YPDaily: Olivier Akian

Olivier is a career banker who reached senior levels in the Canadian banking industry in the early stages of his career owing to his grasp of effective client relations and his exceptional business development acumen. What advice does he have for other young professionals looking to move up the career ladder? Find out in today’s YPDaily…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
In my role as Senior Banker at Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank (CA-CIB), I develop and maintain relationships with large Canadian corporations in order to provide them with a vast array of international banking products and services, such as Global Merger & Acquisitions Advisory, access to US and European Equity & Debt Capital Markets and Structured Finance solutions. 

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
CA-CIB, which is part of the Paris-based Crédit Agricole Goup (the 6th largest banking institution in the world, based on assets), was in the process of expanding its Canadian activities. I saw this as a great opportunity to take part in the development of this global franchise in Canada. 

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of this job is the opportunity to travel across the country to develop lasting relationships with incredibly brilliant and entrepreneurial leaders of some of Canada’s largest and most successful corporations. 

The most challenging element is the very high level of competition from other international banks in the Canadian market. Differentiation is thus a key element in successfully obtaining mandates. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I expect to continue to evolve within the CA-CIB group, whether in Canada or abroad. This institution provides high performing individuals with significant career growth opportunities in a dynamic work environment.

What does success look like to you?
Success is a combination of being very happy in what you are doing and of delivering outstanding results. It’s about growing as an individual while reaching for excellence.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
My most memorable milestone was winning a large structured finance transaction in a competitive bid amongst a group of 10 international banks. This transaction was a first for CA-CIB in Canada and therefore caught the attention of our senior executives in Paris who, in turn, strengthened their commitment to further develop our Canadian presence.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Perseverance is key. Never give up on reaching your goals even though you may encounter resistance along the way. Know yourself, stick to your plan and don’t let anyone discourage you.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I’m currently on the Board of Directors of Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, one of Canada’s major dance companies, which has just celebrated its 40th anniversary. We are truly lucky to have such outstanding talent in our great city of Montreal. Not only do I enjoy supporting this great institution, but working with like-minded individuals sharing the same goal is a privilege. Previously, I was a member of the Executive Committee of the Farha Foundation (a Quebec-based foundation which raises money to help people suffering from AIDS and to increase awareness of the disease) and of the Fundraising Committee of the Nutcracker Fund for Children (which is part of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens). I believe that supporting our community is a responsibility that each young professional should engage in without hesitation. It is important to ensure the survival of our cultural institutions, to raise funds for research, to increase awareness of life-threatening illnesses and to remind those who are in need that they are not alone. 

What to you is notable?
An individual who recognizes that having a successful career is a privilege that carries with it the responsibility of leaving a positive imprint on the society that has facilitated his/her achievements.

BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
Currently BlackBerry for work purposes. But seriously looking into iPhone for my own use. I’m a big fan of Apple products.