The Journey from Financial Law to Investment Banking
Opening Doors to Opportunities
Reflecting on her time at Trafalgar Castle School, Lynn Maxwell (Class of 1987) could never have fathomed the profound influence her experience at the Castle would have on nurturing her confidence and fueling her determination as a successful woman in the finance world.
After graduating from Trafalgar Castle School in 1987, Lynn Maxwell attended McGill University, where she earned an Honours BA in Political Science before completing her Law Degree at Western University and a year abroad at Paris 1 University.
As a young associate, Lynn began practicing law at Stikeman Elliott LLPS in Toronto and Budapest, Hungary, before accepting a senior associate position at Clifford Chance based in London, England, in 1998.
“You never know where your career will lead you,” said Lynn. “You need to be open to new possibilities and opportunities as your career grows.”
As a finance lawyer, Lynn interacted with investment bankers while working on global markets, mergers, acquisitions, business development and bond markets. So, the progression to investment banking was a natural fit. The more Lynn learned about the financial world, the more she was drawn to it. Lynn embarked on a journey to earn the qualifications to become an investment banker and transitioned careers.
“Having a background in law is a great foundation for lots of jobs,” noted Lynn. “Both industries are interesting, but ultimately, I was drawn to the fast pace and challenge that investment banking offers. Plus, investment banking opportunities occur in large and dynamic cities such as London, Toronto and New York City – which in itself brings lots of energy and culture.”
Lynn is the Chief Commercial Officer at S&P Global in London, England and runs a team of 300 professionals focused on business development, relationship management, product development, investor relationships and marketing. “I start my morning with calls in Asia and finish my day with calls in the United States,” said Lynn. “I love working with people from all over the world, cultures and different markets – it’s very interesting.”
Lynn is most proud of projects and initiatives that help people access financial well-being for global perspectives and growing opportunities for financial wealth. For example, opportunities for women who do not currently look at investments to grow their personal wealth and influence. “It’s important to consider deploying your savings or investing in areas that are important to you – such as sustainability or diversity. This will have a bigger influence than driving an electric car for example,” said Lynn.
Another tip Lynn suggested was investing in female-owned and founded companies. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Women are massively under-represented among both venture-backed entrepreneurs and venture capital investors, with companies founded solely by women receiving less than 3% of all venture capital investments and women accounting for less than 15% of check-writers” (Harvard Business Review, p. 1, February 1, 2023).
“Do your research and invest in companies or causes that matter to you,” said Lynn. “Whether its women founded, sustainability or diversity, equity and inclusion – just make sure the companies are committed and actually show they are committed to these areas that matter to you.”
When asked how Lynn’s experience at Trafalgar prepared her for life beyond the Castle, she added, “An education at a school for girls is great for building your confidence. You are in a safe and welcoming environment at Trafalgar. This, along with the smaller class sizes and close-knit community, allows you to learn beyond the curriculum and develop strong relationships with fellow students.”
The life-long relationships and confidence are shared traits for success among every Trafalgar student and alumna. “Take advantage of your time at Trafalgar by trying all the different programs, sports and clubs,” said Lynn. “It’s a great environment to learn and discover what you like or dislike, but more importantly, you can build on the things you enjoy.”
Lynn added, “By learning different skills, you become more agile and open to innovation, and with the introduction of artificial intelligence in the workforce, what will always be of value is innovation.”
Lynn Maxwell, Class of 1987 alumna and former Trafalgar Board Member. Her favourite
Trafalgar memories are being a member of Maxwell House (of course) and May Day, as well as preparing for the march around the heart. When she is not working, Lynn can be found exercising on her Pelton with her trainer of choice, Coby Rigsby, walking and gardening.
She is also actively fundraising and volunteering as a member of the Board of Trustees at 1001Fontainesuk, an organization committed to providing lifelong access to clean drinking water using sustainable models that are community-owned and managed to improve the lives of children and families in countries such as Cambodia, Madagascar, Myanmar and Vietnam.