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  1. Yesterday
  2. In the run up to a pivotal moment in our country’s history, it’s only to be expected there will be a growing sense of urgency, political drama and blanket media and social media coverage. Brexit, with it’s all encompassing remit, is definitely living up to this. Time is running out Political jousting from all parties, including the now defunct UKIP, has been the norm since negotiations began last year, with new revelations taking the spotlight every week. Currently it’s Irish border backstop an issue which has been there from the beginning. With less than six months to go before Brexit, the fact that it remains unresolved speaks volumes about the enduring complexity of this situation in itself. How do you solve a problem like the Irish border? The Irish border has become controversial. Both the UK and the EU do not want a ‘hard border’ dividing the island of Ireland for obvious reasons – peace, freedom of movement and a lucrative trading relationship. The Financial Times reported that Ireland has €65bn of annual trade with Britain. According to Parliament research papers, in 2016, the UK had a trade surplus of £12bn with Ireland – having a ‘hard border’ post Brexit may put a lot of this at stake. Theresa May’s Chequers plan proposes a new all-UK customs union with the EU to take effect if no other solution can be found. Michel Barnier, the EU negotiator rejected this proposal on the basis it undermines the principles of the existing EU Customs Union. To avoid a hard border, both sides need to agree a backstop in the event that an alternative longer term solution cannot be found. The longer term solution The complexities of border trading have come into sharp focus. Both sides have put forward numerous proposals ranging. From staying in the Customs Union, to performing the customs checks away from the border, to technological solutions as suggested by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Technology Is Blockchain the way to solve this complex issue? This emerging technology underpins cryptocurrency transactions and offers a transparent and immutable record of the movement of goods from start to finish. This has great potential to enable an easy and objective way of applying checks and taxes for goods between the UK and the EU and removing/minimising the need for custom checks at or away from the border. Throwing in some ‘Smart Contracts’ into the mix (which are essentially codes in the Blockchain that executes an action when pre-defined conditions are met), we may have the future of an invisible customs border. But how far into the future are we talking about? Too much too soon? In an ideal world, this technology will be easily and readily accessible and maintained by all parties and businesses on either side. But in reality, we are more than an 18-month transition period away from widespread understanding and application of Blockchain. The flaws in the ability of Blockchain to solve the border issue have been argued by many. It’s an incredibly uneven playing field too. Small to medium sized businesses may find it less accessible than larger firms, and as it is not yet a globally accepted and trusted technology there will be resistance due to a lack of understanding and the necessary regulations required to ensure it is robust. While Blockchain does not address some of the key political questions of whose Rule Book will be applied in Northern Ireland and to what extent it applies to the rest of the UK, there is potential but not in the short term. So, how do you solve a problem like the Irish border? While all bets are off right now, and that may change in the immediate future, the race is on.
  3. Last week
  4. The business world has changed enormously. In the 25 years before the recent financial crisis there was a stable period where businesses could rely on predictable models for business planning. Although past performance was not a guarantee, business planning was often based on the last four year performance being extrapolated into the next three to five year business planning. Then ten years ago, everything changed. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, we are still experiencing instability and the digital age has fully kicked in too with Fintech, AI and blockchain currently at the forefront. The Financial Services industry is being challenged, especially in its own services to clients by the many disrupters which have sprung. They often succeed in a short period taking significant market share. For example, TransferWise, which created a successful business by addressing the large fees for (foreign) currency transfers, is now looking at a >$1Bn market valuation. What can the established companies learn from these disrupters and apply to their businesses before they are eaten or cannibalised? It is not merely creating incubators in funky office spaces to (or trying to) develop in-house new technologies. Neither can an organisation simply buy and implement the newest IT technology out of the box. So, what is the secret? Cap Gemini research has demonstrated that companies which invested in digital infrastructure without investing in transformational leadership to support new processes, actually became on average 11% less profitable. Perhaps the secret lies in creating a digital culture? Research from Brilliant Noise has highlighted four culture characteristics which are succeeding in the digital era. Be Customer Centric The old way of doing business by pushing products and services to clients no longer works. Neither is it about doing better what the company does today, it is more about what the client wants and how they could be better served. Pull in the ideas from the market and respond to what customers need and deliver in a way the customer wants through technology and give it a personal touch. Be Networked The classic hierarchical set up of companies does not support a world where internal and external networks and connections spark ideas and innovation and gets things done faster. In organisations which have open networks of interconnected people, information and ideas will flow quicker, opportunities responded to faster and decision making more rapid. All of these are essential to be able to move to market in the most agile way. Be Biased for Action Many companies still operate based upon getting permission and reach consensus before decision and action is taken. If a culture changes to one of bias towards action, companies can lean forward into the future instead of being pulled back or waiting till blessing is given. The appetite is there. Employees do want to participate more therefore managers and leaders need to create the conditions for action and move out of the way. The likes of Apple and Google are considered champions in this and have integrated this in their DNA. Still leaders set out direction of travel but then hand ownership to their people. Be Purpose Driven Companies spend much time on setting out their mission and vision, few however also state their purpose and even fewer make that purpose one that resonates with employees and customers. The big driver these days remains the return for the shareholder instead of a clear sense of purpose into everything a company does. However, the company should be aligned with its customers. These four characteristics are definitely key when it comes to digital, and Peter Drucker’s quote “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is even more pertinent.
  5. Earlier
  6. How do we solve the Investment Management industry issues of today and tomorrow? We think we might just have the answer. When we created AlgoMe, we set out to empower professionals so they can manage their careers through technology, data and industry insight. With our career management platform, we‘ve delivered this but we know there‘s much more to be done. The Investment Management industry is in a state of flux. Right now lower fees, higher costs, new technology and increasing regulation, along with changes to the workforce, mean we need access to technology, data and industry insight more than ever before. This is why we‘re taking an exciting step by opening AlgoMe Community, the place that brings the Investment Management industry together to drive open conversation and essential innovation. AlgoMe Community is a members-only community exclusive to the industry and associated professions. Membership is free, members are verified and use their own names to create a profile – here are the key benefits: 1. A community for Investment Management We have created a standalone space for investment and asset managers, meaning discussions and groups are centred around highly relevant areas and get to the heart of issues quickly. We will also be hosting regular events both online and offline to address industry challenges and help our members drive the agenda. 2. Keep your finger on the pulse Not sure about Brexit or SMCR? Want to know what the latest research on AI is? The AlgoMe Community gives you direct access to all of these discussions. AlgoMe is working with a number of partner organisations to bring you the latest thought leadership, insights, blog posts and white papers to keep you abreast of the latest trends in Investment Management. 3. Grow Your connections outside of your existing network There are a lot of bright minds out there. Over 40,000* people are currently working within the Investment Management industry according to the Investment Association. This number is likely to be 200k+ across Europe with the firms and organisations that make up Investment Management ecosystem. That’s a lot of new connections to make. 4. Grow your personal brand Building your personal brand is critical to a successful career. AlgoMe Community gives you a platform to build your credibility and authority among your peers. It’s also easy to start your own blog to get ideas a wider audience and build up a following of other members. Join AlgoMe Community for free today and connect with the Investment Management industry.
  7. With the dust on the Gender Pay Gap Reporting just settling down, and clearly a lot of work to be done as a result, the UK is bracing itself for the next legislation around Pay Gaps. This time around it’s the turn of the CEO. UK listed companies must publish and justify the Pay Gap between Chief Executives and their staff from 2020 and explain how future share price rises will affect executive pay. In 2018, corporate America already made public a data point it would probably rather keep under wraps: how much CEOs make in comparison to their (global) employees. Pay Ratio Reporting will force UK listed companies with over 250 employees to reveal and “justify” the difference between how much top executives are paid compared with the average pay of their UK workforce (and in that it is different from the US where companies have to disclose their “Pay Ratios,” or the CEO’s compensation divided by the (global) median employee’s). Companies will also have to publish a narrative explaining changes to the pay ratio from year to year and to set the ratio into context of pay and conditions across the workforce. Subject to Parliamentary approval, this will come into effect from 1 January 2019, and companies will have to start reporting their Pay Ratios in 2020. What is the objective? One may ask what the exact objective of this law is. Has it been created as a tool to name and shame individuals and companies, or is it about reaching ratio that is considered to be reasonable? There are other questions as well. What will the justification of the ratio really mean, and how and who is to challenge it; is this the employee, the shareholder or even the government? What factors are to be taken into account to define what reasonable is? Of course, with all change there is risk. One could easily argue executive roles come with intrinsic high risk themselves; that of succeeding at the task. Being offered a remuneration package not reflecting this due to keeping in line with a certain (median) executive versus staff remuneration ratio, would potentially drive the best candidates away. Is it a rush to the average? Some data shows it would take the average UK full-time worker on a salary of £28,000 (median full-time earnings) 160 years to earn what an average FTSE 100 CEO is paid (£4.5 million) in just one year (CIPD estimates). The Equality Trust runs a very clever Pay Ratio tracker if you don’t believe me. Does this mean a ratio of 160 is the benchmark against which “reasonable” is measured? Is there room to be specific to company circumstances even if the public eye might say ‘but the average is 160’? Not currently as there seems to be no definition and no rationale either. James Jarvis, Corporate Governance Analyst at the Institute of Directors, said: “Ratios are a pretty blunt tool, which will generate plenty of heat but not necessarily much light on the issue of executive pay.” The role of the AGM In today’s world the Executive remuneration proposals are (or at least should already) be scrutinised every year through the AGM. Recent high profile cases where shareholders refused to approve the executive remuneration proposal (at the AGM of Persimmonin April 2018) or there was at least a rebellion against pay reports (AGM SHELLin May 2018) are a case in point. The role of the Board Following the recent Carillion scandal, ‘the board’ is in the spotlight which has led the IoD to call for tightening the rules around executive roles, responsibilities, and bonuses. This debate will rage on with strong arguments for and against. We are left without answers so far. With ‘the board’ already having the responsibility to review and challenge the right executive pay, is bringing the Pay Ratio a good move? It may appear in the public domain but is it really indicating the Board is not doing its job properly if there is no accepted mean or average? On the upside, this legislation may help bring about a better dialogue between boards and employees about the goals and aspirations of their business, and how pay is determined to achieve this shared vision.
  8. The discussion around the Gender Pay Gap has moved from the shock of the published figures to ‘What can or needs to be done to reduce the gap?’. A quick fix is extremely unlikely. Ultimately, the Gender Pay Gap is all about creating the opportunities for women to (continue to) move up in the ranks. And yes, promotion of women might have been overdue but doing this in itself is the first sign a company is serious about resolving the issue, but it does not stop there. When Dame Helena Morrissey spoke at the Alfi conference recently, she made two points very clear. First to get long term and lasting results it is likely to get worse before it gets better; and second, it takes time to change company culture and bias as well as professional development through education and gaining experience. So, what can companies do for women to ensure ongoing career development? Here are five ways which we believe will make a difference Change policy Many argue working to change attitudes towards promoting women to more senior roles should be the first thing to tackle, but there is evidence that changing policy on diversity, employment, recruitment has a much bigger. Iris Bohnet, a behavioural economist at Harvard University says ‘diversity training programs have had limited success, and individual effort alone often invites backlash. Behavioural design offers a new solution. By de-biasing organizations instead of individuals, we can make smart changes that have big impacts’. Analyse the data Analysing the Gender Pay Gap data in detail could highlight business areas and departments where the issue is bigger, and possibly even show departments with a bias for not promoting women in more senior jobs. This enables a company to address these areas or even individuals immediately and supported by the aforementioned policy changes. Mentoring programs Over the past two decades, laboratory and survey evidence has suggested that men are significantly more likely to engage in salary negotiations than women, according to Harvard. Yet when women negotiate on behalf of another person they are as successful as men.Mentoring could help strengthen these negotiating skills but clearly the focus should not be only on remuneration but equally on improving the specific knowledge and skills, as well as understanding your industry and company. Flexible working Career breaks come in many different forms, although for women the main one is maternity leave. If this is longer than a year, when they to work they may face the “CV gap” which leaves them at a disadvantage. There is some work being done on Returnships, but more businesses should take this into account rationally and offer different approaches to working to ensure women should be able to return to jobs that match their skills. To retain talent, hey should also offer flexible working hours and the opportunity to work from home which makes returning to work more appealing. Recruitment process Companies should ensure that employment practices are fair and there is no bias in recruitment across teams nor in the way job descriptions are worded. Equally there should not be any positive discrimination and trying to recruit women into teams simply because of their gender, and vice-versa. In line with offering more flexible working, fairness in pay for maternity, paternity and shared parental leave must be considered, as well as pay for part time staff. What next? Clearly this is not an exhaustive list of how to close the Gender Pay Gap and the ultimately chosen direction of a company will very much depend on their specific situation. Nevertheless, the above suggestions are fairly easy to implement and will show to employees that the company is serious about making a change. It is never going to be a quick fix and might take at least 3-5 years before there is a significant change visible in the reported pay gaps, but change is afoot. In the short term, due to the lead time of implementing change, the gap might even initially widen before closing.
  9. Jonathan Max

    Dealing with the Diversity backlash

    The ‘ping’ of a new email notification; it’s from HR and you are ‘invited’ to a Diversity and Inclusion workshop. Honestly, what is running through your mind? The business case for diversity has been entirely consistent over the last few years; as highlighted by McKinsey Companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians Diverse companies are in a better position to win top talent and improve customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and decision making In the UK, the Women in Finance Charter initiative and the recently instated Gender Pay Gap reporting have both helped in keeping Diversity & Inclusion on the agenda at C-suite level. But does it go far enough into true diversity? And why is there already a sense of ennui when it comes to talking about Diversity and Inclusion? I would suggest there are two core reasons: Diversity fatigue: driven by the energy and resources required to solve complex issues and the necessary commitment over a long-time period. Most of us feel that as individuals, we can’t really make a difference and so fail to take any meaningful action. Incorrect focus: most Diversity and Inclusion initiatives focus on increasing the representation or achieving a quota for a specific sub-set of the population; rather than focusing on belonging and inclusion throughout the organisation. Taking the last point a little further, we are hearing initiatives aimed at women only are drawing objection in some camps and this is raising concern around the exclusion of other people. As a result, this can certainly cause negative sentiment. In January this year, four former female Google employees alleged in a lawsuit that the company systematically pays and promotes men more than women. In a lawsuit filed shortly after, former male employees alleged that Google unfairly favours women and certain minorities when hiring and promoting. The company rejected both allegations. This ‘story’ essentially summarises the recent Google diversity report which shows rather too clearly that too little progress has been made. Let’s return to the initial question about how people generally feel about Diversity and Inclusion training. The issues are not with the programmes themselves; which if well-structured and facilitated make a compelling case for valuing different perspectives, not just because its ‘the right thing to do’ but because of the positive impact both on financial performance and innovation. Diverse workplaces include people with different experiences, varying personalities, and different levels of experience to foster creativity and offer a range of viewpoints and ideas. Organisations must work to overcome perceptual and cultural barriers for their diversity programs to succeed; ensuring that ‘freedom of speech’ and overt ‘political correctness’ doesn’t lead to an egg-shell type culture which will only achieve the exact opposite of what the whole thing is about! Companies need to drive a culture where employees know how to accept thoughts, ideas and personalities of others in the workplace. They also need to provide information on how to deal with prejudice and conflict in a civilised and professional manner. Ultimately, the diversity backlash is self-imposed; without commitment from senior leadership which must be focused and on the long-term strategy and not ‘quick wins’ that tick a particular box in a particular year. Leadership need to recognise and be prepared for the negativity and scepticism and hold all levels of the organisation accountable. If you’re not a CEO or a member of the senior leadership of your organisation, what can you do to contribute and perhaps change your mind-set, so you continue to embrace Diversity and Inclusion? Start with a small step and foster belonging and inclusion in your workplace interactions. If you see that someone has been marginalised or is not being listened to; give them time to share their view and how they might approach a situation. You just might be rather surprised by the outcome!
  10. Rory McMillan

    Is Asset Management Millennial Friendly?

    Understanding what motivates Millennials is an important challenge for the Asset Management industry. Millennials, classified as anyone born between 1981 and 1996 according to Pew Research, represent a step change in attitudes and technical capabilities. By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. They will be in charge of their careers, as evidenced by Deloitte’s 2018 Millennial Survey. Loyalty is not a priority – 43% envision leaving their jobs within two years and only 28% seek to stay beyond five years. Failure to engage this technologically fluent generation will risk losing the best and brightest future talent to other industries or standalone FinTechs. So how can the Asset Management industry continue to attract and sustain the best talent given the very different expectations and habits of this incoming generation? We explore the two ‘make or break‘ factors; motivation and technology. Motivation Daniel Pink’s 2009 book “Drive” describes how the classical ‘carrot and stick’ approach to motivation is outdated. Two separate items of research (Harlow and Deci 1971, Ariely et al. 2017) show that rewards routinely fail to improve, and often even damage people’s engagement with tasks. The consistency of the results stands testament to the fact that whilst attitudes change, the nature of our motivation hasn’t. Pink argues that motivation can instead be derived from three main factors: Autonomy: the desire to be self-directed. Mastery: the urge to become better at things. Purpose: the aspiration to have an impact. Applying these three factors to all areas of the workplace has never been more important for the future of the Asset Management Industry. Millennials require a working environment within which there are tangible short-term (as well as long-term) goals which are sufficiently challenging to invoke mastery, but doable enough to maintain autonomy. Purpose is more difficult to engineer as it encompasses a range of ideas which contribute to the aim of changing the world for the better. Encouraging diversity in recruitment is a good starting point but equal, if not greater effort should be channelled into sustaining such a varied community without alienating one part. Establishing an evolving graduate programme that fulfils the above criteria is vital, and a good one will speak for itself. For a generation that expects instant access to price comparisons, product information and peer reviews when shopping, employee satisfaction surveys and recruitment buzzwords are old-hat, and real reviews via social media and stack exchange websites are the go-to source of insider information. One such community site, The Student Room, estimates that over 70% of all UK students visit the site every year. This kind of community can quickly build enviable or conversely negative reputations around industries or companies but can also be an opportunity in positive brand awareness and positioning for this vital cohort. Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter can have massive readership and one well-poised article can completely change the attractiveness of a company to potential future employees. Millennials are surrounded by more viable career paths than at any point in history. An eventual decision is as likely to be made based on online content found on web sites like Glassdoor, written by anonymous users with little to no industry experience, as it is to be influenced by advice from industry professionals, friends, family or careers services. Technology Millennials have grown up with computers in their homes and smartphones in their hands, so they’re well aware that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us. The very nature of work is changing rapidly and industry 4.0 is characterised by the marriage of physical and digital technologies, such as analytics, artificial intelligence, cognitive computing and internet of things technology. Asset Managers face a potentially significant drain on new talent at the heart of their businesses. In the context of Asset Management, being FinTech friendly is a big plus. Millennials see market-leading technology as something they both look for and expect in a company. Technology definitely counts in a big way towards the purpose factor in motivation if approached correctly. When it comes to mastery, about eight in 10 Millennials say that on-the-job training, continuous professional development and formal training led by employers will be important to help them perform their best. This engenders the loyalty and longevity which may go some way towards overriding Millennial autonomy. FinTech, AI and other technological advances are gaining pace in the industry. Asset Management has the opportunity to be Millennial friendly and it must be to evolve and sustain itself. It’s an exciting prospect to work in a firm which is changing the face of Asset Management as it presents an opportunity to change how the world works. However, Asset Management must first embrace the changing face of its workforce to attract the new generation of talent.
  11. 2018 was always going to be an interesting year. Kicking off with MiFID II, moving to GDPR in the late Spring and of course this Summer brought a surprise World Cup Semi Final and a blistering heat wave (but a still-stagnant Brexit) suffice to say, it’s been a busy time all round. At AlgoMe we think it’s really important to understand what our wider community is thinking and to get under the skin of the burning issues for 2018. As result we’ve created The AlgoMe Industry Pulse report which we’ve published today. It has looked into these key issues and themes, from regulation through to Brexit, unearthing some interesting and useful insight. We found optimism and change, along with a level of insecurity too. What drove these varied responses? Well optimism came in the shape of the 59% who believe Gender Pay Gap Reporting will improve the career progression of women whereas change with learning MiFID II and GDPR is affecting around two thirds of people. Conversely Brexit is creating uncertainty on a number of levels – people want to stay in London, but they’re concerned about their jobs and whether their companies will move away. 30% of those surveyed felt Brexit is a risk to their job security. While 68% believe their companies will stay in the UK, only 54% of individuals said they will definitely stay put versus 27% who are actually considering relocating. When it comes to relocation people chose Dublin, Paris and Amsterdam as the top three choices of European cities to move to. Additionally, regulation will take add to felt insecurity this year with MiFID II impacting 64% of people’s roles and GDPR 60%. Diversity in the workplace is considered important by 64% with 20% remaining neutral and 16% in disagreement, demonstrating there is still a lot of work to be done in both these areas. We’ve developed 5 key insights which summarise the in depth research: 1. Job confidence pre-Brexit: A workforce in need of reassurance Industry and government need to act fast to gain the confidence of the sector as 30% are feeling insecure about Brexit and believe their jobs may be in jeopardy. 2. Will London remain the financial centre of Europe? Best to leave the lights on post-Brexit The City is definitely open for business; our industry sector is loyal to London and a majority of workers want to stay here post Brexit.While 27% of respondents expressed they would move as a result of Brexit and 14% of felt strong about this, most people (54%) would not consider moving as a result of Brexit, whereas 68% believe their companies will remain in the UK. There’s no clear leader in Europe to replace London when it comes to the most desirable places to relocate to and work from; Dublin was the top location (25%), followed by Paris (21%) and Amsterdam (19%). 3. Regulation is a necessary inconvenience: Undoubtedly 2018 is a big year for the regulatory calendar and this is having an impact in the short and long term, so we expect temporary upheaval while MiFID II and GDPR are bedded into to working practices 4. Gender Pay Gap – Unwelcome truths for some, seen as much needed by the majority: The implication for Gender Pay Gap Reporting is, it will continue to highlight industry inadequacies for some time; transparency and action should expedite change 5. Diversity – More change afoot needed to accommodate a changing workforce: Diversity will need to be top of the agenda across the board to effect meaningful progression across the industry We hope you enjoy this latest report and find the insights valuable to yourselves as professionals, you can download your free copy here.
  12. When you agree to be a mentor, you are offering someone else the benefit of your experience and knowledge gained over the course of your working life. It sounds fairly simple, but mentoring is serious business. Your advice could help shape and change someone’s career path and life, so you must approach it with the right attitude. Here are some top tips from AlgoMe to help you succeed: DO leave your ego at the door A good mentor is humble, and able to put themselves in another’s shoes and take their concerns seriously. You know you don’t have all the answers, but you can help build the mentee’s confidence so that they can come to their own decisions. You are also not afraid of admitting to your own fears and mistakes you may have made or challenges you faced. A mentor admits they are not infallible, and lets their mentee learn from their past mis-steps. DO learn to listen Knowing when to talk and when to listen is vital in mentoring. Your mentee should know that your door is open and they can come to you and you’ll be a listening ear. Sometimes your role will simply be as sounding board to help your mentee uncover the answers they already know. DO draw on your experience Pat Hermse has spent years in leadership roles in the private banking industry and is acting as a mentor. He says there is no substitute for personal experience when it comes to being an effective mentor. “In mentoring, an element which is very important is experience, you need some “grey hair”. It is difficult to understand something you have never faced yourself,” he says. DO be realistic Although you should encourage your mentees as best you can, understanding their limitations is as important as recognising their core strengths. Not everyone will be able to do every job well, but we all have particular aptitudes and skills. A good mentor will recognise and nurture these rather than trying to shoehorn a mentee into a role to which they are not suited. DO adapt your language Mentoring is all about communication. This means you may have to tailor your language to make sure you strike the right tone, depending on who you are addressing. Hermse explains: “Suppose you are a CEO of a small private bank, when you deal with a junior employee, your language will be different from when you are dealing with the CFO. The language used should be adapted so the coachee will not feel threatened.” DON’T patronise your mentee Nothing will kill a relationship of trust faster than if you come across as condescending. Showing your mentee that you take their problems seriously is important here. If they have a particular fear of something, such as managing a team for the first time, or finding a job again after being made redundant, you should not minimise that fear because it will feel very real to them. If you tell your mentee that their fear is ridiculous, they won’t open up and you won’t get the most out of them. Try to bring respect to all your mentoring relationships. DON’T expect to be able to mentor everyone Just as you won’t click with everyone you meet in life, you won’t get along with every potential mentee. Because finding that connection is important to build trust in a mentoring relationship, this means you should accept that you won’t be the right fit to mentor everyone. For example, if you are a generally positive person who always looks for opportunities in situations, you may become frustrated in trying to mentor a ‘glass half empty’ person who always sees the negatives. There is nothing wrong with this, you’re simply not a good match. Focus on the people you do click with and mentor them the best way you can. “You have to accept that with some people it simply doesn’t work, the chemical match is not there,” says Hermse. “You should not have the ability to coach everyone.” If you have the skills for mentoring, we have people waiting to meet you at AlgoMe.com – register today and start your mentoring journey.
  13. Another World Cup has kicked off and will keep many glued to TV screens for the coming few weeks. The games will be filled with energy, excitement, passion and possibly drama on the pitch, as well as in front of the screen. While we spend all this time watching the games, what are the management lessons to be learned from the games? The role of manager for the top nations has become that of facilitator The role of star manager is out of step with the times. The manager of today is someone who can keep the camp in harmony and instil a world class playing style that mirrors what players are comfortable with at more local club level. Most club players have a packed annual agenda of national, international championships and Cup games leaving little time to prepare for the World Cup tournaments. This means there is a lot more skill and experience needed to bring together a group of disparate (and often fatigued) players into a world class winning team. Styles have changed to suit this. The German team have reached five consecutive semi-finals at major tournaments playing technical, passing football. But in many respects that has been less a result of a manager stamping his identity on a team and more about him responding to a generation of talented footballers that emerged following the country’s youth development revolution at the turn of the century. England and others have taken note and ditched star managers on huge salaries for investments in coaching, pitches and classrooms. Take stakeholder management seriously Thinking that the World Cup is all about the games, the supporters and the players would be under estimating who else has skin in the game. There are the national football associations, sponsors, host cities and their citizens, non-governmental organisations and probably many others. This has implications when it comes to bad behaviour and hostility. Prior to and during the England-Russia match in Marseille, a well-organised group of Russian hooligans attacked English supporters. Their self-proclaimed goal was to capture the status of “hooligan culture capital” away from England. The initial response from Russian authorities ranged from passive mockery at the expense of English fans to blaming the tournament organisers for failing to ensure security. Amid initial accusation that this behaviour was encouraged by the Russian authorities, the Kremlin took significant steps to clamp down on Russian hooligan organisations and the Russian football authorities have attempted to present a more favourable image of their local fans to the world. Equally England has taken its own measures and seized the passports of known trouble makers. Having the biggest star on your team doesn’t mean you’ll win The days are of the star player are numbered. Many a country in the past and today have had the biggest football star in their team (Messi, Ronaldo, Cruyff, to mention only a few) but have not brought back the big prize for their country. Contrary, a team like Germany in 2014 won the World Cup because the coach placed the burden, the expectations, and most importantly their confidence, on the whole team. There were definitely stars in the team but not just the one star around whom the team was built. The strength came from the collective of players and the fact that when one struggled another player would step up (by the way without mentioning it or taking public credit for it). Stars will only be at their best if you they are surrounded by a cultivated team mentality that leverages everyone’s strengths. Leaders need to be willing and able to make the big decisions As no doubt this World Cup will teach us you had better choose someone as leader who’s willing to make the big decisions. Whether it’s deciding to keep the fan favourite on the bench, place a young talent in your starting team, or change the team formation from a defensive to an attacking set up half-way through the tournament, it’s these decisions that win games and championships. You need a leader who has the confidence to make them and realise that a leader who will make big decisions is not the same as a leader who will make the right decisions. Without taking risk is part of the game as long as it is not a rash one; constantly assesses the situation, making the quick calculations, and act. Sometimes a huge decision may backfire, but not making them would make it a losing game. That’s what leaders need to do and the it’s the same in the business world. Overcoming adversity with an abiding passion For some teams, morale is devastated after a defeat but for others, it is just part of the sport and something to learn from. This was not the case for the Spanish Squad in 2010. They started with a loss against Switzerland in the first game, but they were able to build up strength and win the championship. Germany, the incumbent World Champion, lost its first game but they are known for their strong morale, collegiate atmosphere and a profound passion for how they wanted to get things done. Disappointing results are common in business, but you can only overcome them if you have the passion for what you do because often it is passion that drives an entrepreneur’s vision. Apple CEO Steve Jobs commented on the high number of internet start-ups during the 1990s in the following terms: Meanwhile the World Cup is nearly finalising the first round and some of the above lessons have been brought in practise already and have secured a team a place in the next round where the knock out stage will proof that these lessons are even more valuable, something all of us have equally experienced in our jobs or in interview processes.
  14. Most businesses will have some sort of mentoring system in place, no matter the size of the company or the industry in which it operates. Even those companies which don’t have formal, structured mentoring schemes in place will probably still have staff being mentored at different levels of the business. That’s because good managers mentor naturally every day as part of the way they interact with their teams. A mentor is usually someone in a more senior position than their mentee, who can offer them the benefit of their experience. They don’t tell their mentees what to do, but are there to guide them, build their confidence, help them to grow their support network and progress their careers over the longer term. Although mentoring can be important and useful in any business, you can argue a particularly strong case for it in the financial services space. A fast-moving industry One reason for this is that things can change quickly in the financial services world, so mentoring can help staff to stay abreast of the latest developments, updates and regulatory changes. It can also give them insight into different parts of the business and how they work, which could be particularly useful in a small firm where staff might sometimes be expected to take on responsibilities outside their job spec. Attract and keep talent Mentoring schemes can bring many benefits to the companies running them as well as individual mentees. Not the least of these is a way to get the upper hand in the face of a looming recruitment crisis in the financial services industry. A mentoring programme can help firms attract talented staff, who find the promise of an experienced mentor to bring them on in their careers very appealing. It also means firms have a better chance of retaining their most talented people, by nurturing them through clear career paths and training them up to be the next generation of highly engaged senior managers. Improve diversity It is well known that financial services struggles with a lack of diversity, especially in leadership roles. Mentoring schemes could go some way towards redressing the balance. Phil Renshaw, a former international banker and now a research fellow at the London Institute of Banking & Finance, notes research shows people with mentors typically have a quicker path to promotion and senior jobs. “There is evidence that one of the reasons men are often promoted faster than women, and that you find more men than women in senior leadership positions, is that men are better at finding effective mentors,” he says. “Financial Services is a male dominated industry at senior levels, so this is of considerable importance to women.” The 30% Club is an initiative set up by City grandee Dame Helena Morrissey to encourage more women to pursue the top jobs in financial services. The Club runs a mentoring scheme which now involves mentors from more than 60 firms, including PwC, MasterCard, BlackRock, Nomura, BDO, Linklaters, KPMG and HSBC. Nameeta Pai, Head of Board Support at Santander and a mentee on the 30% Club mentoring scheme, said the scheme has helped her to feel more included in the important conversations in her industry: “Diversity at its very basic level to me means I get access to a seat at the table, I am eligible to participate as well.” Michael Cole-Fontayn, chairman of EMEA at BNY Mellon and a mentor on the same scheme, added: “I’ve seen enormous benefit for the women in my own company who have been mentored, but also from my male and female colleagues who have mentored on the programme.” Mentoring can be used to improve ethnic diversity in financial services as well. Lloyds Banking Group announced recently it has set a target to increase the number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethic (BAME) staff within the bank, especially in senior positions. One of the ways it will do this is to use career development and leadership schemes, connect staff with industry role models from similar backgrounds, and create an ‘allies programme’ to build advocacy among colleagues, it says. Speed mentoring Big City firms commonly have mentoring schemes for their own staff, but there are also great programmes enabling mentors to give their guidance to those outside their organisations too. Groups including Deloitte, Virgin Money, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank have all been involved in ‘speed mentoring’ events, for example, where people at the start of the careers in finance can have short, focused conversations with leaders from across the industry. Mentoring schemes like these present the City as a more open, friendly and accessible place, helping to attract the next generation of clever and ambitious people who will be vital to its future success. And of course you can access mentoring by signing up to AlgoMe.com and match with someone who will advise and support you or vice versa.
  15. At the moment, the impact of Brexit on the UK economy and employment could not be less clear. We do not know what the final deal with the EU will be, whether there will be a transition period, and to what extent financial services providers based in the UK will lose their passporting rights. We also do not know how many EU nationals working in the UK will return home, or how the UK government will seek to take back control of its immigration policy in the future. So, if you’re working in the Financial Sector in the UK, is it possible to say what effect Brexit will have on your career? Possibly, and to some extent the effects have already kicked in. Employers cannot afford to wait until the last minute, and most have already made plans to move at least some roles to the EU after Brexit. According to think-tank Breugel, London could lose 10,000 banking jobs and 20,000 roles in Financial Services. We also know Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Standard Chartered and Nomura have already committed to move hundreds of jobs to Frankfurt. HSBC says it is moving 1,000 jobs to Paris, although keeping its HQ in Canary Wharf. Barclays Bank is looking to move some staff to Dublin. Schroders and Jupiter have started filing for additional authorisation in Luxembourg and Dublin too so there’s no doubt change is afoot. So how can you do to make the most of Brexit in terms of your career? Keep ahead of the game. If you have a choice, don’t wait for your job to be under threat. If you are a contract worker or are looking to take the next step soon, Brexit could reduce your choices for several years, so you might want to think about that move sooner. The evidence from other industries is that once your career takes a step back, it rarely fully recovers. Not all jobs are under threat. EY’s Brexit tracker has a similar figure to Breugel’s, predicting 10,500 jobs will relocate. But of the 18 companies that told EY which business areas they were moving, 14 explained that it would be front office roles, which are most vulnerable to changes in passporting. If you work in the back office, you are much less vulnerable. Also, HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver said that only about 20% of the bank’s business would be affected. He doesn’t see “the foreign exchange market moving, the investment grade bond market moving, the equity market moving and the high-yield bond market moving.” Be flexible. If your job moves, why not move with it? Financial services companies will be desperate to hold on to as many staff as possible. There are worse places to live than Dublin, Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Paris. London is a technology leader. Relatively few Fintechs will want to relocate jobs. If you want to acquire a new skill to make a move into this side of the business, there has never been a better time to start acquiring it. Regulation is going nowhere. Brexit doesn’t signal the end of GDPR or MIFiD. Even if they have to be ported over to UK law eventually, there will not be a bonfire of financial regulation in the UK, and there’s a permanent shortage of experienced staff. Don’t panic. As Omar Ali, UK financial services leader at EY, points out: “The number of financial services companies who have publicly said that they are making wholesale changes to their London operations is relatively small, given the huge number of firms that comprise the sector.” We would also advise finding a mentor to help you consider all options for career progression and transition and of course, we have mentors available on the AlgoMe.com platform for you today.
  16. According to the AlgoMe Career Satisfaction Benchmark Report 2017, 40% of people leave their jobs for a change of career direction. We think one of the most exciting aspects of the explosion of innovation in the Financial Services industry is the chance to not just upgrade your responsibilities or status, but to take on a more creative and different challenge in your next role. That said, Happiness Research Institute report, which every year surveys what makes people happy at work has found the two most important factors in job satisfaction are that your job “feels meaningful”, and that you feel “mastery” of it. These two things are far more important than the least important long-term driver of happiness: money. So if you’re looking for meaningful mastery in your next role, where might you find this new challenge exactly? Well if you’re looking for the in-demand skills in Financial Services in 2018, technology is everywhere. But it doesn’t mean you need to code to take advantage of this trend (though, if you’re going to acquire a skill, tech has never been valued more highly). Here are five routes you might like to explore: The geeks are not inheriting the earth. In 2015 Goldman Sachs estimated that $4.7tn of financial services revenues was at risk of displacement from Fintech groups, which are attracting venture capital at un unprecedented rate. But those Fintechs don’t just need coders. They need experienced new staff with sector expertise, because it’s tough to sell to large institutions, and specialists know the territory and the people. Time to head to Fintech? Quite possibly. Intrapreneurs emerge. You might have noticed that your employer has been taking innovation more seriously lately. The rise of “intrapreneur” teams, given a free reign to drive rapid change in traditional firms, combines the excitement of a start-up with the knowledge that what you do can make a real difference. This offers both the chance to make a move to an internal team that your employer is incubating or maybe switch employers. Compliance scales up. MiFID II is here to stay, whatever happens in Brexit negotiations. Even a hard Brexit will imply that a “MiFID-like” regulation remains in UK law. Consequently, the burden of compliance that Financial Services suppliers are going through now will not go away any time soon or ever. This means there’s even more compliance work from GDPR this month, which will have a global impact that will also outlast Brexit. Equally new technology changes compliance itself and creates opportunities to monitor the day to day activity in much greater depth and speed. Security spend increases. The breach rate in Financial Services has tripled in the last five years, and there aren’t enough experts out there. One of the important things to realise about security is that technology is only part of the solution, and security teams also need experts who have sector experience and organisational expertise. Turn gamekeeper? Regulators are becoming more innovative and creative. For example, the FCA and the PRA are exploring how to automate regulatory reporting. This “regtech” offers the potential for more accurate data to be filed, reducing costs and regulatory burdens on financial services companies. This means there will be many opportunities to help create systems internally, or the sort of AI-driven technology that will make this work at scale for the institutions and technology providers that are making regulation work better. Are you interested in developing your skills for a new role or searching for a new place to work – sign up to AlgoMe today and match with a mentor or new role.
  17. The UK is a hotbed of fintech activity, and it has not escaped the attention of investors worldwide. so what can we expect in 2018? Last year, almost £3bn of venture capital found its way in to the UK’s tech sector, a record high and nearly double the figure for 2016. British fintech firms attracted almost four times more funding in 2017 than Germany, and more than France, Ireland and Sweden put together. This year promises to be even bigger, but what are the exciting developments driving those investment flows? Here’s what to expect in 2018 across five key areas we’ve identified: Open Banking One of the most exciting developments to land in the UK financial sector is Open Banking. Under these new rules, which came in to force in January this year, banks must share their customers’ financial data with other FCA-authorised institutions, if customers request them to. This includes bank and credit card transactions and information about spending habits, for example. The aim is to improve competition in the marketplace and ultimately help consumers get a better deal. It should also foster much greater innovation, as new alliances are forged between traditional financial services firms and fintech startups. This is already starting to happen – First Direct has partnered with fintech firm Bud, Barclays is working with Flux, and NatWest has teamed up with FreeAgent. Banks are working hard in-house too: HSBC, for example, has launched a beta app which will allow customers to see all their accounts on one screen, even those from rival providers. Expect more innovation and unlikely partnerships in the banking sector this year. Wealthtech Wealthtech refers to the specific type of fintech which is used to solve problems and improve user experience in the wealth management and investing world. The definition includes robo-advisers like Nutmeg and Wealthify, as well as micro-investment services and digital brokers. They focus on the under-served mass market of people who would like to invest but only have small savings pots to play with, or who perhaps can’t afford financial advice or wouldn’t be economically viable clients for traditional financial advisers to take on. Robo-advice and micro-investing tools help to democratise investing and make it accessible to a much wider consumer base. Although some of these companies may take time to become profitable, the assets they manage are set to grow rapidly. Deloitte estimates the $2 billion in assets under automated management globally today may grow to as much as $7 trillion by the year 2025. Cryptocurrencies So strong has been the hype around cryptocurrencies that some listed companies in totally unrelated sectors have linked themselves to the space by changing their names or the focus of their businesses. Just adding the word ‘blockchain’ in somewhere has proven enough to send their share prices soaring (see Long Island Iced Tea Corp, now called Long Blockchain). But there may already be signs that the bubble could burst – highly volatile Bitcoin has fallen a long way from its lofty highs, and there is a regulatory threat from financial watchdogs globally following a crackdown by South Korea. There could be interesting developments to come in cryptocurrencies this year as companies navigate the new landscape. Regtech Regtech refers to the use of technology to help financial services firms better comply with regulation. It’s been dubbed ‘the new fintech’ and it is a fast-growing area. Regtech businesses help other firms to meeting their reporting and compliance obligations, monitor transactions, and manage risk. Firms like Funds-Axis, DueDil, and Silverfinch are part of this growing movement. Deloitte says: “RegTech has a very bright future, with a huge amount of opportunity for those developing this type of technology to automate and enable the world of regulatory assessment and control management, bringing clarity and control to an area of the business that is so incredibly important, but so often cumbersome and time-consuming.” With the Financial Services industry under more regulatory pressure than ever and drowning in legislation, Regtech should be a fascinating area to watch. Artificial intelligence When you think of AI, you might think of chatbots being used to replace customer service people, or voice command technology like Amazon Alexa. But the applications of AI in fintech go much further. It can be used to spot suspicious transactions and cybersecurity threats, or predict consumer behaviour and make more accurate predictions based on these insights – for example, whether someone will be a future credit risk. Machine learning can be used to create a customised investment portfolio based on someone’s personal interests and preferences, updating it as their preferences change over time. The possibilities are endless, and who knows how the FS industry could change when AI reaches its full potential? As always, only time will tell when it comes to forecasting the future but one thing is sure, the UK fintech market is thriving now and will continue do so for a long time.
  18. MiFID II is arguably the biggest regulatory shakeup to hit the asset management industry since the Retail Distribution Review. The refreshed version of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive is a huge piece of legislation from Europe which came into force in January this year. It is designed to protect investors and push the financial services industry towards greater transparency. What’s changing? MiFID II has the potential to reshape the Financial Services landscape, with changes affecting all asset classes and institutions from banks and brokers to Asset Managers and pension funds. Among its main tenets are stricter rules around suitability, especially in relation to complex products, better transparency around trading, changing the remit of rules to include commodity derivatives, stricter controls on algorithmic trading, and limits on the size of trades that can be made in so-called ‘dark pools’ (private stock markets or trading forums used by institutional investors). Research and MiFID II MiFID II’s emphasis on itemising and disclosing all costs to clients has implications for firms’ distribution strategies. One rule which has particular significance for Asset Managers concerns the way firms deal with research. Under MiFID II, firms have to charge clients separately for analyst research, for example, on companies or sectors, rather than bundling the cost in with other services. Firms have been struggling to decide the right course of action as they try to balance profitability against customer service. Asset management giant Fidelity International recently did a U-turn on its policy on third party research. When it first announced its plans in October 2017, the group had planned to pass the costs of external research on to clients in a bid to be more flexible and transparent, while reducing its base management fee in order to offset the cost. The idea was to make sure all clients were treated equally, regardless of whether they were captured by MiFID II regulation or not. But, in February this year, it decided this was not in the best interests of clients, and it would instead absorb research costs itself. This brings it in line with the rest of the industry and ensures its clients will not be singled out to face “disproportionate operational and reporting consequences”, which could also make Fidelity look less competitive. Adrian Lowcock, investment director at Architas, said most Asset Managers are now on the same page in how they plan to handle research under MiFID II, but noted the industry could still face unexpected consequences as a result. “It is good to see that the industry has reached a consensus approach which should make it easier and cheaper to access funds. However, the long-term impact of absorbing research costs is still unknown and could result in unforeseen consequences, so fund groups, advisers and researchers need to remain vigilant to ensure this approach remains the right one for the industry and its clients.” One possible consequence could be cost-cutting to help fund groups and banks shoulder the cost of research, with potentially the loss of many analyst jobs. McKinsey & Co has estimated that the $4bn annual spend on research by the top 10 sell-side banks could drop 30% after MiFID II. However, the other side of the coin is that some groups, such as Schroders and Vanguard, are building up their in-house research teams so they can rely less on external sources. Regulatory landscape MiFID II is not the only legislation with which financial services firms have to contend. UCITS, PRIIPS and FATCA are among the other acronyms which could be giving industry executives sleepless nights, especially given the fact some aspects of these regulations overlap. Implementation and administrative costs so far may have burdened asset managers, and they may also face higher costs in future as their reporting requirements go up. Asset managers will no doubt slim down, adapt and innovate to cope with these latest changes, as they have always done, and the strongest will survive. If MiFID II achieves its laudable aim of making markets fairer and rebuilding investor trust in financial services, which is still lacking a decade on from the financial crisis, surely that can only be positive for the industry’s future.
  19. When the FCA concluded its asset management market study in December 2017 it found that competition was weak in the industry. This might not be how it seems at the sharp end, but a combination of the FCA’s remedies and market forces may force many changes in 2018 and beyond. In the light of this, we see some developments which will have an impact: Margins going down… The primary evidence for weak competition that the FCA found was “evidence of sustained, high profits over a number of years”. Other research featured in the Financial Times found that active fund managers took three quarters of all the value they created in fees, while beating the market by only 16p for every £100 invested. Therefore, the FCA will push for more comparability between funds, among other measures designed to create more fee competition and transparency. Add increased costs of regulation, and widespread high profits might not be sustained much longer. … And passivity going up. PwC predicts that by 2020 25% of assets under management will be in passive funds. That’s up from 17% in 2016. In 2018, investors in active, underperforming funds will want something to change, whether it is their returns or their fees. It will force asset management firms to decide what they do well: offering low fees and reliable returns from passive management, or consistent market-beating ability. The middle ground will be squeezed. Data science becomes innovative. Technology will increasingly become fundamental to the ability to beat the market. Following big data, automation and machine learning are at the forefront of the search for alpha. In data science, a bright creative idea (often borrowed from another discipline) is more useful than mountains of data, so there will be an increasing emphasis on the quirky, creative or seemingly barmy. For example: S&P Global Market Intelligence has found that earnings calls that feature complicated and polysyllabic language can predict stock declines, and that executives who took the fewest number of questions from analysts on calls had stock that underperformed by 2.14% over the following two months. Meanwhile a group of economic historians have dusted off original sources and found the surprising result that, over multiple business cycles, the global rate of return on property assets has always been as high as for equities, but with a volatility as low as bonds. Asset management will be summoned to save the world. The sector is increasingly involved in the solutions to social problems, for example climate change, healthcare and providing for an ageing population. This means transparency is not just a buzzword. Sovereign wealth funds, for example, will be looking to diversify their assets, but increasingly are under pressure to do so along ethical investment guidelines. The ability to combine transparency with efficiency, for example to calculate a portfolio’s carbon footprint, will be increasingly valuable. There you have it, 2018 is set to be an interesting year for the Asset Management industry at the very least.
  20. Luuk Jacobs

    A mentee’s guide to mentoring

    None of us are born with experience and wisdom. We have to acquire them, and increasingly companies are turning to mentoring programmes to fill the gaps in knowhow and nous or that even their most talented hires will have. According to the AlgoMe Career Satisfaction Benchmark Report 2017, 86% of us believe mentoring is important to our careers, so it is not surprising that the CIPDreports that mentoring is becoming more in demand. World class talent and business leaders use mentors Many of the people who we may think have the greatest instinctive or natural talents credit mentors. Prince thanked Miles Davis for bringing out his creativity. Steve Jobs acknowledged many mentors for different sides of his business, even Kobun Chino Otagowa, a Zen master who influenced the way he thought about design. Jobs in turn went on to act as mentor to Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook, and Larry Page at Google. Even Winston Churchill acknowledged the influence of an Irish-American politician called Bourke Cockran, who taught him about public speaking. Nevertheless, many of us hold back from asking management or HR for a mentor, or approaching a colleague to ask for mentoring help. Why do we avoid this conversation? Partly because mentoring relationships have traditionally been hard to define: what is it precisely you are asking for? It’s easier to describe training or coaching programmes, for example, which are used to develop specific skills over a set period, with a formal test at the end. Mentoring usually covers a much wider range of abilities, may carry on for many months or even years, be delivered informally and privately, and may not have a defined measurement of success. Barriers to mentoring Our work environments are increasingly goal-driven, and more of our performance can be measured. This may also discourage managers from prioritising mentorship as a key process for staff development and retention. But it’s often in those places that the input from the one-to-one mentoring relationship can achieve the most by filling the gaps in our abilities. Identify these gaps yourself and ask for help and you will eliminate these very hurdles. How to make mentoring a success If you are looking for a mentor, here are some important factors that can make the relationship a success: What can your mentor help you achieve? Every mentoring relationship should have some purpose that helps you do a better job, even if that is very broadly defined (if you are approaching HR or management to help you find a mentor, stating this clearly will help you make your case). Understanding the purpose can also help decide who is the best type of mentor to work with. If your goal is to learn how to manage your team better, that’s a different mentoring process to learning how to be more effective with clients, or improving soft skills. Before committing to the mentoring relationship, be honest about where you feel you need help. A mentor’s attitude is more important than status Being the protegé of a high-flier sounds great, but isn’t always the best outcome. You might find that, when you need advice, that person has other priorities, finds it hard to relate to your challenges, or even has a conflict of interests. It becomes hard to be open about failure, too. It is more important that your chosen mentor understands and empathises with your needs, and has time to give when you need it. How do you want to be mentored? You might prioritise a series of regular meetings, or prefer someone on the end of a phone when you need to speak who you meet only occasionally. What matters most is that both sides understand how the relationship will work, that it is a learning relationship. But is it working? Mentoring is broader, less goal-driven and more open-ended than skills training, but you can still measure your progress. This might be a regular meeting to discuss long-term progress, or it might be a session to share a line manager’s independent short-term assessment of your development. Don’t rush it There are many services (often delivered online) which claim to offer “speed mentoring”. As David Clutterbuck, and expert who has written more than 50 books on mentoring and coaching dismisses them as “a simplistic solution that carries little cost or responsibility”. These methods may (sometimes) solve a short-term problem for you, but they don’t give you the ability to learn, and there’s no follow-up. Your mentor’s advice may show you how to open doors, but it is up to you to walk through them. The relationship will help you understand how to solve problems, but it is up to you to solve them. Your role is to listen to advice, thank your mentor, and act on it — even if sometimes it is hard to hear. You can start your search for a mentor by creating your profile on AlgoMe.com today.
  21. AlgoMe is a relatively newly launched concept so we were delighted to be named as one of the top 10 Wealthech stories in 2017 by Banking Technology Magazine last month. We hope to bag similar accolades in 2018 which means Rob and I, along with the rest of the team, are working extra hard to achieve that. In a busy few months since our go live last July, we’ve continued to evolve the platform and optimise it. True to our promise, we’ve matched mentors with mentees and vice versa. We’ve also made successful career matches for professionals with roles which suit them in companies they really want to work in. Recently we made it even easier for the growing AlgoMe user-base to manage their careers on the go with the launch of our mobile apps available now for iOS and Android too. As 2018 unfolds, we are reaching out to companies across the City to give AlgoMe demos and share some interesting insights in employment trends and skills. If you would like us to come and give you the AlgoMe demo and find out how we can work with your HR departments, project leader and teams and to get the best talent, please do get in touch with me using this email [email protected] You can watch this video to find out more about AlgoMe and why we created this start-up which is set to challenge industry conventions and create career mobility in Asset Management, Fintech and the wider Financial Services industry. This shorter video takes you through the platform and how to sign up to AlgoMe. The AlgoMe app is available to download on iTunes here or Google Play here. For those of you who want to get inside the industry mindset, do check out the AlgoMe Career Satisfaction Benchmark Survey. You can download it now for great insights and advice. The report supports professionals and companies by helping them to understand how to manage their roles and ambitions successfully – especially when it comes to identifying needs and weak spots. Please enjoy the read and feel free to share this with your colleagues and HR.
  22. London is the biggest financial centre globally, making it a city with large number of highly paid jobs. Beyond that, over the last 5 to 10 years, many professionals have moved to London to work in sectors other than Finance. Technology, and certain creative industries such as advertising for instance also attract people from outside of the UK. Regardless of high salaries, London’s quality of life can be tough at times, with a very high cost of living. Many things have drastically improved over the last 15 years – the food for instance – after 9 years living in London, it’s not just the quality of life that’s making me stay. What makes London so attractive? Speaking for myself, as well as friends, the unique cosmopolitan environment means you work and live with people from all over the world with no or little language barriers. This is made possible by a British welcoming working culture as well as London’s urban ‘festive’ vibe. According to latest statistics, there are 3.2 million foreign-born population currently working and living in London. This community is characterised by their diversity with professionals from all over Europe – in itself an already culturally rich and diverse continent – the Commonwealth, Asia, South and North America all bring their stone to the edifice. As far as my knowledge goes, this cannot be experienced to that extent anywhere else in the world. Diversity only works in the right environment. While jobs help a lot but there is more to it than first meets the eye when it comes to London. The first one is obvious, the language. 38% of Europeans speak English as their second language making it relatively easy not to just work but also live normally in the UK for foreigners. By living normally, read not having an isolated expat life. Second is the welcoming and open British working culture which makes it easy for professionals to socialise outside of working hours. Third, the way London is built; each area in London has its own mix of modern and older houses making everyone from diverse social, economic and ethnic backgrounds live together. There is an argument that this aspect contributed massively to the openness of the city. Finally, London’s popular culture which embraces music, fashion, art, street life is second to none.
  23. It’s an exciting time for AlgoMe as we have just introduced apps for iOS and Android which are now available free on iTunes and Google Play. Professionals can now manage their careers on the go while using the mobile app on their smartphones. About the AlgoMe mobile app Once users download the AlgoMe app, they will be prompted to sign in if they already have a profile or register to start the sign up process. The mobile app shows a dashboard with a dropdown menu which has eight features including; Your Personal Info, Education, Work Experience, Skills, Aspirations, Mentoring, AlgoMail and Invitations. Users receive instant contact updates and can manage their personal matches, communications, information and careers on the go. The AlgoMe app is available to download on iTunes here or Google Play here. This release is AlgoMe Version 1.0 for both platforms, further releases and updates will be made over time. AlgoMe on Google Play requires Android 4.0 and up, AlgoMe on iTunes requires iOS 8.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. How AlgoMe works AlgoMe is a career management platform used by professionals and companies. Professionals seeking access to career development, industry knowledge and connections are discretely matched with companies and mentors/mentees on the platform; allowing individuals to connect with companies directly and meet new people for mentoring or networking without having data in the public domain. As a result, personal development and career progression can now match the pace of the evolving industry. The AlgoMe apps and web platform help professionals to: Get matched through intelligent algorithm to your next job opportunity and to a mentor/mentee Build your relevant CV highlighting your high proficiency skills that matter Define your aspirations and career trajectory Communicate directly with HR managers, project managers, and mentors/mentee HR and line managers, as well as project leaders, can use AlgoMe to share job opportunities from their organisations and discover the right person to match their requirements. Privacy is paramount for AlgoMe and there is no public viewing platform, professionals are in charge of who sees their information and need to accept an invitation from a company or individual to share details. The mobile app release comes hot on the heels of the The AlgoMe Career Satisfaction Benchmark Report 2017 released in November which is available free online. The report is a pulse check for the asset management, fintech and wider financial services.
  24. There is no denying having a job is now intrinsic to modern existence. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has stated work has obvious economic benefits, but having a job also helps individuals stay connected with society, build self-esteem, and develop skills and competencies. In the UK, a larger than average proportion of the adult population is employed (73%), whereas the global average is 68%. Companies benefit greatly from a stable and happy workforce so when we created the AlgoMe Career Satisfaction Benchmark Report, we wanted to find out why people in our sector would leave their jobs and look for another one. What are the Triggers? The AlgoMe Career Satisfaction Benchmark Survey has identified a number of triggers which move people into job seeking mode; these span three areas which are personal reasons, industry drivers and company climate. These triggers should be on the radar of management who want to retain the best talent. The statistics breakdown as follows: 40% are motivated personally to look for a new role by a change in career direction 25% are driven by industry reputation or kudos 33% by the climate of culture change within their organisation How to manage staff turnover It is important for HR and management to develop contingency measures to keep teams stable and reduce churn. One route is to open up an ongoing dialogue which helps judge the mood of the company and attitudes towards change and reputation. Managers and HR professionals can use exit surveys or staff attitude to help them understand why people leave businesses. However, this is generally a case of too little too late – anticipating movement is far better than post-rationalisation. There are many reasons why people leave a company which creates a complex landscape to navigate but it’s possible to manage well. By being aware of these trigger moments earlier, management can concentrate on strategies which help stabilise people and keep them within the company. For example, in an individual case, if someone has managed to develop their skillset within your company, that makes them much more valuable to the organisation and elsewhere. A proactive strategy to keep this person loyal would be to recognise their ambition and find them a new role to help them advance. This is a much more attractive option than having to replace them when they leave which means losing both their accrued knowledge of the organisation and the company investment into the individual. The AlgoMe Career Satisfaction Benchmark Survey is now out – download it now for great insights and advice
  25. At AlgoMe, we’re very well acquainted with the Asset Management, Fintech and the wider Financial Services industries. We understand how dynamic and exciting these areas are to work in and conversely, how the challenging factors such as regulation, Brexit and technology are creating new pressure points. According to The Investment Association there are currently 93,500 people employed in activities related either directly or indirectly to asset management – this is a significant community. The asset management industry alone directly employs 37,700 individuals at the end of 2016. More than ever before, professionals and organisations need to be working at peak performance; which means sustaining a productive and stable workforce. We asked ourselves, where are we right now? What are professionals thinking and how does this stack up against what they are experiencing at work? In order to uncover a true picture of where we are now, and how to overcome the challenges we all face, we undertook some extensive research and have just published the AlgoMe Career Satisfaction Benchmark Report. The report is a pulse check when it comes to working goals, ideals and motivation. The results have proved what we have been suspecting for a while – the workforce is changing and there are already fundamental gaps in expectations between employees and their employers. The report supports professionals and companies by helping them to understand how to manage their roles and ambitions successfully – especially when it comes to identifying needs and weak spots. Please enjoy the read and feel free to share this with your colleagues and HR. The AlgoMe Career Satisfaction Benchmark Survey is now out – download it now for great insights and advice
  26. Guest blog from Julia Kirkland, Senior Partner at FSTP If you don’t know already, which of course you do, the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) is EU legislation which first came into effect in 2007. It was created to regulate firms providing services to their clients which are linked to ‘financial instruments’, these being shares, bonds, units in collective investment schemes and derivatives. In addition, it covers the venues where those ‘financial instruments’ are traded. Fast forward 10 years or so and we have an updated version – MiFID II. This includes the revised MiFID and a new Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR). January 3, 2018 is the day MiFID II must be implemented across Europe. Now we’re on the cusp of this deadline, the thorny and sensitive topic of Knowledge and Competence (K&C) is bubbling up as a major concern across the industry. We’ve spoken with numerous firms in both the Asset Management and Wealth Management sectors and they have one thing in common; they’re all grappling with the assessment of competence of information providers. Who is in scope? In Asset Management, this may cover a wide range of roles from sales teams, client services, broker servicing staff to Portfolio Managers (the really sensitive aspect of K&C). Managers may struggle with the fact they must tell a Portfolio Manager of 20 years plus who hasn’t got a formal qualification, they need to be assessed as competent and in a very short timeframe too. In Wealth, the scope may cover desk assistants, team secretaries and portfolio assistants who may all be in direct contact with clients, giving them information about prices, valuations, charges and providing generic market or sector views. Additionally, research teams who might attend meetings with clients to provide market, sector or stock views on a non-advised basis may fall under this too. Most of the firms we are speaking to are including research teams. Most of the above staff members have never been included in formal K&C Schemes before but this has changed. What happens in 2018? As it stands, information providers not assessed by January 3 will need to be supervised in their activities and oversight of any client interaction must be in place. If you’re not prepared, January 2018 is fast approaching and maybe it’s time to look outside your company for third party support and assistance. Our guest blogger Julia Kirkland, is Senior Partner, FSTP FSTP is a training solution provider with expertise in MiFID II and the company also runs workshops to cover Wealth and Asset Management to meet the ESMA requirements and provides advanced K&C assessments for more seasoned, professional staff.
  27. Mention disruption to anyone in financial services and three trends come to most professionals’ mind: Artificial Intelligence, Robo-Advisory, and Blockchain. So, will 2018 be a disruptive year? A lot of ink has been spilled on these topics; but so far AI hasn’t fundamentally threatened white collar jobs above administration level; Robo-Advisory, although fairly successful still have to demonstrate they can sustain their business models on the long run; as for Blockchain, although Cryptocurrencies keep breaking record high and are now considered as investments by Hedge Funds, the practical application of the distributed ledger based technology to the wider banking sector is far from being evident. What we can expect next in the future is Artificial Intelligence, and other new technologies, playing a bigger role in our daily work/investors lives: Chatbot, Personal Assistant, Robot-Advisors, Machine Learning, Cognitive Computing, you name it. But while for now, it seems that machines aren’t taking over yet, it’s safe to say change is afoot. Basic admin functions such as personal assistants or digital labour are tipped to replaced by machines, but there are concerns over regulation, privacy and trust which haven’t been overcome yet. Augmented intelligence whereby machines assist humans may prove to be the most disruptive trend in the short term. There has been tremendous effort from large Investment Banks to automate a significant bulk of the financial research process. Goldman Sachs for instance invested a few years ago 15 million into Kensho, a machine-learning start-up aimed at replacing research analysts by using algorithms. Ultimately at this stage though – quantitative investment strategy based on pricing time series aside – final human judgment is still required to analyze the qualitative data gathered by even the most advanced algorithm. Second, Robo-Advisors have proven to be a cost-efficient solution in term of challenging high fee structures offered by the broader Asset Management industry. Although performance has been mitigated, the new DOL fiduciary rule may give Robo-Advisors a boost due to pressures on commissions. Finally, the use of Blockchain has proved a popular trend for Internet community-based platforms seeking to use ICO’s to raise funds. Although the success of Bitcoin and Ethereum is already widely demonstrated, the application of the distributed-ledger based technology to the broader investment banking appears to be much more slowly paced, mostly for regulatory reasons. Let’s talk about the potential benefits first, Blockchains could become a major disrupter for capital markets infrastructure addressing significant industry issues, including the reduction counter party risk minimisation, reduction of settlement times, improvement of contractual term performance and increased regulatory reporting transparency. But by solving certain problems, it could create new ones. Regulatory issues could be the same as for cryptocurrencies, only for investment banking they are potential major blockers. There are two concerns; the first one revolves around anonymised transactions and therefore the difficult oversight of money laundering by regulators. Blockchain technology aside, there have been significant cases of money laundering in the last 10 years. Take as an example HSBC in Mexico, illegal transactions have gone unnoticed for a certain amount of time thanks to financial innovation. It is worth noting as a general comment that in the light of recent scandals, Libor, Subprime and AML, financial innovations have always been ahead of regulators. Now add anonymised transactions to the equation, money markets oversight and regulating big banks balance sheet thus becomes an issue: who owns what? Rings a bell? No doubt that the solutions around these problems can be found, but the bigger picture here is whether Blockchain can reduce costs and eliminate some intermediaries. If its oversight turns out to be more complex than anticipated, can it achieve this? The second problem is the difficulty Blockchain poses to central banks. We have seen them issuing warning notes about cryptocurrencies, the lack of control on inflows/outflows in and out an offshore currency could undermine their authority. Let’s think now about what it could be for banking: money markets need central banks intervention, in particular when they need to avoid the worst. Can Central Banks’ market intervention have the same impact in distributed ledger type of market place? Blockchain has lot of benefits, but its implications must be well understood before being put into practice. Looking ahead to 2018, disruption maybe on the horizon but regulation and human intervention and interaction with new technology will more likely be the dominant themes.
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