Greetings from Alumni: Jesse Collin, Head of Legal and Regulatory Affairs at the Finnish Foundation for Share Promotion
16 June 2021
This time in our Greetings from Alumni series we will meet our alumnus Jesse Collin, who works as head of legal and regulatory affairs at the Finnish Foundation for Share Promotion (Pörssisäätiö). Jesse has a strong background in corporate governance and capital markets regulation. In addition, he holds a Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Helsinki. During his time at Hannes between 2012 and 2019, Jesse worked first as a trainee and later as an associate in our M&A team.
Hi Jesse, how has the first half of the year been for you?
Thank you for asking! The first half of the year has been quite amazing despite the ongoing pandemic. I have been lucky as my family and closest friends have stayed healthy and I have always been an advocate for remote work.
I usually spend my spare time by the ocean or on the mountains as I love outdoor activities, such as skiing and kitesurfing. So, due to the whole world working remotely, we relocated ourselves to Lapland for the first half of the year. Compared to the old way of working at the office, it still feels unreal that after a workday I can hike fells or ski in the wild. Having a meaningful career and great quality of life has always been a goal for me, and this year I have actually achieved it better than ever before.
You have recently started in a new role at the Finnish Foundation for Share Promotion (Pörssisäätiö). Could you tell us a bit about what is included in your work as head of legal and regulatory affairs?
Our goal is to promote retail investments and develop the securities markets in Finland by raising public awareness about the securities markets through publications, research, and education. In addition, we support academic research and actively participate in law-making.
In short, my goal is to actively participate in law-making with an aim to promote the development of better functioning capital markets and corporate governance with a special focus on retail investments. This involves, among other things, active participation in the legislative working groups of the Finnish ministries and providing expert advice to the Finnish Parliament.
In addition to national legislative initiatives, I keep an eye on and participate in the EU’s legislative initiatives as the importance of the EU’s policy making will increase even further for us as the European capital markets will be harmonised even further by the European lawmakers.
You hold a Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Helsinki. What motivated you to do a dissertation and complete a doctoral degree?
Although I do enjoy the practical work of a lawyer, I have always enjoyed gaining in-depth theoretical knowledge of matters I am interested in. While working on my master’s thesis, I realised that I truly enjoy academic writing and research. Also, the scope of a master’s thesis is quite narrow, and I was unable to address all the topics that caught my interest. After graduation, I felt that I had unfinished business with my master’s thesis and wanted to continue that work. Furthermore, working with theoretical matters has always suited my personality. So, all in all, completing a doctoral degree felt quite natural for me.
You have also worked as a ministerial adviser in the Ministry of Finance. What kind of differences are there in working as a lawyer in private practice and in the public sector?
Hannes Snellman and the Financial Markets Department of the Ministry of Finance make a quite interesting comparison as in both organisations I focused on corporate governance and the regulation of the capital markets. Both are also project driven organisations. Capital markets transactions are quite intensive international projects, but so are legislative negotiations in Brussels. In both jobs, in-depth knowledge of regulation and project management skills are needed, but the goals and focus of the work are quite different. This, in turn, leads to different styles of work.
In a law firm, you work as an agent of your principal, i.e. the client. While working on a certain transaction, you do everything to achieve the best possible outcome for your client. So, the focus is quite narrow and project specific, and you need very detailed project-specific knowledge of regulation.
In contrast, in the Financial Markets Department, the client is the whole society, i.e. all the different market actors. Thus, this requires a very broad focus and a continuous need for finding compromises that benefit everyone. The need for compromises becomes even more important in the EU negotiations where the outcome must be beneficial for Europe as a whole.
Do you remember what your very first day at Hannes Snellman was like in 2012 when you started as a knowledge management trainee? And what would you say is the most valuable thing that you learned during your career in a law firm?
Yes! I still remember how enthusiastic and super excited I was as that was my first position in the legal field. Actually, the most valuable thing I learned during my career in a law firm goes back to being a knowledge management trainee at Hannes. Back then I learned how to do proper legal research in a diligent manner and that turned out to be the most valuable lesson I have learned as a lawyer. It is a skill that I have needed in all my jobs. In my opinion, proper legal research is background work that serves as a foundation for every other aspect of a lawyer’s work.
When reflecting on your career as a lawyer, what advice would you give to yourself on your first day at law school?
Focus on your favourite field of law but keep bursting your (legal) bubbles. I have kept my focus on securities market law and company law from a quite early stage of my studies, which has served me well, but the most important learning experiences and the most inspirational events have been the outcome of bursting my bubble. For example, my earlier answer regarding the differences in working in the public and private sectors illustrates how differing perspectives are needed in different environments. Constant learning, working with a vast and diverse set of people, and gaining experience on different kinds of assignments is always a great idea.
Our Greetings from Alumni series will return in the autumn, so stay tuned for more career stories by our alumni! In the meantime, if you want to know more about working at Hannes Snellman, please pay a visit to our Careers section.