Chris Monks, Consulting, Head of Prudential Risk

In this interview, we sit down with Chris Monks, a recent addition to the Mazars consulting team, where he assumes the role of head of prudential risk.

He shares his background story, ranging from his days as a competitor in the pool in the Junior Olympics, to working across the States post financial crisis to ultimately coming home to Dublin with his wife Claire to raise his family.

Chris grew up in North County Dublin and is the oldest of two siblings, with a younger brother. Chris attributes his interest in the financial world to his mother, who was a bookkeeper and butcher, and his father, who dedicated 40 years to a career in banking. “There was a natural lean towards numbers and finance in my house.”

Chris attended Christian Brothers schools, where he excelled as a competitive swimmer. Representing Aer Lingus Swim Club, conveniently located near his home at the airport, Chris represented Ireland internationally at schools competitions, the FISEC games in northern France and the Junior Olympics in Lisbon, Portugal. “When I was younger, I was a good all-rounder, but by the end, I specialised in 200m butterfly. But we were at a bit of a disadvantage internationally because, at that time, we didn’t have access to a 50-metre pool. So, I was representing Ireland in the Junior Olympics having never trained in anything bigger than a 25-metre pool!”

Chris gave up swimming at around 18 years old, as “other interests took hold, and I ended up not being very tall, which puts you at a bit of a competitive disadvantage. But I have fond memories of my time competing. I met a lot of wonderful people.”

Chris went on to study Business at Dublin City University, where he met his wife Claire (they got married in 2008), who was studying the same course. He then completed a Masters in UCD Smurfit. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but both of these courses helped to keep my knowledge broad and open to opportunities.”

Chris started his career in KPMG’s regulatory practice. “During the financial crisis, my wife got an opportunity to relocate to Boston and we jumped at the chance to move, live and work in another country. I also had fond memories of the city after spending my J1 summer there when I was in college.”

Chris went on to spend over two years travelling all over the US working with post-crisis companies like AIG, Barclays (ex-Lehman) and Bank of America. “It was an amazing experience but hard work with so much travel. It was great to have the chance to see so much of America while we were there, but we knew as soon as we wanted to settle down, we would be coming back to Dublin.”

After the birth of their first daughter, Chris and Claire moved back to Ireland. After taking up again with KPMG, he later moved to Grant Thornton to set up the prudential risk team. After running a successful team in Grant Thornton, the opportunity arose to move to Mazars and Chris joined as a partner in late 2023.

Chris and Claire have three children – Lily 11, Sam 8 and Emme 4. He keeps himself busy at weekends with the usual kids’ activities, tennis and trying to become a vegetable grower – “This year!”