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Puneet Redu: From BITS Pilani to Vice President at Barclays – A Financial Journey of Excellence

Puneet Redu: From BITS Pilani to Vice President at Barclays - A Financial Journey of Excellence

* Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.

Puneet Redu, a graduate of BITS Pilani (Pilani, ‘10), holds a Masters in Economics. With extensive experience in the financial services industry, Puneet excels in areas such as Model Validation, Model Risk Audit, Market Risk, and Independent Pricing Verification (IPV Valuation Control). Currently serving as Vice President at Barclays in New York, Puneet has previously held positions as AVP at Barclays and Associate Director at UBS, among others. His academic background and professional expertise make him a valuable asset in the finance sector.

How has your life been, and what is the story behind your journey to becoming a Vice President at Barclays?

I joined the BITS Pilani campus in 2010 in the MSc Economics program. My journey to becoming a Vice President at Barclays has been shaped by a combination of diverse experiences, continuous learning, and a passion for the financial industry. Throughout my career, I've worked in multiple teams and immersed myself in various aspects of banking and finance.

Early on, I gained valuable insights into financial markets and products while working with the Interest Rate Derivatives desk. This experience gave me a solid foundation in understanding complex financial instruments and their implications on market dynamics.

Transitioning into Market Risk Management, I developed a keen understanding of the importance of risk management in banking operations. I collaborated with teams to assess and mitigate market risks, ensuring the organization could navigate volatile market conditions effectively.

My involvement in Model Validation further deepened my expertise as I worked closely with quantitative analysts to assess the accuracy and reliability of financial models. This role honed my analytical skills and attention to detail, which are crucial for navigating financial modeling and risk assessment intricacies.

In my most recent role in Model Risk Audit, I had the opportunity to combine my technical knowledge with a focus on governance and compliance. I led audits to evaluate the effectiveness of model risk management frameworks, identifying areas for improvement and implementing best practices to enhance model risk governance.

Throughout these experiences, I've embraced challenges, embraced growth opportunities, and demonstrated a commitment to excellence in everything I do. My journey to Vice President at Barclays has been characterized by a relentless pursuit of knowledge, a dedication to teamwork, and a passion for driving positive change in the financial industry.

Can you discuss the importance of mentorship in your career and how mentors have helped you navigate the challenges?

During my days in BITS, I still remember the invaluable guidance I received from A K Giri Sir, Bhupendra K Sharma Sir, and my elder sister Preeti Redu (also a BITSian), who now works as Vice President with Citi Bank London. Mentorship plays a pivotal role in career development, offering guidance, support, and valuable insights to help individuals navigate their professional journey's complexities. From the outset of my career journey, I've been fortunate to have received unwavering guidance and support from senior management, which has been instrumental in my growth and development.

With your experience spanning various roles in consulting and Banking, what motivated you to pursue a career in the banking sector, particularly with Barclays?

In my opinion, both Consulting and Banking provide tremendous career and growth opportunities. I was particularly drawn to Barclays because of its long history of driving positive change and innovation in the financial industry. The opportunity to work alongside some of the brightest minds in the industry and contribute to Barclays' continued success is incredibly motivating to me. Overall, my decision to pursue a career in banking, specifically with Barclays, stems from my passion for Banking, coupled with the opportunity to be part of a dynamic and forward-looking organization shaping the future of banking.

What do you consider to be the most significant challenges facing the banking industry today?

It won’t be fair to put this in a few words because the Banking industry is the backbone of any economy. Therefore, it is natural to see challenges stemming from, but not limited to, cyber security threats, regulatory compliance, financial crime and Fraud, and Economic Uncertainty. However, what’s more important is how we learn from our past mistakes and work on solutions and remediation for the challenges we face.

Speaking of the area where I specialize, i.e., Model Risk Management, there are challenges in managing Model Risk for AI-ML Models. Specifically, Implementing AI and ML models for Model Risk Management presents unique challenges for banks and financial institutions. These models, while powerful, often lack transparency and interpretability, making it difficult to assess their inner workings and potential limitations. Ensuring data quality and addressing biases in training data is crucial, as AI and ML models heavily rely on data inputs. Additionally, regulatory compliance poses a significant challenge, as banks must navigate stringent guidelines and standards while demonstrating model validity and reliability. Model interpretability and explainability remain vital concerns, necessitating the development of techniques to enhance understanding and transparency. Moreover, the dynamic nature of these models requires robust monitoring mechanisms to detect model drift and recalibrate models as needed. Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive approach to governance, data management, regulatory compliance, and talent development within banks' model risk management frameworks.

How do you stay updated with the latest trends and developments in finance in such a rapidly evolving industry?

I stay updated on the latest trends in finance by reading industry publications, both from within the company and external sources. Many organizations also provide training to keep employees informed about new developments in banking and finance. This helps me stay knowledgeable and adapt to changes in the industry.

Are there any specific certifications, training programs, or professional associations you recommend for individuals looking to enhance their skills and marketability in Modeling and Risk Management?

For those aiming to bolster their expertise in Modeling and Risk Management, pursuing globally recognized certifications and training programs is crucial. Certifications like FRM, CQF, and CFA offer comprehensive coverage of risk management, quantitative finance, and investment analysis, respectively. Additionally, specialized programs such as the MScFE from institutions like WorldQuant University provide focused training in financial engineering. Active involvement in professional associations further enhances networking and learning opportunities.