SEEKING FOR DISRUPTIVE PROFESSIONAL PROFILES ? KEY FINDINGS OF OUR SURVEY

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[Article previously published in AGEFI Luxembourg - November 2017]

Buzzwords like digitalization, blockchain, robo-advisory, dematerialization etc, are catalyzing – over the recent years – ink, tons of bites and of course the attention of media and specialized press.

Many interesting articles and posts are indeed available on the Internet to better understand the nature of these hot topics and the likely impact they have, and more importantly will have, on the financial sector. All this is good and valuable.

Numerous are also the viewpoints shared and spread by C-level professionals, seeking to stand out from the crowd and to position their companies ahead compared to competitors. Fair enough, all this is part of the business game and does not surprise.

What caught our attention is actually something very specific – therefore, by definition, more subjective and debatable: what are the professional profiles mostly sought

  • Today
  • In the financial market
  • In Luxembourg
  • In what we may define the “Robo-Digital-Dematerialised era”?

These four subsequent layers have their own importance in the defining the sample that became the object of our survey launched in October 2017.

By accepting the fact that the results of a survey cannot be deemed as an absolute truth, we decided to contact several dozens of market players in Luxembourg – i.e. asset managers, private banks, management companies, consulting companies and fund platform – and to ask them their own opinion in this respect. Clearly on an individual and strictly anonymous  basis.

This exciting exercise, and the appreciated availability of the respondents to play the game allowed us to

  • collect first, and analyse afterwards, many interesting views
  • outline some common and recurring traits.

To remain in a trendy mood, we identified 8 buzzwords that summarise – in an intuitive way – the underlying thoughts and considerations:

#1 – Flexibility & spirit of initiative

#2 – High qualification / expertise

#3 – Digital experience

#4 – Specialisation vs Generalist

#5 – Exponential growth of Compliance / Risk profiles

#6 – Increasing tight link between business and tech

#7 – Focus on core activities and qualitative knowhow

#8 – Interest for disruptive profiles.

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According to the panel of respondents, flexibility and spirit of initiative are deemed to be two decisive criteria when looking at new resources: the world outside is changing in an increasingly rapid manner, therefore adaptability, timely responsiveness and a good, proactive posture appear key factors.

Not surprisingly real expertise in the sought fields, as well as high qualification and skills, remain a strong driver when considering new workforce – both in terms of replacement of leavers or recruitment of new resources.

More than “digital knowledge” or expertise, it is curious to see that accent has been given more to “digital experience”: seemingly people who are used to make use of digital tools and services on a regular basis – and not necessarily limited to the professional life. Hence embracing rather than just undergoing it.

Buzzword #4 – namely the increase of specialization to the detriment of general and generic knowledge – does not surprise that much. This change of paradigm is actually quite old and well consolidated, therefore we do not see any particular interest in deepening this (obvious) finding but prefer to focus on more relevant intriguing results.

The item that comes immediately after does not sound as a surprise too, but still remains noteworthy and provides for a good indicator of the trend ahead of us: the regulatory boost confirms its continuous needs to recruit in the Compliance and Risk areas, sometimes perceived as a “necessary pain” more than an opportunity to develop know-how.

Buzzword #6 brings light on an interesting binomial: an increase attention towards those profiles that wisely merge business knowledge and tech competencies – it is to be noted here that the word “tech” has been generally preferred to the classic word “IT”, interesting nuance. To a certain extent this buzzword #6 approaches to the digital experience already mentioned above.

Outsourcing is somehow the hidden word that emerges from the next key finding in a more velvety mode. Focus is given on core expertise / skills and qualitative know-how, whereas lower added value activities are often seen as “delegable” tasks provided that control is kept in-house. This postulate too does not shine as new, certainly not, but it seems to remain a stable point in the considerations of the interviewees – although to a different extent and nuances.

Last but not necessarily least, we close the list of the key findings with the magic word “disruptive”. More specifically some respondents have interestingly emphasized their interest for unconventional profiles, meant to be people capable of bringing along innovative thoughts and groundbreaking solutions to business. Disruptive resources appear to be looked at with increasing interest by Executives although we are still at a too early stage – at least within the limits and the context of this survey – to go deeper into these curious and intriguing considerations to observe how these profiles can efficiently fit the existing structures and also generate a mutually profitable output.

We would have loved pushing forward some of these 8 key findings, that we have personally found of particular interest, and dig out more but it would have been burdensome in the frame of the same survey. However, nothing prevents us from going one step further in 2018.

Luca BRUNI

THE AUTHOR

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Luca Bruni, +20 years of diversified experience in various sectors of the Fund & Asset Management world. Luca initially spent more than 10 years on the operational side of the investment fund industry working for companies such as Templeton, Schroders and RBC Dexia – then 10 years in the advisory world focusing on several key areas such as Client management, People management, Business development / product development... 

Luca is an expert on Italian and Swiss markets and joined Initio as Senior Manager in 2017.