A week in the life of... Matt Cowan, regional director at CISI
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A week in the life of… Matt Cowan, regional director at CISI

A week in the life of… Matt Cowan, regional director at CISI

The regional head of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment details his packed schedule

Gulf Business


I head into the office and catch up with the team in our weekly team meeting, discussing the plans and developments for the week ahead. Given the time difference with the UK – and the fact that they’re on their weekend – I have a bit of time to clear my internal inbox. In the afternoon I have a Skype call with my director, Kevin Moore, to discuss the Middle East business, which I am responsible for. It’s then time to head over to meet our National Advisory Board, hosted at the Emirates NBD head office in Deira. Here we discuss the local business and our progress in the UAE, while providing board members with the opportunity to provide guidance on our activities and opportunities for growth.


Mondays are normally packed with meetings, and today is no exception. I meet with one of our accredited training partners to discuss their ongoing relationship with the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI), what projects they are working on and what their plans are for the UAE over the next quarter. At midday I dial in to an international business development call with our global offices. I then head out to the test centre where our qualifications are taken, and finish off with a meeting at a commodities business with one of my client relationship managers to discuss the possibility of enrolling their staff for exams.


Travel is a big part of my role and today I’m on the 7.45am flight to Kuwait, ready for a 10.30am meeting with the Kuwait Capital Markets Authority (CMA). We recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the CMA and we are currently writing a Kuwait ‘rules and regulations’ exam to be mandated to the Kuwait Capital Market practitioner. This is scheduled for completion before the end of 2017. The afternoon is spent meeting other businesses and accredited training partners before catching the 5.40pm flight back to Dubai.


Today starts with the SCA broker awards, during which more than 40 certificates are presented to brokers in the region who have completed qualifications that are mandated by SCA. I give a speech congratulating those that have met requirements and thank the SCA for our strategic partnership. This is followed by a breakfast and coffee break which gives the brokers a chance to network, engage with my team, and to discuss any further requirements such as the now mandated SCA CPD. I’m in the office in the afternoon and – as I’m responsible not only for the Middle East but Sri Lanka and South Asia – I give my wider team a chance to catch up with me via Skype. I finish the day by dialling in to our executive team meeting in London, which is responsible for developing and implementing policy and strategy for the institute globally.


The last day of the working week is spent in the office. I have a meeting with my team at 10am, which gives us a chance to review the week’s activity and align our work. This is followed by a business development and marketing meeting, following which I focus on proposals and follow-ups from the meetings I’ve had during the week. Later, I have one to one catch-ups with my team before heading home to unwind with friends.


Today I switch off and leave the laptop closed – it’s so important to take a break from work and recharge. I’m an early riser so am up and about in the mornings, and head to Al Qudra cycle track before enjoying a light lunch. I head home to sit in the garden and enjoy a BBQ with friends and neighbours.


Saturdays are dedicated to life admin. I go to the supermarket for groceries, do some DIY and housework and then have some dinner before relaxing in front of the TV, ready to start work again on Sunday.


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