• Friday, December 01, 2023
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Women In Business: Fiona Ahmed Ahimie

Women In Business: Fiona Ahmed Ahimie

FBNQuest Securities is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the FBNQuest Merchant Bank Group and a member of the FBN Holdings Group, with a network that stretches across Sub-Saharan Africa. With a strong client base, FBNQuest Securities distributes public offerings on behalf of issuers domestically and internationally. Leveraging partnerships with global organisations and their strong network, they provide their clients with product and sector expertise.

They also provide comprehensive trading strategies and value-added research on several sectors and companies, they offer advisory services on capital market transactions and execution-only services for their customers. Through their highly focused equities team, they work to understand the unique investment needs of their clients and offer bespoke solutions that help them achieve their financial goals.

As MD of FBNQuest Securities, Fiona Ahmed Ahimie’s roles includes developing and driving the strategy of the business with guidance from the board. She is also responsible for business development including building, managing and growing the business. Others include overseeing and ensuring optimal allocation of resources for profitability, growing market share from existing and prospective clients, maintaining a strong relationship with regulators and industry operators, ensuring adequate stakeholder engagement and satisfaction, leveraging and working with the board to achieve the corporate goal of the organisation and building, training, mentoring, delegating and fostering a diversified and inclusive team.

Ahmed Ahimie maintains that FBNQuest Securities has moved ahead of the curve by giving their clients the ability to make their investment decisions with the click of a button from anywhere. She revealed that their online trading portal gives investors direct access to the trading exchange and to decision-making tools.

“We believe innovative products are critical for sustainability, and for ensuring that we capture a significant share of wallet of our clients. As a result, we have partnered with domestic and international firms to create bespoke portfolios for our clients, depending on their needs and risk appetites. We have partners in the US, UK and sub Saharan Africa.” She said.

Read also: BusinessDay celebrates female staff at International Women’s Day

It is still the International Women’s Month, and Fiona has said that giving qualified women a seat at the table ensures diversity, increased creativity and innovation, as women bring with them different spectrum, views and approaches that will contribute to a robust and holistic decision making for the overall good of the organisation.

On the theme for 2022, which is ‘Breaking The Bias’, she said “Breaking the bias for me means living in a world where opportunities and positions are given to people based on qualification, capacity and suitability and not on gender, class or expectation. It is about giving everyone an equal chance to excel and soar.”

Despite being in fulfilling careers, one challenge most women executives face is the imposter syndrome. Fiona however advised that women need to trust their own abilities, as this will boost their confidence when it comes to dealing with biases being expressed towards them. According to her, women are natural emotional beings and they pay attention to and give consideration to anything that looks like a criticism.

“Women should be encouraged to separate sentiments from emotions and carry themselves with poise. Not all decisions made by men yield the expected results; it is no different for women because, to fail occasionally is to be human. Women should not beat themselves up when things do not go as planned, but should learn from their experiences for better outcomes in the future.” Fiona stated.

Despite clearing the air on imposter syndrome, Fiona admits that being a top female executive has its own challenges however, she has been fortunate in her role because she receives support from her superiors and her board of directors who are all men. She admitted that she has always approached her career with a gender-blind attitude in the workplace. Furthermore, she said she is also involved in all aspects of her business.

“I interact and socialise with the men and can adapt to their ways. I am happy and grateful to have a fantastic support system at home; as a result, I can adequately perform in my role. I must admit that not everyone can be as fortunate. So my advice to the ‘Boss Ladies’ is for them to be their authentic self, not create barriers where there are none, continue to improve and upgrade themselves and develop younger professionals.” She advised.

However, for every young lady who desires to be at the top of her career, Fiona says it is important to know that no one will hand anything to you on a platter of gold. In her opinion, such a lady must back up her desire with the right qualifications and attitude, be bold and firm, working towards her goals and build all necessary and needed capabilities.

“When the opportunity comes, you should seize it. You should not be shy to ask to be given the opportunity, or to apply for roles; you shouldn’t wait for anyone to give you a nudge. Young people need to believe in their abilities and speak up. When you are a part of a team that has made a remarkable impact, blow your horn by highlighting your contributions. If your contributions are significant, let people know. Above all, be ready when the opportunity comes your way.” Fiona said.

With several years of working in the financial sector, Ahmed Ahimie, like many others, surely has a day in her line of work that brings a smile to her face.

Sometime in 2019, she got a request from a gentleman who wanted her to help him with some answers to a few questions he had on the Nigerian Capital Market. Though a stranger to her, she obliged. A few weeks later, he reached out to her again and in his words, “We have been following your career and contributions to your industry, and we would like to write an article on you.” The line “We have been following your career…” is not new to Fiona as she admitted she had heard it from different quarters before. However, usually, according to her, what follows is “Well done, Fiona.” Interestingly, this time round, it came with a twist, someone wanted to write about Fiona in a regional magazine.

“This experience was particularly exciting for me. I will not forget it because it made me understand that people actually see the contributions that we sometime think are insignificant, and they appreciate our efforts. I made a decision right then to continue to brighten the corner wherever I find myself. My article was featured in the 2019 third quarter edition of African Bankers Magazine alongside very prominent African Captains of Industry.”