Erik is a Manager in the asset management group in the Cayman Islands firm of PwC. He completed his articling with PwC Vancouver, Canada in 2012 and came to the Cayman Islands through a global mobility assignment. While being at the Cayman Islands firm, he has worked in the audit group and fund referred reporting engagement group.
Q: How was the transition from PwC Vancouver to PwC Cayman Islands?
After settling on the island and starting work, I began working with the funds group. I had no previous experience with funds, but through the office’s training program and some hard work I familiarized myself and felt comfortable much faster than I thought I would. In the year I’ve been here, I can easily say my experience while being here was exactly what I was looking for from an international move.
Within the office and in Grand Cayman, there is an extensive community of people from a variety of backgrounds. Although, everyone comes from a variety of places, this community shares the desire to experience something new. Because of that, meeting people and building strong friendships is very easy. In our first year here, we have developed friendships that will last a lifetime.
Q: How different is your experience between the audit group and fund referred reporting engagement group?
Working in the audit group you have direct exposure with the client and administrator, whereas in the fund referred reporting group we discuss the audit results with the performing PwC audit firm. This makes the dynamics very different between the two of them. In the fund referred reporting group we review the performing firms audit results and the financial statements rather than directly performing the audit procedures.
I am from Southampton, UK where I have completed my schooling, university and started my career with PwC. Having always lived in Southampton, moving to Cayman was an adventurous move for me! With a 48hour deadline to confirm, I jumped into the deep end and accepted a position.
As a newly married, my wife and I literally felt we have arrived at honeymoon destination part 2 when we first arrived - beautiful beaches, magical sunsets and clear waters. It was nice to be by the water again, since my office in Southampton was also based looking out onto the Dockyard.
The most impressive part of the process was having the PwC buddy meet us at the airport. Everything was so well organized – car, hotel, money, phone. This facilitated us to be able to then venture out explore the island and organize ourselves for the long-term.
I was surprised by the number of social activities organized by PwC. Both my wife and I found that people were generally friendly, welcoming and helpful to those new on the island. The wonderful thing is how easy it is to get to know people, you can speak to anyone when out and about and people are very inviting.
Not being from a Funds background, the initial training was to a high standard which gave me a kick start to the steep learning curve. Working with a high quality driven office department is highly motivating.
I have already had some great experiences whilst living in Cayman. On island, this includes water sports and experiencing sea life. Off island, I have been able to travel to neighboring countries such as Jamaica and Cuba to experience raw culture (which includes the Bob Marley museum of course!) as well as jetting off to Miami and New York to get my dose of city life and shopping for the Mrs!
I would recommend PwC Cayman to friends and others that are considering a secondment. The advantage of coming to the island is that it does not take long to adjust and become comfortable. The PwC community is very welcoming and enjoyable to socialize with, and experiences gained are invaluable.
I moved to PwC Cayman from the PwC Bucharest office in Romania. I joined the PwC Bucharest office in Romania in 2008 upon graduation from the Banking & Stock Exchange department at the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest. I worked with PwC Romania within the Financial Services Group for 4 years in the audit practice while studying for the ACCA qualification.
Those 4 years shaped me as a professional as I was fortunate to work with a group of people who were not only highly skilled and with a great deal of experience to share, but also amazing personalities who put the PwC values in practice every day. Many of my co-workers came to Romania from other PwC offices on secondments and their experience and encouragement lead me to seek out my own international opportunity. PwC Cayman seemed like the perfect choice for me, being a world renowned financial centre in a natural Caribbean haven.
Though it took some time to get used to the new office, being from PwC made it so much easier for me to fit in as the audit practice is very much consistent across different regions and working with people coming from different countries was not new to me either. I was also happy to find here the same environment of dedicated and skilled but also friendly and supportive people as I was used to, which in my opinion makes PwC such a great place to work.
I was not much of a traveller before so moving to the Cayman Islands was a challenge for me and I expected it to take time for me to adjust to a new place, new people and a new office. It turned out that getting used to this small island is incredibly easy, everything you need is within 10-15 minutes drive, people are very sociable, there is a huge group of expats from all over the world living here with or without their families (including Romanians), and everyone is used to the yearly cycle of people coming or leaving the island. In 2012, the Forbes magazine survey rated the Cayman Islands the friendliest country in the world.
While enjoying a good work-life balance and great weather most of the time, the move to the Caymans meant a whole new life of outdoor activities for me, such as scuba diving, swimming, exercising, or just spending time out with friends on the beach.
I always wanted to learn to salsa dance and pursued this passion shortly after moving to Cayman by starting lessons and I am very proud of my progress after one year. Another passion of mine is riding motorcycles and I bought my first bike here on the island. I have to say, the view is amazing and riding the motorcycle around the island is quite an experience!
My secondment with PwC Cayman has been a rewarding experience, both professionally and personally and I would recommend that everyone consider challenging themselves with an international secondment in Cayman or elsewhere.
While we are not actually going through client records sipping on a piña colada on the beach (as I was asked by an overseas client), every weekend is like a vacation!