Financial Advisory

Financial Advisory

Expert: Amanda Seabrook, Workpond & Ralph Ardill, Ralph Ardill Consulting                               download.jpg


Given this is such a broad topic, we broke the conversation down into six areas:

  1. The power of purpose
    • This is rapidly becoming the hottest C-Suite topic, as having a clear purpose gives you an opportunity to have a joined up conversation around the table.
    • Purpose is all about understanding why your business is here and what makes it stand out in the marketplace.
    • Having a purpose that resonates is key to attracting talent (eg a network’s purpose could be to keep advisers safe – ie a human outcome – rather than to help them become millionaires.

“Businesses with a strong sense of purpose are more confident about their growth prospects, experience higher levels of confidence among key stakeholders and are investing in more initiatives that lead to long term growth” Punit Renjen, Deloitte

  1. Technology - The rise of the robots and how will it reshape your business?
    • Technology is reshaping all businesses in helping them become more productive. It was suggested that we will all be using AI for new products, compliance or role automation.
    • Technology should mark a ‘shift of labour’, not necessarily a loss of jobs.

“Who will be the future trainers, explainers, sustainers?”

  • We need to be building disruptive businesses and ensure innovation is embedded in our culture.

“Be the disrupter, not the disrupted”

  • You cannot solve future problems with existing technology. We need to start self-disrupting, and it was suggested that you can achieve this by running two businesses/engines at the same time.  Engine 1 is BaU, while engine 2 is your future business model.
  • However, to achieve this you need a vision of the future.
  • A number of concerns were raised which included:
    • A question of timing – How do we avoid the mistakes of the likes of Nutmeg, etc?
    • We can all buy systems, but the challenge of distribution and acceptability remains.
    • There is a current requirement for man and machine, but will that be necessary in the future?
    • How do you know if you are backing yourself into a cul-de-sac?
    • Unless we embrace disruption and technology, we will continue to struggle to attract and retain talent.
  1. New rules of work
    • Millennials want more flexibility. Flexibility in turn drives loyalty – particularly with part-time workers.  However, this also presents a challenge for office space.

“Work is what people do and not where they do it”, World Economic Forum

  • How do you create a strength of culture and a desire for employees to be in the office, when they are disconnected from the office?
  • Could we exist in a future where nobody physically meets? – Virtual Reality (VR) could certainly make this a reality.
  • In the future ‘repeat tasks’ will be automated, whilst specialists will be flown in to carry out ‘project tasks’ – promoting ‘intelligent time’. People are now defining themselves through projects rather than roles (ie it is far more important what you are working on, rather than your role).  In the war for talent, there will be competition to get on the best projects.
  1. Organisational structure – the agile organization

“Agility is the ability of an organisation to renew itself, adapt, change quickly and succeed in a rapidly changing, ambiguous, turbulent environment”, McKinsey & Co

  • Jobs will not be defined by what you do, but instead why you do it (ie the purpose).
  • We must remember that the core of our business (engine 1) needs stability and to be consistently and well managed, or you run the risk of the business becoming schizophrenic.
  • Concern was raised that as businesses we have started to embrace an agile approach, but regulations such as SMCR will send us back to the old style of working (ie death by committees, etc).
  1. The importance of learning
    • Millennials want to learn and train, which can be a pain when doing secondments in the short term but has long term benefits.

“Ageing countries won’t just need lifelong learning – they will need wholesale reskilling of existing workforces throughout their lifecycle”, WEF Future of Jobs Report

  • It is important to ensure that all appraisals illustrate a clear career path. Perhaps employees should present their own development plan?  This is ambitious and you would need to train your managers to be able to guide them.
  • It was suggested that it is beneficial to move people in their roles every 6-12 months. By rotating employees around it allows them to find their place, which is especially good for younger employees.
  • However, this does not work for part-timers who are doing a good job and have a comfortable work-life balance.
  • You need to get the balance right between those that want to learn and those that are happy where they are.
  1. The value of values
    • Too often businesses regurgitate the same old values – eg quality, professionalism, integrity, etc.
    • We need to make values passionate and emotive – expression and narrative is very important.

“It is not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are”, Roy Disney

  • It is important that your values;
    • Clarify your purpose (why does our work matter?)
    • Articulate your ethics (what do we stand for?)
    • Create identity (who do I belong to?)
    • Provide focus (what’s important to us?)
    • Encourage unity (what holds us together?)
    • Define your character (what qualities do we admire?)
  • One adviser had a great idea of naming their meeting rooms after their values, to ensure they become engrained.
  • Another had named a meeting room ‘Room 15’ where the lights turn off after 15 minutes to encourage shorter meetings.