HSBC UK Employee Insight
In our career spotlight series, we shine the light on career pathways that talented Black professionals are taking and hope to inspire others on their journey.
Bernard Moyo, Agricultural Relationship Manager, Wales Agriculture
What led you towards a career in Finance?
I went to an inner city school in Birmingham having moved to the UK from Zimbabwe when I was 15.
I was exposed to a whole new world and all of its choices and it was too much choice because through school, I never really knew what I wanted to do. I tried to keep my options as open as possible with my choice of GCSEs and A-levels and it wasn’t until I sat down to do UCAS applications that I started thinking seriously about what I wanted for a career.
I looked at where my classmates were looking to go, what they were going to study, researched different industries and I realised my driving force was trying to understand how the world works. Everything is commercialised and capitalism is king so I chose to do a degree in accounting and economics so I can understand how it works and how to make sure the next generation of kids like me were a bit better prepared for the world.
Having left Uni in 2010, I joined HSBC in 2011 wanting to be part of an international organisation. I stayed because of the variety of career opportunities, the chance to represent a minority within a predominantly white industry, and also the links with the community via volunteering days which I have done to a variety of charities.
I haven’t entirely learnt how the world works but my drive is now to support customers who are at the forefront of British business. They are navigating some incredibly challenging environments and I want to support them in their ambitions.
In my current role I have also started looking into how the bank can link up with local schools and discovered the Young Enterprise Programme. The programme empowers young people to set up and run a student company under the guidance of a business volunteer.
I believe if we can pique the interest of kids in school, they are the next entrepreneurs and we can improve representation in industry.
I am now working in the agriculture industry – an industry that is not known for being diverse and I am looking to change minds and attitudes by representing who I am and showing our capability.
What are you looking forward to at the Birmingham Black Business Show?
There was an article in the news in 2021 that said 57% of black business owners don’t trust banks to support their goals. As a banker and certainly now as a relationship manager I am keen to understand why that is, and how we can change the narrative on that.
I am looking forward to meeting and speaking with business owners to understand their perceptions of our bank and their views on what we can do to improve it.
What advice would you give someone embarking on a career in finance?
It’s an exciting, varied, and challenging career path and the buzz you get from seeing a business plan come together and a business growing it fantastic.
I would advise anyone to find a business that has values and holds itself to account. That business will ultimately always look after you as you put the work in.
The values HSBC holds have allowed me to grow into who I am today and bring my authentic self to work every day.
These values were especially seen when the Bank published its ethnicity data in 2020 and showed that there wasn’t enough representation within the senior levels of the bank.
They committed to improving recruitment and have put in place acceleration programmes to build the skills of our ethnic minority colleagues so they can be more confident putting themselves forward.
Have a drive to be focused on your customer and understand what they do and how they want to do it. Be curious and ask lots of questions, I haven’t met a business owner who didn’t want to explain how their business works, there is no such thing as a silly question.
And finally – do not be afraid to put yourself out there when networking. Speak to as many people as possible, listen to their stories and be real in your interactions with them. Any of those interactions could be a new opportunity, a new mentor, or something you can use to teach someone else.
Share a moment of truth as a Black person working in the finance industry (best decision, best advice received)
My moment of truth was during the BLM riots post the killing of George Floyd. I had a realisation that this affected me and I needed to talk about it.
My employer was not my first choice but from speaking to other black colleagues in my team at the time, we thought it could be the stage for good to come out of it, if nothing else for other colleagues to understand our point of view, especially with how the media were reporting the riots.
The conversations were well received, the support that came out afterwards from people who didn’t realise how hard it is to be a black professional and feeling you have to work harder than everyone else to progress, was outstanding.
The best advice I was given was to never be afraid to be my true self and tell my story, and that culminated in speaking about diversity and inclusion to the Finance and Leasing Authority who were keen to shape how their member organisations deal with this issue going into the future.
That advice still stands true with me speaking to people at the Black Business Show.