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Webinar Recap – Asset Servicing Careers in the New Normal

Tuesday, 29 September 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kate Dent
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The Australian Custodial Services Association (ACSA) recently held a successful webinar on Careers in the New Normal as part of its ongoing Future of Work series.  


The webinar, which was moderated by ACSA Deputy Chair Sally Surgeon, heard from Fergal Gleeson and Jack Brown of TOM Executive Recruitment, as well as ACSA CEO Robert Brown.  


The free-flowing conversation covered a range of topics about the changing nature of the asset servicing industry, the impact of remote working, as well as tips for people on how to futureproof their skillsets and enhance their personal brands.   


Where you work 
The webinar kicked off with a discussion about the impact of COVID-19 on the asset servicing industry. There was broad alignment with previous surveys about the location of work and the challenges of hiring new staff in this climate. Over 85% of participants joined the webinar from home. 


Recruitment and onboarding 
The conversation then moved to a discussion on the impact of remote working on recruitment and onboarding new staff. Nearly 36% of webinar participants indicated their organisations had recruited and onboarded staff in a fully virtual manner, while a further 23% had onboarded new recruits using a combination of in person and virtual methods. The remaining 41% responded that no recruitment had been undertaken since the beginning of the pandemic. 
This poll was followed by a conversation on helpful tips to successfully navigate virtual job interviews, while also overcoming the challenges imposed by virtual onboarding. 


Tips to futureproof skills and enhancing personal brands 
Next up was a conversation about guaranteeing a place in the industry as the financial services and capital markets ecosystem becomes increasingly global. With this trend, the experts in recruitment listed the skills they believe asset servicing companies are seeking when they commence hiring processes. These skills include excel, coding, macro creation and data analytics – reflecting the long running trend of investment managers and asset owners seeking richer and more granular data.  


The webinar participants overwhelmingly felt (75%) they are somewhat comfortable with their skillsets, while only 17.5% felt very comfortable and 7.5% felt not at all comfortable. At the same time, 60% of participants had recently added to their skill set. 


As it relates to enhancing personal branding, the participants discussed the need to ensure personal brands reflect reality, and are not a substitute for being good at one’s job or being diligent and hard working. Ways to enhance personal brand include not being typecast, speaking up at company meetings and industry conferences, and being prepared to ask questions.  

 

Follow up questions:

 

A number of audience questions could not be addressed in the webinar.  The experts from TOM Executive Recruitment have kindly provided the following follow-up responses. 


Q: A brilliant analyst will not necessarily become a competent manager. What are the most important skills to develop in order to progress from an analyst/consultant role, through a) middle management and up to b) senior management?

 

This is right! Management is not for everyone. Many people prefer and are more suited to be subject matter experts. Generally speaking, at an Analyst level you are responsible for a specific set of duties and are ‘hands on’ the tools. 

 

Middle Management and Senior Management roles involve responsibility for a wider range of deliverables. You will deal with more senior stakeholders and bigger and more unstructured problems.  

 

You will also generally need a more strategic outlook and be able to identify challenges and opportunities before problems arise. In middle and senior management roles you will usually lead teams and take on responsibility for their motivation and growth. 

 

So, what skills do you need to do this? 

Relevant technical knowledge, so that you can add value and are credible
Communication and influencing
Problem solving
Relationship building
Striving for feedback
Trustworthiness
Empathy for team

 

Q: Does the panel think that the way roles in custodians are advertised & positioned needs to change - so we attract the candidates we need in the future?

Asset servicing businesses are the operational engine of the investment management industry. The roles need to be appealing and exciting as custodians play a critical role in the supply chain.  

 

I believe that custodians need to change the way they are advertising and positioning roles in the current market. The majority of custody-based ads are heavily focused on processing and operations.  

 

All the conversations I have been having with hiring managers are around process improvements. The advertisements should cover core business as usual (BAU) functions, as well as technology enablement and how the current state of operations can be improved. Asset servicing businesses are offering a technology stack backed by data analytics.  

 

Positions should be advertised with excel skills (VBA/SQL) and coding/programming skills 

(Python/R). I believe there should also be a clear career path demonstrated in the advertisement so that candidates can see what they are working towards. 

 

Q: Is doing leadership courses online actually valuable? As most leadership roles applicants are looked up by the amount /level of experience. Can you please share your thoughts? 

 

Leadership training/learning is useful as it broadens your mind to thinking about things outside of your current role.  


However, a course is not a substitute for practical experience in employers’ eyes. I would suggest having a conversation with your current manager or another leader that you respect and ask for an appraisal about what your development points are. Look for ongoing mentoring from them. Ask them if there are employer sponsored leadership programs that you can do. Your manager/mentor can then work with you to implement your learnings in a way that will work in your company and help you make the next step. 

 

Conclusion

Our sincere thanks to Fergal Gleeson and Jack Brown of TOM Executive Recruitment for their time, thoughts and insights. 


For those ACSA Members who missed the conversation, you can watch the full session at this link. 


In the meantime, stay tuned for future webinars on topics of interest to our industry and people. Suggestions for speakers and topics are always welcome.  Please forward ideas to admin@acsa.com.au  

 

 

 


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About the Australian Custodial Services Association (ACSA): The Australian Custodial Services Association (ACSA) is the peak industry body representing members of Australia’s custodial and investment administration sector. Our mission is to promote efficiency and international best practice for members, our clients and the market. ACSA works with peer associations, governments, regulators and other market participants on a pre-competitive basis to encourage standards, process consistency, market reform and operating efficiency. Established in 1994, ACSA members currently hold assets in excess of $4 trillion in custody and under administration for Australian institutions.   


Important Note: The views expressed in this communique have been prepared by ACSA for the purposes of general information to Members   The comments in this letter do not comprise personal, financial, legal or taxation advice and should not be regarded as the views of any particular member of ACSA 

 


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