By Jonathan Max
I started at Lehman Brothers in 2005 in their HR team; they had been a client organisation of mine for a few years and was I extremely excited to be joining in the heady days of a raging bull market. While an industry contact had informed me of the potential role; there was the ‘standard’ interview process of seemingly meeting everyone. Did I really know what to expect or how to make the most of the opportunity? Not really is the honest answer.
I learned how to progress my career as I went along; but, in truth was more focused on being accepted and delivering in what was a culturally unique organisation. I stayed at Lehman Brothers until it reached its dénouement in 2008. After the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, I transferred to Nomura and was again part of a fascinating journey with many twists and turns along the way. The market was clearly in a very different place; the next years were a seemingly endless journey of organisational ‘Re’....Restructuring, Realignment, Repositioning, Reorganisation and so on. I left Nomura in 2017 and now reflect on what I wish someone had told me in 2005 about career development; so I have summarised as follows:
Find a mentor
My approach here was somewhat ad-hoc. I had a great relationship with my line manager and then an organisation change resulted in a different reporting line. To placate some pre-existing hostility between my former and new line manager; the safest route was to form a ‘mentoring relationship’ with my previous manager so I could still benefit from his considerable insight and advice. I developed several mentoring relationships; both within and outside the companies. A couple were more formal, the others less so but equally valuable. They were people with different backgrounds and experience who could share information and provide guidance.
Sun Microsystems undertook a body of research around its own mentoring programme, which came up with some very compelling results Mentors were promoted six times more often than those not in the programme; mentees were promoted five times more often than those not in the programme. Having mentoring in your early career is obviously going to speed up progress, but according to the Harvard Business Review article on mentoring “Everyone we spoke with over age 40 could name a mentor in his or her professional life, but younger people often could not”. Therefore, to get ahead of the game and progress your career you need to think carefully about how to develop the right mentoring relationships and do this early on. Or, put another way, when you can gain practical advice and learn from the experience of others; why would you not seek mentoring relationships?
Join Networking Groups
I founded what was to become the largest employee driven network at Nomura; comprising over 750 people in the UK and beyond and holding several events every month. So why did I do this? Because I thought it would be a bit of fun and with the support of my manager and head of diversity something that would bring a bit of variety to me professionally and personally.
With this decision, I completely missed the significant benefit this would have on my career. I was able to find new ways to navigate the organisation and find the find answers I needed. I had ‘friendly’ contacts in many departments; if they couldn’t help me they would point me in the right direction. As my day-to-day work became complex and involved working across several different groups and businesses; I had the right contacts to make things easier. I’m not saying you need to form a group but being part of internal and external networking groups is absolutely essential to successful career development. This article; 10 Important Benefits of Networking is a very accurate overview of why this needs to be part of your game-plan.
Leverage the appraisal process
I don’t think I was in a group of one in my early approach to appraisals and performance management. Typically, following a number of automated reminders, I would complete the mid-year or year-end process with seconds to spare and that was that until the next reminder arrived in my inbox. Most of the completion time was spend on ‘refreshing’ myself on the objectives I had set and then trying to recall enough information to make a decent attempt at well considered response.
My advice here is embrace the appraisal process to your advantage as I started to do after realising how I could benefit from a more structured approach; how you evidence your achievements is just as important as how you determine your goals and where to focus your skills. Contrary to popular myth, a sense of entitlement on how your career should progress doesn’t work! What is truer is that management talk and discuss people; so make sure you are in the group of people that gets discussed for the right reasons and opportunities will come your way. Even if the traditional annual performance appraisal process is giving way to more frequent conversations between a manager and subordinate; make sure you are ready to have discussions about your future.
Know your Industry
Earlier on in my career, I was too focused on my immediate environment and in trying to deliver day-to-day. Therefore, my perspectives were too internalised, and I wasn’t able to draw on external sources for new or alternative perspectives. I started to change this; attending industry events; reading and learning to increase my understating of the industry and how different elements knitted together.
What I didn’t realise immediately, is that managers are having to demonstrate this very thing to their superiors and don’t necessarily have the bandwidth to get into all the detail. Making yourself a ‘go-to person’ for information enhances your personal brand and with that you get to get involved in more interesting projects and assignments and hence career development is a beneficial consequence.
As Abraham Lincoln said, "The best way to predict the future is to create it.", that’s not something you can leave for someone else to do if you want to progress your career.
By Luuk Jacobs
We partnered with Imperial College Business School for a panel discussion about the Impacts of FinTech to careers in Investment Management. We were keen to marry up the collective experience of the panel, and their insights and views, with the audience. Equally we wanted to get a feel for what the next generation of Investment Management professionals should set in their sights.
Based on the findings from our soon to be published report The Disrupted Career - FinTech, Investment Management and future careers, we created a truly interactive debate as we put the questions we used in our survey to our audience, enabling to give real-time feedback via the AlgoMe Community mobile app.
The panel consisted of Rob Carter, CEO, AlgoMe and Ruben Lara, Chief Data Officer, Standard Life Aberdeen, and Henrik Grunditz, Co-Founder & Chief Revenue Officer, Hivemind, a FinTech that is helping companies create value from complex data sets. The Moderator was Anne-Louise Burnett, Centre Manager, Imperial College Business School Centre for Global Finance & Technology.
The key questions that were discussed were:
Do I understand typical career paths in Investment Management?
The combined experience of our panel is both lengthy and varied. For example, moving from working within an investment company, joining a consulting company and also joining other industries where core skills are transferable (eg. within data science), indicated that careers are fluid and certainly not predefined. The key trend however was all the panel members, throughout their careers. kept developing and adding to their skillsets.
Are career paths less well defined due to the changes happening in the industry?
There was a general view that indeed career paths are now less well defined than before, and technology and general innovation were changing these paths as existing positions in the industry will likely be displaced by other new ones. The new careers demand an understanding of data and how they can be leveraged to create efficiency, greater understanding of clients, investments and decision making. As the technology impact is just starting to hit the Investment Management industry, career paths will be impacted in the next 10 years to a great extent, beyond what we imagine today. Some research indicates that 90% of today’s jobs will not exist in 10-15 years.
What skills will be the most important to develop careers in Investment Management?
As already mentioned, skills linked to data science will be important. Along with this, the ability to interpret what it presents, to further support risk management, controls, understanding of clients and trends in the market as well as supporting (investment) decision making. These skills will be in demand for both junior and senior positions and given the technology developments ahead of us will likely change and become more complex.
What will, and what can, you do to progress your career?
The panel indicated that if they were looking at their 20-year younger self, they would not have seen themselves in the positions they are today. Nevertheless, a key ‘red line’ through their careers was the development of their main professional interest and continuously developing the associated skills, be it business management, data and analytics, or information systems engineering. All equally being influenced by the need of these aforementioned hard technology skills.
Rob Carter stressed the value of having mentors throughout your career, people that can guide you and hold a mirror up for you. Hendrik Grunditz mentioned the benefits of networking, staying in touch with people and create a reputation of being nice, delivering constant high quality and be committed. Ruben Lara added to this the need for the softer skills and ability to influence, manage stakeholders and communication.
We believe the Investment Management professional career is about to change direction, and for some this will be a radical change. It seems everyone is in agreement and there are very exciting times ahead, especially for those with a passion for technology and change.
By Eva Keogan
Direct quote from Investment Week: The number of firms in the UK reporting their Gender Pay Gap (GPG) figures by the deadline has fallen by more than a thousand, amid claims firms have restructured businesses or transferred staff to avoid being obliged to report, or have ditched reporting altogether under the perception they will not face repercussions.
Is anyone working for a company which has done this? Is it time to name and shame as has been threatened before? Your thoughts are welcome.
This is quite worrying to read and it's not just Investment Week which has reported on this but to down size companies so they are below the 250-person threshold for reporting is incredibly cynical. Has anyone found evidence of this? Also, using Brexit as a smokescreen is not going to wash next year.
Gender pay gap reporting falls as asset managers unveil mixed results
WWW.INVESTMENTWEEK.CO.UK More than 1,000 fewer firms reveal figures
By Luuk Jacobs
The Investment Association just published their report "CLOSING THE GAP: ADDRESSING THE GENDER PAY GAP" which in part 3 looks at the "Industry Initiatives for Change". A very welcome publication that gives a good summary of what our industry (although I would think any industry) can do to close the gap, concentrated around:
Attraction and recruitment; Retention and advancement; and Monitoring
When reading it, I still come away with the feeling that it does not go beyond the standard and is not necessarily addressing cultural issues as indicated in my earlier blog or is moving away from the beaten path.
By Rob Carter
Brexit, MiFID II, GDPR, Gender Pay Gap and Diversity are the themes we consider top of mind currently which is why we’ve created the Summer 2018 AlgoMe Industry Pulse Report.
We wanted to get under the skin of some of these key events and burning issues for 2018. In doing so, we revealed some very interesting results and statistics.
Given a choice of 7 cities, Dublin, Paris and Amsterdam are the top three choices for Asset Managers, Fintech and Financial Services employees to relocate to following Brexit. While 54% would not consider moving as a result of Brexit.
When it comes to regulation; we are not surprised to find MiFID II and GDPR will affect over 60% of the roles in the industry.
Positively, 59% believe Gender Pay Gap Reporting will improve the career progression of women.
Please read the report for the full information and do get in touch if you would like to know more about your industry workforce.
Rob Carter, CEO, AlgoMe