Edinburgh Napier takes great pride in fostering partnerships with alumni-run organisations. Euan Atkinson graduated in 1999 and immediately joined Balmoral Asset Management’s graduate scheme. Over 20 years later, Euan is now a director at the wealth management firm and returns to the University on an annual basis to award prizes to the top performing finance and economics students. Euan and 2019 prize winner, Cameron Clark, tell us more!

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The Edinburgh Napier and Balmoral Asset Management partnership  

Balmoral Asset Management and Edinburgh Napier University’s long-spanning partnership began in 1999.  This was the year the wealth management firm was founded; and the University’s BA(Hons) Financial Services course had its first graduating cohort.  

One of these graduates was Euan Atkinson. After Euan completed his studies at Edinburgh Napier, he joined Balmoral’s brand-new graduate scheme. He’s remained at the firm ever since and has risen through the ranks to hold the position of Director.  

Euan and Cameron standing outside Balmoral Asset Management Balmoral Asset Management is forward-thinking and a prime example of this is their eagerness to foster links with Edinburgh Napier. Since 2009, they have awarded a series of graduation prizes which recognise excellence in Financial Services Management and Economics & Management. They also frequently employ interns from the University.  

This 20-year partnership has enabled them to secure access to talented graduates and has allowed Euan to give back to a University he enjoyed so much.  

One of the prizes Balmoral award is the John Troy Memorial Trophy. John Troy was Head of Accounting, Economics and Statistics at Edinburgh Napier during Euan’s time at the University. He was a mentor and friend to Euan and passed away a year before the prize was established. John understood the merit in fostering relationships with business and Euan felt it was right to name the award in his memory.  

The John Troy Memorial Trophy gets awarded to the best performing honours graduate in Economics with Management. The 2019 winner was Cameron Clark. Having met Cameron on graduation day, Euan was keen to secure him within the firm and Cameron joined Balmoral’s graduate scheme in January 2020.  

Keep reading to learn more about Euan and Cameron!

Q&A with Euan Atkinson 

Why did you choose to study at Edinburgh Napier?  
The degree I undertook at Napier was tailor made for the type career I was looking for in Financial Services and that was what appealed to me most of all.  The fact that the degree content was current, relevant and appropriate for the employment market was attractive.  I spent several months on placement as part of my degree with a stockbroking Edinburgh-based business and continued to work there on a part-time basis for the remainder of my degree.  When I graduated, I felt I was well prepared for a career in finance but, more importantly, had a skill set that made me more employable. 
What do you do at Balmoral Asset Management?    
Euan and Cameron in seated around a table, looking at a document I am responsible for the wealth and investment management of a portfolio of clients in the firm.  In terms of what this means, it is quite literally everything to grow and preserve the wealth of those individuals and their families; from tax planning, investment management strategies, estate planning, liaising with their accountants and solicitors.  A large part of what we do here at Balmoral Asset Management is focused on intergenerational planning, so we are often working with various generations within the same family.  I meet a huge variety of people and we are lucky enough to be able to help clients meet their goals and ambitions which is extremely satisfying.  

Having been with the firm now for 21 years, I have quite literally worked in every aspect of the business since I started on the graduate programme!  My journey has been varied, but the one aspect that has remained a constant is the engagement I have had with clients.  This was still the case even in the earlier stage of my career when I was working my way through the professional qualifications, so I’ve always felt involved in the client process which is something I enjoy. 
What advice would you give to your younger self? 
The clients we work with tend to be very successful people.  As well as being passionate about what they do, they all have habits that helped make them successful.  Learning the habits of successful people would be my advice and these are often fairly simple things that we can all learn from.

Q&A with Cameron Clark  

Why did you choose to study at Edinburgh Napier? 
As other members of my family have studied in Edinburgh, I knew relatively early on that the city of Edinburgh was where I wanted to continue my studies.  Edinburgh Napier offered a course that suited me perfectly, as well as having a highly regarded reputation as a Business School. Combining these factors together, studying Economics and Management at Edinburgh Napier was the logical choice – and in hindsight a great decision!  
What was your time at the University like? 
Euan and Cameron on graduation dayI had a tremendous time as an Edinburgh Napier student. My university experience had some incredibly tough times, and late nights behind a computer alongside countless enjoyable times with friends new and old. Edinburgh Napier was able to enhance my experience through the continuous support from my course leaders and through the excellent facilities provided, both academic and co-curricular.   
Describe your experience of taking part in the Balmoral Asset Management Graduate Training Programme. What do you enjoy the most?  
Balmoral has provided a stimulating and challenging, professional environment to begin my career. Working in a relatively small organisation has allowed me to experience all aspects of the business and gain a deeper understanding in a relatively short time.  

Balmoral invests a great deal of time and effort into ensuring their employees have a profound understanding of all aspects of investments and wealth management. From the outset, graduates are made to feel valued and included as an integral part of the team.  

Since joining the Graduate Training Programme in January, the world has changed significantly which has had a major impact on the way business has been carried out at Balmoral, as well as the obvious effects coronavirus has had on financial markets and our clients. As a trainee, times like these can be used in a positive way and a fantastic learning opportunity, witnessing how Balmoral has adapted and overcome these challenges.  

During my time so far with Balmoral, I have most enjoyed attending client meetings alongside the advisors. This has allowed me to witness firsthand the real-life application of the theoretical principals, skills and knowledge referred to in my Diploma studies.  

I have been fortunate enough to secure through Balmoral’s Graduate Training Programme, a career that provides me with the challenge and enjoyment I was looking for.  
What advice would you give to your younger self when you first started Edinburgh Napier? 
The single most valuable piece of advice I would give anyone considering studying at Edinburgh Napier University is to take every opportunity afforded to them.  This may mean exploring the extensive range of student clubs, associations and societies that are available.  The social aspect of university is almost as important as the academics aspect, and finding a balance can be tricky at times, but these opportunities certainly add another valuable dimension to your student life.  

In addition, I would encourage my younger self to network at every opportunity. Edinburgh Napier’s business faculty provides numerous events and functions that are designed to encourage you to meet professionals, from a range of businesses, in various roles. These networking events are a valuable way to develop an understanding of the wide variety of careers that your degree can open up to you and they also create career opportunities that your academics alone may not provide. 

Meet the 2021 John Troy Memorial Trophy winner!

Izabela Golebiewska was awarded the John Troy Memorial Trophy in 2021. Learn more about her below!
How was your Edinburgh Napier experience?

I had a productive and enjoyable time at Edinburgh Napier! I specifically chose to study at ENU because the content of the course had been carefully designed to meet the requirements of accounting professional bodies. 

During my time at Edinburgh Napier, I expanded my accounting and finance knowledge. But more importantly, I made friends and got to know many inspiring academics. I also liked how the University has a strong focus on developing employability skills among students and preparing them to apply for their first professional role. Taking all these into account, studying at Edinburgh Napier was a great choice!

How does it feel to win the John Troy Memorial Prize?

It feels great! Being awarded The John Troy Memorial Trophy for my dissertation - the most significant, challenging and time-consuming piece of work during my whole studies - feels very fulfilling. 

I am also glad that I had an opportunity to meet Heather from Balmoral Asset Management and learn about the company and its partnership with Edinburgh Napier University. The John Troy Memorial Prize is such a great initiative from Balmoral Asset Management and the history behind the Prize is very inspiring. Interestingly, John Troy was head of statistics at ENU – my interest in this area was sparked while undertaking my research project to the point that I decided to study it further.

What are your plans for the future?

I have recently started my role as a Graduate Trainee Accountant at The City of Edinburgh Council. I am looking forward to learning and developing professionally within the organisation.

My plans for the future are associated with pursuing my long-term goal of becoming a qualified accountant and getting relevant experience in the field. In the next few years, I have the plan to work and study towards The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) professional qualifications. I hope these qualifications will provide me with the quality knowledge and skills to provide accountancy support and contribute positively to Council’s public finances.

Published October 2020

Updated October 2021