Three recruits on their start at regulatory consultancy ACE

12 November 2019 4 min. read

ACE Company specialises in regulatory change consulting for financial sector clients. Three recent recruits – Fouad Ben Masoud, Pieter Vrieleman, and Ananda da Silva – talked with about their start at the firm.

Primarily serving banks, insurance companies, asset managers, pension funds and supervisory bodies, ACE Company is a boutique regulatory change consultancy based in the Netherlands which brings together deep experience in laws and regulations, the financial sector, and complex change management scenarios.

“ACE is a unique consultancy firm, and its passion for meaningful and effective change is what draws me to it,” said Da Silva on her motivation to join the firm as a junior consultant. Ben Masoud, who has previously served two of the Big Four, as an intern and junior consultant, and came on board as a senior consultant from a leading Dutch bank, cites the learning curve as a major pull; “I’m exposed to strategy, structure, management, and the operations of big financial institutions.”

The third of the new hires, Vrieleman, who joined ACE as a junior consultant after a work experience stint at another of the Big Four, was also motivated by the varied and consistently challenging role. “My specific choice for regulatory consulting is related to the enormous variety of stakeholders who you will have to deal with in the organisations with which we work,” said Vrieleman, who further noted the copious issues financial institutions are currently facing.

With the sector increasingly swamped under the weight of a growing regulatory burden, the challenge of compliance and change management, the impact that can be made in the financial services segment is another common motivating factor among the ACE cadets; “We are helping our clients solve complex and important issues in a strategic and structural manner,” said da Silva, who is alongside her consulting work currently studying a MSc in Business Administration and Management.  

Ben Masoud takes up the thread, and how this contemporary landscape shapes the work of the ACE consultants; “These institutions are facing complex regulatory and business challenges which demand pro-active behavior to re-evaluate the end-to-end value chain. As a consultant, you hit the ground running and create a workable structure to ensure that you’re being effective, but you also need to remain flexible to throw it all overboard and adapt as new insights appear.”

And hit the ground running they have. After a brief period of familiarisation on a number of internal projects, getting to know the team and ACE’s organisational culture, Da Silva shortly after found herself on her first external assignment as part of a small team at one of the largest Dutch insures – on what she described as an ‘exciting’ project. Being part of typically small and nimble team also means that she has had the opportunity to meaningfully contribute.

“It is very inspiring to be at ACE at the moment as we are all contributing towards its expansion, which is a great opportunity.”

Vrieleman meanwhile describes his first two months as having flown by, involved in several projects from the first day and being thrown “right in the middle of the action”, while Ben Masoud says his first project at ACE – a big, regulatory-driven programme at a bank with an impact on the end-to-end chain – is more than he could have hoped for, requiring not just subject matter expertise but the chance to flex his soft skills in guiding the behavioral transformation.

The trio all make the point that ACE hasn’t just left them to sink or swim. “Combining work with studies is not an easy task,” said Da Silva. “Fortunately, I have great internal support from my mentors, providing me valuable insights on how to balance studies with my career aspirations.” Vrieleman added; “I also see the accessibility of all my colleagues as a big plus. I am able to make direct use of all the experience that is available.”

“It is very inspiring to be at ACE at the moment as we are all contributing towards its expansion, which is a great opportunity,” Da Silva said on a concluding note. “ACE’s values and mission resonates with my values and competences and I feel positive about my career choice. It is rewarding to see the value add we deliver to clients.” As for Ben Masoud’s final thoughts; “Being surrounded all the time with creative and knowledgeable people from both the ACE team and the client is terrific.”