19/02/2018 by Andy Winterburgh
Matt Rigby has 17 years of experience in internal audit, mostly in financial services and is Chairman of the IIA U.K. South Region Members' Committee. Having previously been an Audit Director and Head of the UK Bank a major US Corporation, Matt started his new job as Head of Internal Audit for the UK Banking subsidary of a Middle Eastern Group only a few weeks ago. As well as being an auditor Matt is also a qualified safari guide!
We caught up with Matt just before he started to find out why he thinks #auditiscool
Matt, welcome to the Leading Audit Interview Series,
Q: TELL US ABOUT YOUR FIRST JOB AND WHAT IS THE WORST JOB YOU’VE EVER DONE?
I’m Zimbabwean so growing up I’ve pretty much always worked on the family farm. My first paying job was at 16 working for a fried chicken shop in downtown Harare doing the late shift. My worst job was at university working in a kipper factory - I genuinely could not wash the smell off.
Q: WAS IA YOUR FIRST CAREER CHOICE AND WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE?
I actually applied to Deloitte to be a tax accountant but I said I loved “processes” and wanted to help businesses; thank goodness they pushed me to the IA service line.
Q: WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN IA?
I always wanted to make a difference and IA, if properly managed and executed, definitely offers that ability.
Q: WHAT'S A TYPICAL DAY LIKE?
The best thing about IA is the variety! We are privileged enough to look across the whole organisation and connect with the top and bottom layers of the organisation. There are no typical days as a Financial Services Head of IA; you are part of the executive running the business but you also need to learn every day. Intellectually IA is one of the most interesting jobs around.
Q: WHO OR WHAT HAS HAD THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON YOUR CAREER?
An EY partner who was interim Audit Director at Lloyd’s - he gave me some very direct feedback about how I was managing my profile and relationships. At the time I didn’t appreciate it at all but still I reflected and addressed it. He was so right I thanked him a few years later; it was the best feedback I ever got! So my advice is don’t ever be afraid of feedback, it really is a gift.
Q: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO INTERNAL AUDITORS ON DEVELOPING THEIR CAREERS?
As a Director I would advise anyone to focus on their people, grow and develop them, always seek out people that want your job and can take it from you - it will push you forward - we all rise together. At VP level it is essential to build your network in the business it helps immensely at director level to get things done. For AVPs my advice is to really learn the business, understand the product sets, its customers and how the business achieves its results.
Q: WHO INSPIRES YOU AND WHY?
Nelson Mandela is a massive inspiration for me, as an African he embodies all that is good about our continent and I loved his ability to be strong and humble at the same time.
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
I’m good at managing relationships and mobilising commitment towards my suggestions/ideas, technically I’m reasonable and have specialized around Financial Crime (Money Laundering/Sanctions) and Regulatory Compliance. I am naturally confident in my ability which I’m conscious can sometimes translate into coming across as “too laid back”. I have had to learn to manage this over time. I’m also a perfectionist and I used to be terrified of failure but I’ve learned that failure is a great learning opportunity.
Q: WHAT ARE THE COMMON QUALITIES THAT THE BEST INTERNAL AUDITORS SHARE?
Understanding people and what motivates them. IA is a relational role; good auditors need to have a high Emotional Intelligence (EQ) as well as the technical expertise.
Q: WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
When I started my last role, I did a large complex audit of insurance sales across a number of consumer businesses. Our findings resulted in a restructure of the insurance business and remediation for a number of customers - we helped the company treat customers fairly. That’s a great result because we helped manage a risk but also made the company better for customers. I’m also really proud of my team many of whom I had to make redundant over the last year due to restructuring- they all went on to great roles and I’m immensely proud of all of them.
Q: WHY DO YOU FEEL THAT CHAMPIONING INCLUSION WITHIN THE INTERNAL AUDITING PROFESSION IS SO IMPORTANT?
IA works across the whole organisation and therefore needs to be diverse to face a wide range of people and levels. I also feel IA is very much an intellectual challenge. We need diversity to problem solve, to challenge each other and to look at issues from a number of angles in order to get to a better answer.
Q: WHERE DO YOU SEE THE PROFESSION IN 10 YEARS TIME?
I’m hopeful we’ll fully adopt technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to build analytics that supports us to provide faster assurance where it’s needed. We all need to be better at understanding and exploiting the data in our organisations.
Q: WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE KEY CHALLENGES FOR INTERNAL AUDITORS IN 2018?
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), Cyber risk and maintaining that seat at the table. For the UK I’d add the risk management around Brexit for the organisation but also for our people.
Q: WHY DO YOU THINK THAT AUDIT IS COOL?
Audit is cool because no other function gives you the variety and connects you across all layers of the organisation. We take it for granted but I’ve done other roles and IA is so cool
Q: FINALLY, WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?
I have two polar opposite hobbies: fly fishing and Crossfit! I love the challenge of both.
Thank you Matt.
Hybridge is proud to support Sally Clark in her mission as Deputy President of the CIIA to spread the message that #auditiscool.
If you’d like to talk to us about how Internal Audit functions are ensuring they hire and retain top talent, or if you’re an Internal Audit professional and you’d like to work with a recruiter who understands the market, is well connected and will take time to find the right opportunity for you, get in touch with Hybridge today.
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