Sectors and specialisms:
Financial services and consulting

The view from... Richard Cothay ACCA
Special projects accountant, Hiscox, UK

My accountancy career started off in practice working in audit for one of the Big Four firms straight after university. I soon realised that audit wasn’t for me but enjoyed the challenges and opportunities of working in finance. 

In my last year at university, I worked for Hiscox as part of a summer internship scheme. Building relationships with brokers was a key part of the role and, importantly, this was my first introduction to the world of insurance. It’s an area of financial services that is often overlooked but plays an essential part in the UK’s economic strength.

The ACCA Qualification helped me demonstrate commitment to my own career development at Hiscox. It’s something I have built on by pursuing further study with the Chartered Insurance Institute for which there are a number of exemptions available for ACCA Qualification holders.

My role at Hiscox involves a range of internal and external reporting and finance projects. My role also focuses on capital and regulatory reporting for the London market division. A good technical knowledge combined with a real interest and enthusiasm for the sector you work in are key to succeeding in this role.

Much of my time is spent in accounting and reporting for the Lloyd’s of London entities which are known as syndicates. Lloyd’s of London has an international reputation and is the leader in a number of specialised classes of insurance including aviation, marine and political risks. 

Helping to ensure that the London markets division is ready to meet the upcoming Solvency II regulations is my number-one priority. Preparing for these new requirements and working closely with colleagues in risk and actuarial has been a big part of my current role. Delays in the implementation of these regulations have made planning difficult but nevertheless it’s an exciting area to be involved in.

The variety of different risks means there is always something new. There are some very talented people working in the sector and a real entrepreneurial spirit. Insurance written in London is exported all over the world and there is an international dimension to the work. 

More recently, there have been some interesting developments regarding the convergence of capital markets and insurance markets as pension funds. This means that investment managers now seek new sources of non-correlating income. Also, with Solvency II and the new insurance accounting standard IFRS4 (Phase 2), there are a lot of opportunities and demand for qualified accountants.