Cathie Armour

Cathie Armour

Image: Australian Securities and Investments Commission

B. Economics 1982/ LLB (Honours) 1984

Cathie Armour commenced as a Commissioner of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on 3 June 2013. Before joining ASIC, Cathie had 18 years of experience in legal counsel leadership roles in international financial institutions. She was General Counsel for Macquarie Capital and an Executive Director of Macquarie Group, advising on equity, debt and private capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, and financial investment transactions. She has also held senior compliance and operational risk positions at Macquarie Capital and at JP Morgan in Australia. Before she joined ASIC, Cathie was also a member of the ASX Tribunal. Cathie previously worked in private legal practice for the forerunners of the firms King & Wood Mallesons and Allens in Sydney and for Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in New York. 

Cathie completed the Bachelor of Economics and LLB (Hons) at The Australian National University and the LLM at the University of Sydney. She is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Cathie’s responses to questions from CBE students

What personal attributes are key to a successful career in finance?

First and foremost, only choose finance if it interests you. If you find the ideas and concepts that underlie finance fascinating, then you are much more likely to enjoy a career in finance.
Finance is a dynamic environment so if you enjoy constant challenge and ready adaptation to new ideas, new industries and like looking for differences from the established way of thinking then you share many of the characteristics of the people I admire in the world of finance.

Skills often not mentioned when thinking about finance are interpersonal skills. Understanding how people approach issues, how to inspire confidence and capture other people’s imaginations are attributes its important to develop as part of a successful career in finance.

What are the biggest factors that lead into making a great first impression, whilst being yourself?

This is hard because first impressions should not be the basis for judging anyone and are so often determined by the biases of the person whom you are first meeting. It helps if you accept your own strengths and try to put out of your mind the things you might think of as your weaknesses. This will help you relax and seem very open. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about things you don’t follow in a conversation. Make sure you show curiosity and interest in the people you are interacting with - we all feel much more at ease if we are all part of a conversation.

Do you have any final words of advice for a student who is in the final year of their degree?

Enjoy your last year – Uni is a terrific time.

It is daunting trying to think about what you will do post Uni and if you are not exactly sure what it is that you want to do next, don’t worry as most of us feel that way. The main thing is to put yourself in the best position to have options that might be vaguely of interest. So, apply relentlessly for graduate roles in jobs across the range of options available. Try not to be frustrated if you don’t get through to interviews but do keep at it and do work and rework your resume.

If you are keen on further study, challenge what it is that interests you about that study and push yourself to examine the range of options from all institutions here and abroad (and not just the usual suspects!).