By Luuk Jacobs
By Eva Keogan
By Jonathan Max
By Luuk Jacobs
By Andy Milner
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 Andy Milner
An interesting read from TheCityUK, which highlights the lack of diversity and need for more FinTech skills as being key challenges across FS.
Financial Services Skills Taskforce - Interim report | TheCityUK
By Jonathan Max
Really interesting Policy Paper from the IA which certainly highlights the fundamental changes underway across the industry, particularly against a backdrop of increased regulation and technology disruption.
Clearly the 'people' aspect is key, would be great to find out more about the Talent and D&I Strategy @gillian.painter?
By Julia Kirkland
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.
By Colin Ng
FT has an article today on a slowdown in the global stock market. Conversely, the bond markets have been rallying as investors move to protect their portfolios with 'safer' sovereign debt. This demand has brought the yields down (seen as less risky) and prices up. With more money being absorbed into the bond markets (and other safer asset classes), there is less flowing into stocks.
A key point raised was that the 3 month vs 10 year US Treasury Bill spread has been shrinking steadily over the last year - one of the tell tale signs of an upcoming recession. Yields on 10 year bills are falling to at par or lower than 3 month yields which indicates the market is bearish about longer term economic prospects.
Though i do wonder if this situation is temporary and it is bit premature to point towards a potential recession.
Interest rates are being artificially suppressed at the moment at a time when there are other signs of an improving economy (not overheating) with high levels of employment and rising public debt as a % of GDP (250%). There is only one way interest rates will go in the future and when it does, traditional economic theories point to a corresponding increase in bond yields. This should have an effect of widening again the 3 month to 10 year bill yield spread, reversing the effects of the above.
I'm definitely not an economist so would love to hear what other schools of thoughts are out there!