jessica melville

jessica melville
MEET Jessica Melville

Senior Investment Consultant

Jessica Melville

Team Manager Research

Segment Investments

Location Sydney, Australia

Year hired 2008

University University of New South Wales, Bachelor of Optometry; Financial Services Institute of Australia, Master of Applied Finance and Investment

Personal interests

I’m really passionate about gender diversity and breaking down the barriers that confront women through all parts of their career journey. Having two young daughters, I am motivated to drive change by the time they join the workforce.

Can you describe your career progression within Willis Towers Watson?

I originally qualified as an optometrist, but have always loved maths. I thought the world of finance sounded exciting, so I did postgrad study in finance and three years later landed a role at Watson Wyatt, which later evolved to Willis Towers Watson.
In some ways I still perform the tasks of my initial role as an investment analyst, but in a more senior capacity. However, I also cover multi-assets, global equities and work on liquid diversifying strategies. In my time here, I have also covered bonds and listed real assets. The way I use my expertise has evolved to be more external facing in that I work directly with clients on manager selection and portfolio construction, as well as helping them build their own investment frameworks.

Can you tell us about the day-to-day responsibilities of your job?

My role revolves around the investment managers that we research — monitoring the existing ratings, looking for new manager ideas that we might like to rate and forming views on new developments. My role is very team-based; we form our views through extensive discussion, analysis and even more discussion! I have also started to take a more active role building relationships and working with clients, and helping with business development and marketing activities.

What are the key challenges of your role? How have you overcome them?

The key challenge of being global and being based in Australia, is trying to work with different time zones. I genuinely value interacting with my global colleagues, so I make an effort to accommodate this. After my young children go to sleep, I can do a bit more work (including global calls) later in the evening. It works for me because most of my calls are with London-based colleagues, and their morning is our late evening. Plus, I think the Australian business enjoys the benefit of having us tapped into what is happening offshore.

What training and development opportunities have you received in your role?

I’ve learned the value of developing and expressing an opinion in team forums, with clients and even presenting these views in industry forums and publications. One of the best opportunities I had was to speak at our flagship client conference. I’ve always been petrified of public speaking, but I was given extensive training and guidance.

What is your proudest achievement since joining Willis Towers Watson?

I was very proud to speak at our Ideas Exchange conference on the importance of culture in the asset management industry, a topic I’m very passionate about. I’m also proud to have been able to work with some of the biggest asset owners to assess and improve how they make investment decisions. It brings together technical knowledge and experience with interpersonal skills such as the ability to advise or influence.
I love the fact that in consulting I get to marry the technical aspects of finance with the human side of consulting. I am a strong believer in mission and purpose. The finance industry has a reputation for making people wealthy, but superannuation really focuses on generating wealth and financial wellbeing in retirement for the person on the street. It has a larger purpose in society, and I feel privileged to be a part of the industry in an organization that shares that sense of purpose.

How would you describe the culture at Willis Towers Watson?

The culture is collaborative, nurturing and one that will stop at nothing to put its best foot forward.

What do you like best about working at Willis Towers Watson?

What I like best are the people; it will always be about the people. I have had the great privilege of working with some very talented individuals, who I have learned from immensely. I also appreciate the flexibility I have to work four days a week and be more involved with my children.

Was there anything that surprised you about your role or the company?

I was surprised at how easy it’s been to evolve my role and develop new skill sets; I have been supported and encouraged by some amazing mentors along the way. My team is a genuinely global team, and I was also surprised at how well we collaborate with our offshore colleagues. In many ways, Willis Towers Watson has made me reach further than I ever thought capable.

What is your hope for your career in the future?

This is the best job I’ve ever had and it continues to get better. I’ve always been open to new opportunities, and I can see my role evolving as our client base and business evolves. I’m quite lucky that everything I do today in my current role draws upon all the experience and skills I have gained here from the day I joined. I can only hope that continues.

Based on your experience, what advice would you give someone considering employment with Willis Towers Watson?

I would encourage them to go for it. This is a fantastic organization where you can genuinely build a rewarding and interesting career. I’m always struck by the tenure of people here, and I think that is testament to the fact that people are given the opportunity to develop and grow. This is partly because we are a global organization, but also because people here are open to taking a chance on you and giving you the opportunities you seek.