Taylor McCutcheon has always been a numbers person.
“In high school, I really enjoyed my geometry, algebra, and pre-calculus classes,” said McCutcheon, managing director in the Syndicated Finance group at Regions Securities.
McCutcheon entered the University of Mississippi with plans to be an engineering major, but quickly recognized that while math was a passion, science was not. She began taking basic business courses her sophomore year and after a few accounting courses and an economics course, she found her calling.
“After those classes, I realized that this was how my brain works,” McCutcheon shared. “These subjects came fairly naturally for me, and I began focusing my studies on finance.”
Last month, McCutcheon, who has built an enviable finance career over the past 15 years, was recognized with the 2022 Emerging Leader Award at the Ole Miss Banking and Finance Symposium. We sat down with her to talk about her career and her insights for women seeking to build a successful career in the competitive and often male-dominated investment banking industry.
You knew you wanted to go into finance early in your college career, how did you get your start?
I didn’t grow up in a banking family or with much exposure to the industry, so I leaned on my finance professors to learn about the types of career opportunities available in finance. During my graduate program at Ole Miss, I had an assistantship in the Dean’s office with the head of corporate relations for the School of Business. Through this assistantship and my professors, I was put in touch with alumni and other professionals, which is ultimately how I was introduced to an opportunity at Morgan Keegan (which was owned by Regions at the time), where I began my finance career.
I was at Morgan Keegan for five years, starting as an analyst and promoted to an associate in 2010 on the Corporate Debt Capital Markets team focusing on corporate bond origination. When the company was acquired by another financial firm in 2012, I stayed on for a little less than a year before I was approached with an opportunity with Regions to help build out the corporate bond origination business at Regions Securities.
You’ve built an impressive career at Regions, tell us a bit more about your path.
When I joined Regions Securities in early 2013, the team was focused on expanding its capabilities from the legacy bank loan syndications practice to a more fulsome debt capital markets platform across a range of debt products. I joined as a vice president and was charged with training the team’s junior associates on the skills to support bond origination, while I was learning the syndications business.
Within the Syndicated Finance team, we are paired with various coverage groups across the bank. From 2015-2020, I spent most of my time working with Real Estate Corporate Banking’s REIT practice; the Defense, Aerospace, and Government Services investment banking platform; and middle market and large corporate clients in roughly one-third of the bank’s footprint.
My career looks more linear than it has felt day-to-day. Over the years, our team has grown and become more specialized, and my career is now focused specifically on loan syndications.
You recently shifted to focus on commercial clients, correct?
Yes. At the beginning of 2021, it was decided that the growing Commercial Banking business would benefit from a dedicated syndications resource. Commercial clients are often family-owned businesses, some of which are experiencing their first syndications process. While this type of transaction can help set clients up for years of growth, it can be an overwhelming process.
The key is really getting to know and understand the client’s business and their objectives for the future and balancing those objectives with our risk appetite and the marketability to other financial institutions. Understanding a company’s strengths and weaknesses, especially in the face of a recession or other macroeconomic challenges, in order to create the best financing solution is at the core of what we do every day.
What advice would you give someone looking at or early in a career in finance?
As an analyst or associate, it is really about building and refining the fundamental skills. You can be the best communicator or have the best client skills, but it is important to have the technical foundation to be successful. In this type of role, it takes both analytical skills and communication skills. Investment banking isn’t particularly glamorous early on but putting in the work is what will set you up for long-term success.
Any advice specifically for young women considering investment banking?
In my finance classes, it was clear that I would be going into a male-dominated industry and that never concerned me. When I started out 15 years ago, I was the only woman on the team. We later added a couple of analysts that were women, but there were no senior women on the team. That really has evolved over the past decade. I work with more women now than ever in my career. We now have many women on the team from managing directors and directors to associates and analysts.
I have always felt very supported throughout my career and appreciate the opportunities to mentor young women coming into Regions Securities.
What does receiving the 2022 Emerging Leaders Award from your alma mater mean to you?
More than anything it was a full circle moment for me. I went to Ole Miss as a blank slate from a banking and finance perspective, and last month I was recognized for my achievements in the industry. It’s one of those moments that makes me stop and reflect on how much I’ve learned and experienced.
Ready to build your career at Regions?
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