Invesco is a global asset management firm that employs 8,500 people world-wide. The Charlottetown office employs close to 500 people in customer service, account administration, technology support, project management, marketing, and information security.
Invesco’s headquarters are in Atlanta, Georgia, and there are offices in New York, Toronto, Houston, and around the world.
“In 2007, Invesco set up a Global Enterprise Centre strategy, co-locating roles that are easily transferrable and can be easily scaled up under one roof in markets that are cheaper to do business in,” says Andrew MacDonald, Head of Invesco Enterprise Services, Charlottetown.
Invesco has two Global Enterprise Centres. The off-shore centre in Hyderabad, India employs about 1,300 people. The near-shore Global Enterprise Centre is in Charlottetown, where the roles serve Invesco’s external clients such as investors and investment advisors, and internal Invesco business partners. They also provide technology support, project management support, and information security support for the firm globally.
“In Charlottetown, we started with 24 people, and I was fortunate to be one of them,” says Andrew. “If you had asked me then, I never would have thought we eventually would move into our own building with 330 people in 2008. Now we have almost 500 people in two Charlottetown locations. We are renovating a space in Charlottetown to get us to a capacity of close to 600 people by January 2021.”
“In 2019, we hired 12 to 20 people every two to four weeks, because the company made a major acquisition in the US which drove our volumes through the roof and made for an extremely busy and challenging period for recruitment and for our employees as well,” says Andrew.
Invesco usually hires once or twice a year in each of their four core entry-level roles:
- Customer service support and client service for Canadian businesses
- Customer service support and client service for US businesses
- Canadian account administration
- US account administration
“In addition, we also occasionally hire specialized roles such as application support in development and technology, service desk support, project management, marketing, marketing operations, information security, and human resources. Typically, these specialized roles are promoted internally as much as possible.”
The hiring process
The screening process starts with the resumé, followed by a phone call and at least one in-person interview, likely more. Two or more interviewers are present.
“If we choose to make an offer, and the offer is accepted, we do a full background check, criminal record check, and reference check. Depending on the outcomes and the severity of the issues identified, we will proceed with the offer.”
The importance of soft skills
“When hiring, we value people with technical skills, but those who really succeed also have durable soft skills like critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, effective oral and written communication, customer service, and kindness,” says Andrew. “The ability to get along with people and being nice to work with can take you far.
“Our biggest focus is on those central soft skills. We can always train the technical aspects of the new job, but we can’t train those durable skills.”
“For front-line roles, we typically offer a great deal of training – six to 12 weeks in the classroom, followed by another four to six weeks of one-to-one mentorship with an experienced person.
“New hires are typically in the organization three months before they work on their own. Every person is part of a team with a supervisor and a team leader who coach, develop, and provide ongoing mentorship and support.
“We are constantly retraining and putting folks back into the classroom to refresh them on the business and on new products and the changes in the market. That commitment to continuous learning is an important critical skill that people need to demonstrate as they come through the door to work for us. Learning never stops with our organization. I have been here for 12 years and I learn something new about our organization every day,” says Andrew.
A flexible workplace
Hours of work vary to fill the hours of 8 am to 8 pm, Monday to Friday. “We provide sit/stand desks, and are open to people wearing casual clothes, or working from home full-time or part-time with a company-issued PC so they can serve clients as effectively at home as they can from our office.
“We also try to remain flexible with respect to time away from the office. For example, Invesco employees are given half a day every year to plan their own financial futures and an additional half day to volunteer in their community beyond their annual allowance of vacation time and miscellaneous time off.”
Embracing immigration and relocation
“We have found it critical to welcome Newcomers to Canada and to PEI, and to help relocate displaced Islanders.
“The finance industry is historically not very diverse. Traditionally, it is dominated by white males, and that is something we are trying to address. We have a strong focus on diversity and inclusion. For example, we have set aside a room for prayer during Ramadan, and we support a potluck during Dwali for our Indian employees. This creates a culture where folks feel welcome.
“From a recruiting perspective, our Talent Acquisition Partners have a mandate to make sure we have a diverse candidate pool and a diverse interview panel across gender, age, and ethnicity to ensure it’s not just people hiring people who look and sound like they do.
“A relatively low cost of living, low crime rate, and low traffic rate make PEI an attractive place to live. For both newcomers to the province and newcomers to Canada, we find that the decision to stay on PEI is based on broader life issues: the quality of K-12 education, their child’s ability to integrate into the school system, cultural integration for the family into the community, spousal employment, and getting a family physician.”
Pay and benefits
The starting salary for client service positions is about $30,000 per year. “Base salary, merit-based increases every year, employer-paid health and dental premiums, a group RRSP program, and generous time off allowances make people want to stay,” says Andrew. The company also matches contributions to the group pension plan.
“Even small things like supplying a parking spot, paying for a transit pass, and providing a latte machine and sparkling water machine go a long way with staff. We also offer a bonus to an employee who refers someone to Invesco who is a good fit.
“We also pay for folks to go back to school to take an MBA or specialized courses applicable to their role in exchange for a commitment to remain with the firm.”
“We hire twice a year because typically people in entry-level positions move into other roles. There are many chances for advancement. People have the opportunity to earn a pay raise by advancing within their current roles from representative to associate to senior associate.
Someone who can supervise a team of client service agents could be a great project manager by flexing those same muscles, with a bit of supplemental technical training.”