Karl Deeter

When the company started I was a mortgage broker, then as it grew I moved more into insurances and now I work mainly in analysis, research and compliance. We still have a lot of brokers and their job is to help our clients through independent advice to get the best finance available on the market and to help them through the home purchasing process taking into account other financial products they may need to require to buy a home.

How do you use mathematics within your job?

I can’t think of the last time I didn’t use maths at work, in fact, I still get slagged for carrying a calculator in my pocket! Mathematics is the fundamental science in my view. I had started off studying science before moving into finance and virtually every good invention, piece of scientific research, every line of computer code and every financial model has maths at its core. Then of course, keeping tally in finance is all about accountancy which is based in maths as well.

What type of mathematics for you use to solve problems?

We tend to use decimals and ratios a lot, so when a person wants to buy a home and they have €28,000 saved and they want to know what the maximum mortgage they can get is we then calculated things like ‘Loan to value’ which is the size of a loan divided by the property value. We use financial mathematics via things like amortization calculators which determine how much a mortgage payment will be depending on the interest rate applied. We use accountancy all of the time, obviously you can never get away from understanding the PEMDAS rules because financial calculations often have different formations and if you come out with wrong numerator or denominator you go on to make bigger mistakes down the line. The last common thing we do involves the ‘time value of money’ which we use to create discounted cash-flows and compounding which is a similar equation but you are going the other way. Effectively, money and maths go hand in hand, so you can’t be in the world of money and not have mathematics all around you, understanding how to harness it, use it to help make decisions and general mathematical and financial literacy are vital to the job.

What aspects of the mathematics curriculum or mathematics courses have proven most useful to you?

Sadly I learned maths at a time when the pleasure of uncovering information wasn’t the focus which is something that I like about financial mathematics, the application of science (maths) was always more fascinating than just having to learn ‘the rules’ by memory. So the things I learned as a practitioner were the most useful. In particular ideas like the accounting equation, the use of ratios, financial maths and then as an adult learning to programme spreadsheets to model the things that I wanted to demonstrate (which is the culmination of maths, an algorithm or idea, and the creation of a model) have been invaluable.

What is your education to date?

I dropped out of science (I was horrible at physics) to study management and IT, I went to the DIT and it was a useful foundation, but what has served me the most is my professional training in things like accountancy and financial analysis. My post university education is in things that you don’t hear about on the CAO so I have my QFA (qualified financial advisor) a diploma in business and accounting from the ACCA, a certificate in consumer credit, a mortgage diploma, a certificate in professional compliance, a certificate in banking, a certificate in personal insolvency and am still working towards other qualifications. For me education doesn’t have an ‘end date’, it’s a lifelong process of improvement and in a way I’m a perpetual student of sorts.