Businesses are constantly faced with new challenges and ways to fix problems, hence the need to ‘lift and drop’ in new talent. Asset Management is not immune to this. With a limited pool of specific Asset Management talent, it will need to go beyond the usual channels for the right people, with diverse and different skills and experience, to handle the rate of change and progress, especially in the next two years.
A regulation such as MiFID II is the perfect example of how change impacts the requirement for new talent and skills.
In 2017, we have seen already the Financial Services industry gear up for the impending MiFID II January 2018 deadline. New skills and experience will need to be placed at the table not only to meet the deadline but for ongoing support after its implementation.
In other industries like Telecommunications, Media, Retail and other business sectors, there tends to be a wealth of digital cross-fertilisation of ideas, and expertise entering the markets, bringing with it innovation and know-how. The ‘diversity of thought’ aspect of having a different mindset, being able to interact with lots of people from different areas with different ways of thinking and tackling problems is valuable and highly sought after in the wider business world.
Conversely, with Asset Management and its related sector/functions, historically there has been significantly less cross-pollination of external ideas, talent and skill-sets. This renders the sector somewhat vulnerable and at a disadvantage with what could be interpreted as staid and rather limited ‘non-out-of-the-box’ homogenous thinking. Such inertia has siloed the sector, even with some Agile management technologies such as DevOps making tentative inroads over recent times. It’s time this mindset changed and welcomed the challenges ahead. Injecting new blood from outside the sector can add to and complement a team made up solely of Financial Services professionals and reinvigorate it at the same time.
Helicoptering in talent from elsewhere can really benefit Asset Management in areas such as regulatory compliance and RegTech, where sectors such as banking tend to become subjected to new regulations first. Due to the inherent risk of the institutions as one goes down the risk scale of organisations, these new regulations impact Asset Managers and Wealth Managers further down the line. Consequently, if an individual has had exposure to even a specific regulation in, say, banking, it will be a benefit in other areas of Financial Services, especially since Asset Managers are not as equipped to deal with such change and it becomes a necessity to parachute in talent.
For Asset Management and the broader Financial Services landscape, areas such as the aforementioned MiFID II are multi-year initiatives that warrant a blended team of consultants, contractors and permanent resource to fully meet programme needs.
Ordinarily, organisations tend use the consultant route to helicopter in talent to deal with new topics and issues. Increasingly, such is the pace of change even this tried-and-tested method is no longer guaranteed to ensure the right talent at the right time. Initiatives might also be too small for larger consulting firms to lend their support and smaller firms often lack the expertise to add value.
It follows then, the specific talent however might not come from the Asset Management industry or even wider Financial Services and could be found in unrelated industries. Now is definitely the time to broaden our horizons and look outside of our usual parameters for the right talent and skills and welcome change.