity for numbers.
  • My academic qualifications gives me a different perspective to most of the other team members – its added diversity to our thinking processes.

What do you love about investing?

  • The fact the industry and markets are dynamic – no day is the same.
  • The breadth of my role in quantitative analysis for Northstar is literally infinite.
  • Boredom is never an option – learning is perpetual.

What do you find the most challenging part of your role?

  • I am the only quants analyst at Northstar, the rest of the team are fundamental research analysts – this means I’m busy and in demand from the portfolio managers. Time management is critical to be highly effective.
  • I must add, being in demand exposes me to all our portfolio managers – I consider this a real advantage as I learn from each of them.

Why do you think clients will do well at Northstar?

  • Northstar has family values, which encourages everyone to work as a team for the benefit of the company rather than for individual wealth. This is important – we have seen in the market this year what greed does to various other listed companies and asset managers.
  • Our clients come first, again embedding the values for a successful company without greed.
  • We all share a real passion for investing.