This 23 year-old knocked on the door of a BlackRock fund manager in London's wealthiest neighbourhood and found himself launched into a career in finance

  • Reggie Nelson was a promising soccer player from a social housing estate in London who ended up getting a job in finance against the odds.
  • At the age 17, Nelson knocked on the doors of dozens of houses in London’s wealthiest neighbourhood, Kensington, following the death of his father and met a BlackRock manager who encouraged him to apply for a career in finance.
  • After an internship at Blackrock, Nelson moved to Legal and General Investment Management in London.

A career in finance is often restricted to the society’s elite, with private schooling and top level education often a pre-requisite for success. For Reggie Nelson, an analyst at Legal and General Investment Management, it was hard work and persistence which led to a career in the City of London.

Following the death of his father aged 17, Reggie – a promising soccer player from an east London social housing estate – decided to travel across the city to one of its richest neighbourhoods, Kensington, to canvas ideas for making money.

To anyone who answered, he said: “I just wanted to know what skills and qualities you had that allowed you to live in a wealthy area like this so I can extrapolate that and use it for myself,” Nelson said in an interview with Financial News.

Despite numerous rejections from the occupants of the huge, million dollar homes that line the streets of Kensington, Reggie met Quintin Price, then an influential fund manager at BlackRock.

That conversation was to alter the course of Nelson’s life. Price arranged for him to attend a training day for undergraduates at BlackRock’s headquarters in London three months later.

The rest, as they say, is history. Reggie took Quintin’s advice to go to university and graduated from Kingston University with a 2:1 in economics and Mandarin. He subsequently took on roles at peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle before taking a role as an analyst at Legal and General, one of the UK’s largest asset managers.

Reggie has since become a mentor to other young people wanting to break into the ivory tower of finance – echoing advice passed on to him by Quintin way back in 2014.

Now 23, Reggie says that Quintin is something of a father figure to him and is in constant contact with the former Blackrock manager who he says never helped him financially.

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