Day in the life, Karl Maguire, investment settlements services, State Street
Karl Maguire works in the Investment Settlements Services team at State Street. He joined the firm’s Dublin office at associate II level earlier this year, having previously been an intern in the same team while studying for a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Maynooth University. He has almost completed a MSc in Finance at Dublin City University.
6.30am. I wake up. If I’m not heading into the office, I hit the gym or go for a swim. On office days I take the 7.30am bus into Dublin city centre.
8.15am. I arrive in the office and grab breakfast in the staff canteen. As a relatively new joiner, this is a good time to introduce myself and get to know new people in other teams over a coffee.
8.40am. I log in slightly early and check emails. I also review handover notes from our Toronto and Hong Kong settlements teams to get a good understanding of the day’s work when work officially starts at 9am.
9am. This is a period for pure organisation for my team, working closely with our State Street Syntel operations unit in Mumbai. They run analytics to help plan our day, and inform us what trades need to be settled and when. If we have a load of euro and US dollar trades, we prioritise the euro ones first as they have an earlier currency cut-off time. As settlements agents, my team helps in the final step for our clients to receive or make payments. These trades all need to happen before the currency cut-offs, otherwise they can’t be executed on the same day.
9.30am. I have a few meetings, often with other teams, in which we discuss how to settle complex transactions involving our more high-profile clients. This is the most enjoyable part of the day because interesting new challenges always crop up and I get to talk to senior management across the firm.
11am. My team helps clients receive their money, transactions, and investments in the time they request. If anything arrives late – after the cut-off – interest rates and bank charges can be high, so the client won’t be happy. That’s why I spend this hour planning: getting on top of interest rates and making sure there won’t be any unnecessary charges to the clients I oversee. This can be complex as State Street has many clients across many countries and currencies, and we also deal with different banks charging different interest rates.
12pm. I take lunch, usually for an hour if I’m at home. I took up cooking as a hobby during lockdown, so I rustle up something from scratch, which also helps me to recharge and refocus for a busy afternoon ahead. When in the office, I enjoy the social side, so I go for lunch with my team in the canteen or in the city centre.
1pm. This is my busiest time as I move from planning to actually executing settlements. With cut-offs approaching, my priority is settling money-market trades, especially in euros, but also in other currencies like GBP. We have clients who need transactions done by 3pm, and different banks and currencies have different cut-offs. We handle transactions worth millions of euros, so if any issues crop up (for example, the client hasn’t confirmed the exact payment amount) I get on the phone to other State Street teams to resolve them ASAP. Once each trade is settled, I analyse it to make sure it’s gone through ok, and then I move on to the next client.
3.30pm. Now that some of the important cut-offs have past, I liaise with our team in Luxembourg about the trading needs of one high-profile client of mine.
4pm: It’s US-dollar time for American clients. Sometimes I get requests for payment, but the client hasn’t funded the account yet because it’s still fairly early in New York. I ask colleagues to remind the client, but if the funds don’t arrive within Dublin working hours, things will be handed over to our Toronto settlements team.
5pm. My team in Dublin has a meeting with the Mumbai team to do end-of-day checks. We confirm the success of the transactions we’ve done and identify any issues within a hand-over report for Toronto, so they can start their day smoothly.
5.30pm. The work day usually ends for me, unless there are late requests from the US. While my job can be pressurised at times, my days fly by as I’ve got such a supportive team. I put on my headphones and listen to a podcast on the way home.
6.30pm. Some evenings I have Gaelic football training. The sport requires a lot of dedication, so it keeps me fit, off the sofa, and ready for the next day!
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