Tanya Castell is a sucessful senior business woman and holds a portfolio of non executive directorship and trustee roles; a non executive director of Newedge UK Financial Ltd (a major global multi-asset brokerage firm), Multrees Investor Services (a specialist provider of services for investment managers and family offices) and Scottish Canals (which owns and operates canals and other inland waterways in Scotland). She is also chair of Soirbheas, a community charity in the Highlands. She chairs the Risk Committee of Newedge UK and the Audit and Risk Committee of Scottish Canals. She also sits on two Law Society of Scotland regulatory sub-committees. Tanya has twice been a pension trustee, is a former director of the City Women’s Club board and used to be a school governor for a primary school in East London.
I met Tanya as we are both active members of a group called Scottish Changing the Chemistry, which she leads, and which is looking to make Scottish boards more diverse. Tanya recently shared her own board journey with the group.
Tanya has over 25 years’ experience in financial services, during which time she developed extensive risk and regulatory expertise. In addition to her board activities, she undertakes risk-related consultancy work, focusing on organisational dynamics and risk culture, particularly from the board perspective. Previously she held senior executive positions across different areas of the risk spectrum within both commercial and investment, predominantly blue-chip, banks. She has been responsible for implementing a variety of organisation-wide risk/regulatory change programmes including addressing cultural change and has dealt with regulators in a number of jurisdictions.
Having studied Computer Science at St John’s College, Cambridge University, Tanya started her career with JP Morgan in investment banking, moving on to UBS Investment Bank in 1994. She has used the expertise and experience gained at a senior executive level, to secure her portfolio of
Tanya first started to think about NED roles when she and her husband considered moving to Scotland. She advocates understanding and being able to articulate clearly the motivation in wanting to become a NED rather than a senior executive. In her later years at UBS Tanya put herself forward as a member nominated pension trustee (MNT) which gave her governance experience. In parallel she had also found a position on a school board and chaired the Finance Committee. In 2010 Tanya secured a position with HBOS, again as an MNT and then in 2011 a further position as Chair of a community windfarm project
One of Tanya’s strengths is as a networker, and she stresses the importance of building a strong support network when building a portfolio and also the importance of enjoying networking.
Tanya also feels that you need to be upfront about your skills if you want to succeed; making clear what ‘value add ‘ you would bring to a board.
When asked about barriers to becoming a NED, Tanya answered, “The catch-22 that experience as a NED is almost a prerequisite to becoming a NED. My experience on a charity board and as a pension trustee helped and for the private sector roles, extensive networking introduced me to opportunities where my risk skills were particularly valued.”