ARTICLE
20 March 2024

Women In Finance: Jeanelle Newell, Apex Malta

FM
Finance Malta

Contributor

Finance Malta is a non-profit public-private initiative set up to promote Malta as an international financial centre, both within, as well as outside Malta. It brings together, and harnesses, the resources of the industry and government, to ensure Malta maintains a modern and effective legal, regulatory, and fiscal framework in which the financial services sector can continue to grow and prosper. The Board of Governors, together with the founding associations: The Malta Funds Asset Servicing Association, the Malta Bankers Association, the Malta Insurance Association, the Association of Insurance Brokers, the Malta Insurance Managers Association, the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners; its members and staff are all committed to promote Malta as an innovative international.
Explore the inspiring journey of Jeanelle Newell, a woman who defied norms and rose through the ranks of the finance industry.
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Explore the inspiring journey of Jeanelle Newell, a woman who defied norms and rose through the ranks of the finance industry. From starting out in retail banking to leading compliance at a global firm, Jeanelle shares her story of overcoming challenges, balancing career and family, and pursuing her passions.

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Picture: Jeanelle Newell, Head of Compliance and DPO, Apex Group Ltd (Malta)

In the ever-evolving landscape of finance, each journey is as unique as the individual navigating it. My journey began in 2006, fresh off university with a degree in hand, and with a family established, composed of my husband and my two-year-old son. One thing which was never missing from my early days is my eagerness to start thriving in my career in the financial services industry.

My journey kicked off in one of the largest retail banks in Malta. During these initial years I delved into the fundamentals of banking operations and customer relations. It was a foundation that would prove invaluable in learning the basic principle of the finance world as well as how important it is to treat customers fairly, professionally and with empathy. After four years in retail banking and mothering another son, I ventured into risk and compliance within the fund administration arm of the bank. Here I was exposed to a different reality, that of the securities industry, and more specifically regulatory compliance. Luckily, I had excellent and supportive mentors throughout my experience at the bank who thought me the basic principles of the area, coupled with my continued professional development and qualifications in the sector. Every challenge presented an opportunity to expand my knowledge base and refine my skills.

Two years into this role, I was provided with an excellent opportunity to join the Maltese regulator, the Malta Financial Services Authority in 2013 were I progressed for another eight and a half years. This was an excellent opportunity to further improve my knowledge and specialisation in an area which is constantly continuously developing. This shift was pivotal for my career as it provided me with a comprehensive view of the financial landscape, as I was tasked with overseeing the supervision of the asset servicing sector. It was a role that demanded diligence, attention to detail, and a deep understanding of regulatory requirements. It was a very challenging role which yet instilled within me a profound sense of pride, responsibility and commitment to upholding industry standards.

However, change is the only constant in life. Two years ago, I returned to my roots, the private sector; this time heading the compliance function at Apex Malta. It was a homecoming of sorts, as I applied the wealth of knowledge and experience garnered over the years to drive compliance initiatives within the organization and collaborate with other peers from around the world through the Apex Group network.

Throughout my journey, challenges were aplenty. Balancing parenthood with academic pursuits and a career which continued to develop step-by-step, was no mean feat. As a woman in the financial industry, I encountered my fair share of hurdles especially in the initial years given that I was relatively young off university benches. Parenthood, layered atop these challenges, and served to amplify the complexity of my journey.

Yet, against all odds, with the unwavering support of mentors, colleagues, and family, I believed in myself and was determined to always look forward. I am a firm believer in working smart (not necessarily hard), being passionate about anything I do and an advocate of work life balance. No, the latter is not a cliché because a healthy and happy life depends on achieving the right equilibrium. As the saying goes, all work and no play make Jill a dull girl, (yes Jill, that is not a typo!). Besides my commitment to compliance, I am also passionate about music (I have my own rock band), I volunteer in the welfare of animals, especially cats, and avidly supporting my two sons.

I auger all women out there who are in this sector, or perhaps who are still to embark on this journey, to fight for what they believe in. No matter how steep the challenges and how tough setbacks are, with the right mindset, determination, passion and support, we will get there, for each thread represents a lesson learned, a challenge surmounted, and a journey embraced.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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