Catherine Kirchmann has over two decades of experience in private banking and wealth management, spanning three continents. Before joining Investec in 2008, she spent 6 years at GAM as a Portfolio Director where she focused on the management of globally-invested, multi-asset portfolios for an international spread of private clients.
Her education in South Africa culminated in a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of the Witwatersrand and an LLB from the University of Stellenbosch. She qualified as an attorney before moving to London in 1999.
has extensive experience in international private banking
and wealth management, spanning three continents.
I am passionate about mentoring and developing younger colleagues, and outside of work, those starting out on their career paths.
What do you feel passionate about both professionally and personally?
Mentoring and developing younger colleagues, and outside of work, those starting out on their career paths. Personally, travel, through which I’ve learned some of my life’s greatest lessons.
Share an example of early life that
has shaped you?
I come from quite a male-dominated family, both immediate and extended. Growing up in what was a very supportive environment I learned that my gender should not be a barrier to anything I set out to achieve. As such, I have never felt held back in my career by virtue of the fact that I am a woman.
Highlights of your career so far?
My time spent in Hong Kong establishing our Wealth & Investment office, and my subsequent move back to the UK to spearhead the growth of our international and high net worth businesses.
Key lessons you have learned along the way?
We all make mistakes. Take ownership, make amends, learn the lesson and move on.
Best piece of advice you have received?
Work hard. Stay humble.
Advice to a young person just starting their career?
Build your networks. Don’t be afraid to speak up and be heard. Ask questions, challenge and reach out to others if you don’t know – it is the best way to learn and grow
What is the greatest challenge you have faced either personally or in your career?
Moving to the UK in early 1999 to start afresh, with no support network in the UK, no home and looking for a job in an industry where I had no prior experience.
How do you approach and deal with challenges?
I am always reminded of the words of Nelson Mandela who said “it always seems impossible until it is done.” I tackle every challenge with this in mind and it helps me to maintain perspective.
How do you stay motivated at work and at home?
I am energised and motivated by change and am fortunate enough to be working with a dynamic senior management team who are very much focused on change and growth. At home I keep things simple, to balance out the pace and demands of work.
Why do you love what you do?
I love the fact that my role is primarily focused on people – partnering with our clients and working with colleagues across a wide range of functions within our broader business.
Why is it important to support women-led business?
By supporting their growth and success, we encourage others to follow their lead.
My inspiration is...
the energy and passion of some of the younger women I have been privileged enough to mentor.
My greatest fear is...
drowning. I had a near miss as a child which might explain why I am lacking at water sports.
The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is...
quit my job in Financial Services at the age of 33 to take a year out to travel around the world on my own.
binge-watching competitive cooking shows.
Mantra you live by?
treat others the way you would want to be treated.