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CEO of Barclays Australia & NZ presents to Business School Students

16 May 2012

At an exclusive seminar held at the University of Sydney last week, Business School students heard insights into issues enveloping investment banking today through the lens of one of the leading minds in the field, Cynthia Whelan, CEO of Barclays Capital Australia and NZ.

Ms Whelan held a captivating presence in the New Law School amongst the eager students who were intrigued by her vast knowledge and experiences and keen to hear her perceptions regarding the future trajectory of investment banking.

The well-received address explored debt and equity capital markets in Australia, the development of the investment banking industry, the influx of cross-border mergers and acquisitions and the position of Barclays in the Asia- Pacific region, as well as a glimpse into the life of a top-tier business professional.

Ms Whelan, who is a member of Barclay's Asia Pacific Executive Committee, was invited to the address the students by the Finance and Banking Society as part of their distinguished speaker series.

Characterised by intellectually dense discussion and unique interaction between executives and students, the series is an invaluable form of learning for Business School students and has welcomed many high profile guests to the university including Robert Rankin, CEO of Deutsche Bank Asia Pacific, Warren Hogan, ANZ Chief Economist and Paulo Maia, CEO of HSBC Bank Australia Limited.

Speaking about prevalent trends in Australian capital markets and the immense opportunity afforded to Australia as a consequence of exponential growth in the BRIC nations, Ms Whelan reflected on the gravitation of focus towards China since she graduated from university and the nature of careers in investment banking amid this rapidly changing environment.

"China is now the predominant engine of growth in the global economy and Australia has not only been a major beneficiary of this but is integral in the region as it becomes increasingly attractive to international investors as a stepping stone to Asian markets and as a strategy to secure growth and supply," she said. "The volatility seen in the past 20 years has had an incredible impact on investment banking, and I'm pleased to say this dynamism has so far afforded me an interesting and rewarding career."

Ms Whelan spoke of an optimistic outlook for Australia and highlighted the importance of graduates having broad knowledge of both Australian and Asian financial markets.

"The prospects for Australia remain bullish as strong balance balances sheets, strong currency and high structural interest in Australia make companies well positioned to leverage Australia's correlations with Asia. It is becoming increasingly important to acknowledge the significance of these ties in Australia's education system, particularly through integrating sound Asian language skills."

Ms Whelan enlightened students on what she believed to be the prerequisites for success, highlighting the importance of being critical, honest and determined to stand out from the crowd.

"Business is cyclical, markets are cyclical and life is cyclical. It's important for students in the context of business today to be focused but also to be prepared, resilient and willing to take risks."

James Sin, president of the Finance and Banking Society, highlighted the innumerable benefits to students of learning from, and networking with, leading Businesspeople.

"It was an immense privilege to have such a pre-eminent leader join us," he said. "The audience was engaged with the vital and fascinating issues Ms Whelan discussed, especially in regards to Australian financial markets adapting and evolving in the context of the new Asian Century. The opportunity to meet and network with high calibre leaders such as Ms Whelan genuinely enhances the student experience and allows students access to a wealth of knowledge."