Life In Lockdown – Ben Keogh

Ben Keogh

I am a Service Delivery Consultant, based in London. My role entails a range of responsibilities, including (but not limited to) first-line support of our products, (“pseudo”) understanding of code, data analysis etc., as well as project management and the delivery and implementation of our software to client environments. Essentially, I am responsible for troubleshooting and resolving issues encountered by our clients and working with both the client and internal departments to ensure they’re pushed through to resolution. It is a fulfilling role as no day tends to be the same and it allows me to gain broader knowledge of our products and the industry in which we operate.

 How long have you been at FinoComp, and what made you want to join? 

I have recently passed my third year here at FinoComp. Having heard about FinoComp, I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of the business. They were (and still are) an innovative business with a great ethos and direction, making noise and movement in the industry. I also liked the fact that it was smaller company which enabled me to develop strong relationships with the people around me and get to grips with the inner workings of the business which is perhaps less easy to achieve when  part of a bigger company.

How has lockdown been for you? How has it impacted your day-to-day work and interaction with you FinoComp colleagues both in the UK and Australia?  

I think the lockdowns have been challenging for everyone, but I count myself one of the lucky ones. I have a job, and one that I enjoy. I worked from home for the most part prior to the pandemic, so I’m relatively used to it. Personally I find working from home to be more efficient – I can start earlier and finish later if needed; there are less distractions; and you can avoid the “space invaders” on the crowded commutes. However, for me, there is a fine line between “working from home” and “living at work” so you need to ensure you draw a line and separate the two, pack up your makeshift office at the end of the day, and get out of the house. Walking and cycling have played a big part in maintaining my sanity during this time!

As weird as it might sound, there is a global commonality that has come from the pandemic and people tend to check in more than before. We are all in similar boats right now and as a result, I think it has actually enhanced some of my work relationships, especially with my antipodean colleagues.

 As we emerge from Lockdown is there anything about the changes that have been implemented that you would like to see remain?  What are you glad to see go?

There is a general consensus that working from home has been a positive shift for a lot of people. Perhaps selfishly I would like to see this stay, although perhaps not full time as it can be good to have some face-to-face interaction with your colleagues and clients every once in a while!

I will be glad to see the back of travel restrictions and social distancing. A lot of my friends and family are outside of London. As much as I love being in London, it will be good to get out and visit people that I haven’t seen for a long time.

What are you most excited to do once Lockdown is lifted?  I am looking forward to seeing and hugging my family and friends. I can’t wait to go on holiday and maybe most importantly, have a beer inside a pub!

Life in Lockdown: The New Starter

Meet Cornelis, our new starter who joined us in April.

Cornelis was lucky enough to get on a plane before all the borders were shut, to arrive in Australia and join the FinoComp team. Not only was this a new job for Cornelis, but a new country for both him and his family; all in the midst of a global pandemic lockdown.

So with lockdown in place, and being our first employee to go through our virtual on-boarding experience, we caught up with Cornelis to find out more about him…

Tell us about your experience of joining a new business as well as moving continents whilst the world was in lockdown?

As a family we had decided to make the move from South Africa to Australia over a year ago and the plan had been set for September 2019. Once the FinoComp interviews were complete, the offer accepted and all processes were sorted out we had to move quickly. Whilst the lockdown was not yet in place, people were aware of COVID and flights were beginning to be grounded. The travel process was actually seamless – travelling through an empty airport with our temperature being checked regularly, until we arrived and were shuttled to our Airbnb. We were one of the last flights to arrive, as the next day quarantine was introduced across the country!
The time spent in self isolation went quickly and friends bought us starter packs and that took us through a week or so until our online order arrived.
The process of joining FinoComp was amazing and all done remotely, with the only thing having to do was delivering my Macbook which was all set up ready for me to start. Within the first week I had remote sessions and calls, and I couldn’t think of a better way to be introduced to the business as each person explained their position and I was able to put names to faces. I was also introduced to the development team, familiarising myself with the environment and how projects works – it’s crazy to believe that I haven’t been into the office yet as I really feel part of the team already!

What was it about FinoComp that inspired you to become part of the team?

My first impression of FinoComp was that it was a real people centric company.  I immediately had the feeling that put their employees first and that was just the company culture I was looking for.  I had seen the video promoting the work/life balance and now being part of the team, I’m delighted that this new environment I’ve found myself in was just as I had hoped. People really do enjoy their work at FinoComp.
FinoComp uses Agile teams in software development with a huge emphasis placed on this.
Exercises classes are offered virtually twice a week if we wish, and whilst this is not something that would make me join the company, it definitely shows their work/life ethos and feels relaxed. It’s such a great place to be in with a lively open business culture.
From a developer side, they use a lot of the tools that I’m interested in, and I like the agile process that they use with small teams of five to eight people, prioritising tickets. For me, this is such a productive method of working.

What does the role “Full Stack Developer” involve and how does Software Engineering as a degree prepare you for this?

In the software world, the front end, normally a website, which is the user interface is connected to a backend server with code running to either the business or the cloud.  This in turn is connected to a datebase.  A full stack developer means experience in all three environments and was something I was always interested in. I like problem solving which is why Software Engineering was the ideal degree.   This degree I felt was not so much about what you learn, but how you approach and solve problems, which I believe is what engineering teaches you. It speaks for itself that in this job the background of being an engineer will help you to identify and solve problems.

What are some of the projects you have been involved with at FinoComp and how do you feel they will help shape the technology landscape in the investment management sector?

I have been involved in working on the Charge Definition micro-service, which is a service that defines how clients can be charged and run outside of the core system, making it very flexible for wealth management companies to use. Using this interface, they can clearly see what is costing their clients’ money, showing exactly what levels are being billed for certain services.
The product is certainly innovating and was exciting to be working on this as one of my first projects.
This service defines how clients can be charged and can be run outside of the core system making it very flexible for wealth management companies to use.  Using this interface they could clearly see what is costing their clients’ money and show exactly what levels they are being billed for certain services.  The product is certainly innovative and it was exciting to be working on this project.

And finally, what was the first thing you did arriving in Australia from South Africa?

I’m a passionate birder and from the day I arrived (literally driving out of the airport), I saw the first few birds that had been on my list. It made me want to go straight out to see more, but knew we needed to do the first couple of weeks in isolation so had to be content with observing from the unit where we were staying.  With windows on both sides, one to the mountains and one to the ocean I was certainly kept busy. It was really exciting to see the enormous variety of different species, so different from what I had seen in South Africa.