Our industry is on the verge of exciting change brought about by the availability of new technology. Ultimately, we anticipate innovations such as AI, blockchain and robotics to enhance and personalise client experiences; and to help firms navigate complex regulatory requirements more effectively. Investor profiles are also changing, accompanied by an expectation for service levels that are akin to other sectors. In order to adapt and meet the needs of the modern investor, the industry needs to draw on the very best talent and resources available to keep pace and succeed. Put simply, as our customer base diversifies, so must our workforce.
Having worked in the asset servicing sector for over 25 years, I’ve noticed that the proportion of women dwindles at the more senior levels. This is often at its most visible when attending industry events.
As the next generation of women progress from the early stages of their careers, I would like for them to remain attracted to our industry and to be inspired by the opportunity that it offers them. Attracting the best talent has to be a priority as we navigate such a period of change.
With the support of my colleagues and in particular, Calastone’s CEO, Julien Hammerson, I started conversations with other women across asset servicing to understand what we can do to help sponsor diversity and to increase numbers across our industry. I was overwhelmed by the number of positive responses I received and on 9th October, I hosted my first event for Women in Asset Servicing, which was sponsored by Calastone.
Whilst glass ceilings may have been importantly broken by the few over the last 30 years, many women still do not feel that they can reach their potential. We took the opportunity in this first meeting to explore why this is and how we can change it.
During the meeting, four key themes were established to form the basis of future events: recruiting and retaining women, nurturing talent, increasing female visibility in the industry and attracting the next generation, particularly into technology roles. There was huge engagement at the event and a consensus that we can work together in order to help organisations and individuals increase diversity across teams. To conclude the initial event, we agreed to create regular meetings where we will work collaboratively to define the tools required to address the chosen topics; and ultimately, to determine how we can empower the next generation of women to reach for the top. Notably, a number of attendees felt as though senior level mentoring can play a crucial role; and that it is imperative we increase the number of female speakers at industry events.
Looking to the future, our aim is to use this forum to influence tangible change across member organisations. Many organisations tell me that they want to bring on their female talent, but struggle to do so. Our event is aimed at creating a set of thoughts and tools that can be used by asset servicing organisations to this end. The next event will take place in February 2019, where we will focus on nurturing talent as an organisation, but also how individuals can foster their own talent. I also hope to draw in key change players from network member organisations in future events, including HR representatives and board members.
Asset Servicing is at an inflection point and the way in which we service clients is transforming. If we are to meet the future needs of our industry, we must ensure we draw from our full pool of talent, of which women form one part. After all, diverse organisations and teams are most likely to lead to success.
If you are interested in joining this network, please request to join the LinkedIn group, Women in Asset Servicing.