High-ranking banking executives hold positions of tremendous responsibility. They must make numerous decisions that often significantly affect the financial bottom line of their clients and employers. To assist in meeting these demands, they need secretaries, more commonly called executive assistants. These administrative professionals serve as the right hand of their bosses, performing both administrative tasks and strategic duties to help their bosses succeed.
At a distance, the role of a banking executive’s secretary may seem menial. These individuals draft correspondence, such as interoffice memos, client letters and personal emails. They answer telephones and make calls on behalf of their bosses. They schedule appointment and manage calendars, instructing executives on where to be, when and with whom. They greet guests, plan office functions, and, in some environments, run bankers’ personal errands.
Secretaries work very closely with banking executives for long hours each day. In fact, they may spend more time with their bosses than anyone else. As a result, it is not uncommon for the role to morph from that of a basic administrator to that of a de facto confidant. Prior to meetings, for example, secretaries may perform research. By compiling background information on attendees, they can brief executives so that they are better prepared for their appointments. They may review their bosses' work, such as written documents or speeches, checking for inaccuracies or typos. A secretary’s job is to make sure that a banking executive looks good.
Soft Skill Set
A banking executive’s secretary is required to draw upon a variety of soft skills and basic office knowledge to accomplish daily tasks. Computer literacy, for example, is a must, as most correspondence and records, such as spreadsheets, emails and databases, are created and maintained electronically. Secretaries must also be able to successfully interact with professionals of all levels, because, as their bosses’ gatekeepers, they must interact with banking executives’ peers, subordinates and managers. Organization is equally important, for a secretary must be able to retrieve information, such as documents or telephone numbers, at a moment's notice.
Secretaries must possess, at minimum, a high school diploma. It is not uncommon, however, for banking executives to give preference or even require candidates for the position to possess a bachelor’s degree. Financial industry experience is sometimes necessary, as knowledge of the terminology and best practices is used on a day-to-day basis.