Inspiring Women: Vivian Ngan, Bridgepoint Credit
“I wanted to be in the driving seat”
Vivian Ngan is an Investment Director at Bridgepoint Credit. She joined the team in 2016, and mainly focuses on direct lending strategies – deal origination and execution. Finding interesting opportunities to invest in, then leading them through to execution is her day job. Here we find out what makes Vivian tick professionally, and her thoughts on what might attract and retain more women in private equity.
What gets you up in the morning?
Beyond my morning coffee…the opportunity to keep learning something new, to keep growing, make investments, but also build relationships with people. Of course, it used to be more face-to-face, but with video conferencing, I can catch up with people more regularly. And that has been an unexpected bonus.
What are the challenges of your role?
I don’t think it’s the role per se, but something that’s become more challenging is juggling different work streams and taking on too much. As you progress, the types and nature of work that you get involved in expand. It’s been important to find a balance and to ask myself: where should I spend my time and where can I add the most value? Then it’s about concentrating on those tasks. To prioritise, I focus on shorter-term goals, such as origination. I’ll set myself a target of one to two network calls or meetings a week when I am not on a deal. It’s a tangible goal – not too high level and achievable.
You clearly work hard. Have you managed to find a rhythm?
I do work hard, but I think the intensity fluctuates. If you’re on a live deal there are urgent deadlines, but there are other work streams that keep the rhythm more steady. Once you’ve invested, you need to monitor your portfolio companies. It is that rhythm which is one of the main things I like about my job.
What attracted you to private equity?
The prospect of being an investor is intellectually stimulating and it has huge variety. You learn about a large number of industries and companies and drive commercial decisions. I used to be a finance lawyer, and while on a legal secondment with my current team, I saw how they analysed opportunities that drove decisions around the deals and it made me understand the why. And it made me want to be in that driving seat. I’ve never regretted my switch; no two days are the same.
Have you had mentors and sponsors during your career?
I’ve always been very lucky in that I’ve had a number of formal and informal mentors over the years – all with very different perspectives, who have supported me throughout my career. I have sponsors in my firm who fight my corner and champion my career. Mentors and sponsors have been hugely important to me. Level 20’s mentoring scheme is great. A lot of time is spent on pairing mentors and mentees together, which is hugely important. I enjoyed all the supporting materials that were shared so everyone gets the most out of the experience. What I really loved was the network with fellow mentees. There are monthly sessions for everyone to get together. And it’s really nice to have a mentor outside your firm, who you can talk to objectively about your career and industry.