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Joanne O’Keeffe – 60 second interview

Joanne O’Keeffe joined Finance Wales in January this year having spent her career in commercial banking.  Bringing her business development skills to our New Investments team she’s keen to explain to more Welsh businesses what Finance Wales has to offer

What is you role at Finance Wales?

I work in a business development role in Finance Wales’ New Investments team and it’s my job to help more Welsh SMEs and their advisers understand how Finance Wales could help them.

Where were you before?

Before I came to Finance Wales I spent 31 years in commercial banking at NatWest and in my last role there I was a Business Development Director. I’d worked with Finance Wales on various investments, so I was very interested when an opportunity came up to join their New Investments team. 

Having known Finance Wales beforehand what is your impression of Finance Wales now you are part of their investment teams?

I knew that Finance Wales has a streamlined investment model and it’s been very refreshing to see investment decisions being made on such a local level. A lot of this relies on Finance Wales’ regional teams who regularly meet SME owners and managers face-to-face to get a true understanding of the business.

Having worked in a large national bank for so long, what’s it like to work for a company like Finance Wales?

Working for the largest retail and commercial bank in the UK has many advantages, but I’m enjoying working for a company of Finance Wales’ size. While it’s big enough to have specialist teams, it also has a close-knit culture and great team ethic.  Everyone is very supportive and pulls in the same direction.

How would you describe Finance Wales’ approach to investing?

Flexible! With so many different funds under management, Finance Wales’ Investment Executives can structure a deal to suit an SME’s needs. If an Investment Executive really believes in a business and buys into its vision, Finance Wales can usually find a way to provide suitable funding and that way they're more likely to have a better chance of success.

Finally, what has been your highlight since joining?

The working environment here is great and people make it what it is. There are a lot of diverse backgrounds and specialist knowledge to engage with on a daily basis.