In this series we look at applications that won people a role, and break down what made them so effective. This candidate was able to demonstrate very specific, relevant experience and used bullet points in a very effectuve Cover Letter to outline their skills and suitability.

North American Income Trust plc

The North American Income Trust plc, launched in 1902 and with assets of c.£410m, provides investors with above average dividend income and long term capital growth, through active management of a portfolio consisting predominantly of S&P 500 US equities, on a bottom-up basis. They were looking to appoint a new Audit Chair to join the board.

Audit Chair Qualified
The successful candidate will be qualified to chair an audit committee? Please list details of audit committee experience, as well as your accountancy or other relevant qualifications.

Qualified chartered accountant with over 25 years post qualified experience, mainly through my role as audit partner at PwC. Led a number of audits in the financial services sector, including approx. 10 investment trusts. Currently the audit committee chair at the Scottish Investment Trust plc and Streetwork UK (homeless charity). Have chaired or presented at over 100 audit committees in my career to date.

Investment Management
The successful candidate will ideally have board level experience of investment management, as an external auditor or as an executive or non-executive director. Please list any investment management experience you have that you consider relevant to this role.

At PwC, I led the external audits for a number of trusts including Monks, Shin Nippon, Baillie Gifford Japan, European Investment Trust, Aberforth Geared Income Trust, Polar Capital Global Healthcare & Technology and International Biotechnology Trust. Also while at PwC, I led audits of management companies (eg Artemis, SWIP) and open ended funds (eg Schroders) and I am experienced in completing/reviewing third party controls reports. I am currently AC chair at the Scottish Investment Trust plc.

Covering letter

I am very interested in this role as it provides a great balance between what I bring to the role versus what I would gain from the experience. The skills and experience that I would bring to this role are:

– Strong track record in audit committees, both as an AC chair and previously as an external auditor; I am very organised, prepare in advance for all meetings and try to keep to the schedule while allowing time for appropriate discussion.

- Practical experience in overseeing the development and implementation of risk management frameworks and oversight of outsourced arrangements, as well as monitoring the performance of these areas over the course of a year.

- Relevant industry sector knowledge, specifically in investment trusts and across the broader asset management sector (and at other listed entities).

- Technical skills in accounting, audit, risk, controls, corporate governance and the regulatory environment.

- A fresh pair of eyes on the financial statements and the content of board and AC reporting, bringing ideas and insights from experience at a wide range of organisations over my career.

- Ability to challenge in an open and constructive way, whether it is on strategy, investment policies and performance, marketing approach, risk management and controls.

- Excellent interpersonal skills, accomplished in operating at board level and operating as part of a team with peers and other stakeholders.

– Committed to own personal development – since leaving PwC, I have completed a NED training course run by Edinburgh University Business School in conjunction with FWB and I am connected with the Big 4 and the AIC to ensure that I have access to accounting, audit, governance and other topical issue updates relevant to my NED roles

Last but not least, a positive and friendly attitude, keenness to listen and learn and a sense of humour (when appropriate) From a personal perspective, I am keen to secure this role as the North American Income Trust is a good fit with one of my other roles at the Scottish Investment Trust and would lend additional credibility to my experience in the sector while giving me insight to a different management company.

You can see more of our Successful Applications series by clicking here.

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