Regina Breheny, the CEO of the Irish Association of Investment Managers, acts as a glowing ambassador for women in finance, rising to the very top of her field. The UCD alumna studied Commerce before working several stints in high profile banks and financial institutions, including Solomon Stockbrokers and Zurich Bank. Speaking to the College Tribune, Breheny detailed the many trials and tribulations which she has endured as well as her advice for the next generation of UCD graduates and aspiring financiers.
Breheny remarks that she has always been hard working and has never struggled with the demanding nature of the industry; ‘‘I thrived on stress. As a CEO , it is always difficult to pay the wages in a downturn, everybody who works in this environment understands this, we are all in it together, not easy but not overwhelming’’. This tenacious work ethic has led the investment manager to the very top of the Irish investment scene, spending more than a decade as the director general of the Irish Venture Capital Association and now in her role at the helm of the Irish Association of Investment Managers (IAIM).
When asked for the investor she most admires, Breheny pointed to Warren Buffet. Buffet’s methods of value investing and the inspiration he took from Benjain Graham have led to a plethora of impressive investing stories.
Breheny’s advice for the next generation of aspiring investors focuses on developing skills and gaining qualifications. ‘‘Get your qualifications. It is a career for high achievers, very stimulating. At the end of the day, your speciality just proves how smart you are! Accountancy stood me in good stead’’.
In terms of investing, Breheny recommends investing in the alternative energy and electric car sectors. These comments are timely, coming in the wake of a surge in Tesla’s share price rising 20% in just one day in the past week.
Breheny is a prime example of the opportunities that a UCD degree can provide. She recounts the positive memories which she has from her time in UCD and the focus which the course instilled. ‘‘The BComm was stimulating, the atmosphere was competitive, the career path was clear (Accountancy or Accountancy)’’. Moreover, she recalls what it was like being a female in what was, at the time, a degree dominated by males; ‘‘Being one of a small number of females doing the BComm, it was kind of special’’. For anyone looking for some inspiration as to what can be achieved with a Commerce degree, look no further than Regina Breheny.
Patrick Doherty – Business Editor