“I’m a Portfolio Administrator at a registered investment advisory firm, Meyer Capital Management.”
“So… you’re a secretary?”
“No, actually. I’m not a secretary.”
There is a stereotype, across various industries, that all administrative professionals are secretaries. This attitude isn’t always fair for individuals, such as myself, whose titles encompass the word “administrator,” since we are much more than secretaries. So what gave the title such a bad reputation?
A secretary is traditionally defined as a person employed to handle correspondence and perform routine work in a business office, usually involving taking dictation, typing, filing, and the like. At the turn of the century, with industrial expansion in full swing, “traditional secretaries” were robustly present in the job market. This prompted the formation of the National Secretaries Association in 1942. Today, this organization is known as the International Association of Administrative Professionals, creating a connection between traditional secretaries and administrative professionals. While traditional secretaries of the past and administrative professionals of today may share a few of the same job duties, the traditional secretary definition doesn’t hit the mark.
Being an effective administrator is what contributes to a company’s efficiency – the true nature of the role. The skills required to be an effective administrative professional in the 21st century vary widely from person to person and across industries. While I cannot speak for every administrative professional, I can tell you what being a Portfolio Administrator at MCM means. For me, working as an administrator means being intimately involved with all the happenings of the company and anticipating the needs of our clients and the business – not just answering phones and sifting through mail. Yes, basic clerical abilities are applied for certain tasks. However, to be an effective administrator, I must be articulate, have an understanding of investment terminology and industry trends, and keep up with technology.
Articulation is a must. Often at MCM, a member of the Administrative Team is the first point of contact for clients, guests, vendors, etc. Those points of contact set the tone for current or future relationships. Communicating intelligently with clarity and conciseness, as well as correctly using vocabulary benefits everyone by avoiding misinterpretation. For these reasons, being articulate and familiar with investment terminology go hand-in-hand at MCM.
Although I am not a member of the Investment Team, it is crucial to my success as an administrator that I am well versed in investment terminology. This familiarity allows me to keep up and contribute to internal conversations. More importantly, knowledge of industry terminology enables me to appropriately respond to questions, interpret problems or direct specific inquiries to the proper expert. If I can’t answer your question, I’ll be sure to point you in the right direction of one of my colleagues.
Industry trends are another important focus of administrators at MCM. We constantly follow breaking news and industry updates. Regardless of whether it is a story that lasts a day, an upcoming Federal Open Market Committee meeting or industry-wide regulatory item, keeping up with trends is key to staying ahead of the curve and being prepared to field unexpected inquiries. Understanding the present and potential future is critical to ensure that opportunities are not missed.
Technology is fundamental to business operations and is constantly changing. Because of this, awareness and comfort with available technology is important to the overall efficiency of the company. MCM administrators work with technology providers to facilitate innovative changes that benefit clients and staff. I am not an IT expert, however, as an administrator I work to guarantee that our technology is running smoothly without hiccups. It’s advantageous to be as tech-savvy as possible.
The presence of these skills, and many more, are what make me an effective administrator. Although administrative roles are not typically the most prestigious of a business, they do represent the backbone of an organization. Administrative employees are often the link between various teams and ensure the smooth flow of information and day-to-day operations. This is often why people recognize administrators as the “go-to” person, both internally and externally. Administrative individuals aren’t just supporting players in an organization – they’re equally critical to an organization’s success.