By Luuk Jacobs
By Eva Keogan
By Jonathan Max
By Luuk Jacobs
By Andy Milner
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 Luuk Jacobs
The diversity project (diversityproject.com) has made a great video, with women talking about their role in the industry and how it creates the diversity of thought needed for investment management specific but equally other industries in general
By Jonathan Max
Earlier this year the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) the professional body for HR and people development in collaboration with Uptimise, a firm which helps organisations attract and leverage neuro diverse talent, produced an excellent guide on Neurodiversity at Work. Simply described the recognition and respecting of different ways of thinking due to autism, dyslexia, ADHD, etc. and consider these various neurological conditions as result of normal variations in the human genome.
This blog explores the key learnings and how they may be applied to the Financial Services industry. More specifically, we want to look towards Investment Management, and helping raise awareness of the importance and benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace.
Key points from Neurodiversity at Work
The business case for diversity in general is now accepted. Organisations now challenge each other with innovation and vie for competitive advantage. As a consequence, there are significant risks of being left behind and one of these is not including people with different ways of thinking or actively leveraging different thinking styles. The Neurodiversity at Work guide points to a clear comparison between man and machine. Unlike a machine, the human brain cannot be determined as ‘fixed’ or ‘broken’; it might just have a different way of operating.
The guide focuses on forms of ‘innate neurodivergence’ such as Autism and ADHD; effectively a further pillar of Diversity and Inclusion that seeks to embrace the talents of people who think differently. Neurodiversity is not something binary but rather a range of differences in brain function and behaviours. We need to move away from stereotypical thinking of neurological conditions. The “negative and medicalised language has dominated the lexicon – witness the very terms ‘autism spectrum disorder’ and the double negative in ‘ADHD’. The size of this talent pool should not be underestimated, as the guide reports the overall population of neurominorities is greater than 10%.
Neurodiversity in action
According to the report, lessons can be learned from the JPMorgan, EY, Google, Microsoft, SAP, Ford and Amazon who all have, or are developing, neurodiversity initiatives with some more advanced than others.
“Around 80% to 90% of autistic people are unemployed,” says James Mahoney, executive director and head of autism at work at J.P. Morgan. “For us, that’s a talent pool. If you look at areas like technology – there’s a huge shortage of good people with high-level skills. It’s a sector that we know many autistic people excel in.”
In 2016 EY launched a neurodiversity program in Philadelphia to hire people on the autism spectrum to serve as Account Support Associates (ASAs). Sam Briefer, one of the first hires under the neurodiversity program said: “We bring something to the table that a lot of people cannot. We are very detail-oriented. We analyse things in a very specific way, and we are good with numbers. And we see things slightly differently, which means we can come up with new and innovative ways of doing things.”
Enterprise software firm SAP has committed 1% of its workforce made up of those on the Autistic spectrum by 2020 – reflecting the percentage of the global population that is Autistic. It’s Autism at Work programme launched in 2013, and the company has transformed the way it recruits and trains staff to be as inclusive as possible. “We had to develop so many processes from scratch because we didn’t want to use standard HR processes,” says Stefanie Nennstiel, senior director of diversity and inclusion at SAP. “Someone with autism would not survive the traditional interview process, for example, so we had to be more creative.”
Action for Investment Management industry to take
So, what can the Investment Management industry do to harness this talent and be neurodiversity smart?
Clearly there needs to be commitment to neurodiversity from the top of the organisation which then must cascade and be communicated so that this vital group can be integrated into the culture of the firm. Review of workplaces, hiring process and management practices is essential; given the fundamental changes the industry has faced over the last few years, I would hope this would be seen as a further change worth making.
The cost of inaction for Investment Management might be vast, and if you’re pondering when your organisation might adopt a neurodiversity policy, just ask yourself these two questions:
- What will it cost you not to get the most out of your employees in terms of productivity, or to lose talent to more inclusive, attractive employers?
- What will it mean for your product innovation to miss out on the ‘diversity of thought’ that neurodiversity can deliver, and that other firms are setting themselves up to benefit from?
And then you might want to speak to your senior management team or HR, or both.
By Colin Ng
Revolt announced it will be offering ETFs to its customers....