Sector voices

To mark our 30th anniversary, we speak to financial services professionals from around the world to gain a snapshot of the sector now and how it may look in the future
by Jane Playdon, Review editor

1x1pixel image

On a sunny spring morning in a studio in London, we met a diverse group of members to chat about their perspectives and concerns about the sector, and connected with financial professionals from outside the UK to gain a global perspective.

Their responses show that people skills, such as adaptability, teamwork and empathy are as important as ever, and will remain so in the future, despite or because of continuing technological progress.

Concerns about the sector include slow progress in adapting activities to achieve net zero; the impact of virtual assets such as cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens, with some interviewees equating trading in virtual assets with gambling and others saying that they are misrepresented as investments; regulatory divergence and the ability of the sector to keep up with the pace of change, and to handle ‘know your customer’ requirements.

Everyone agrees on the importance and benefit of true diversity, with some fantastic suggestions about implementing it, including moving beyond a focus on looks and cultivating interest and awareness among diverse groups.

Topics discussed in the video build on key messages from interviews for the below article. Read on for all the answers in full. 

John Bennett MBE FCSI, Master of the Worshipful Company of International Bankers

John was awarded his MBE in 2019 for service to the City of London Corporation, which included serving as most senior Common Councilman from 2014 to 2015, representing the civic City and supporting the Lord Mayor. He has been active in local government since retiring from Deutsche Bank in 2005 after a 35-year career in the financial services sector, culminating in his role as director of compliance and UK money laundering reporting officer.

He considers his greatest financial services career achievement (he’s had two careers – the other in politics) to be his negotiation with the Bank of England in the late 1980s to convert a representative office of Saudi American Bank to a full deposit-taking branch of the bank.

When John joined the Institute as a member in 1993, he had already been in the sector for 23 years, having begun his career as a chartered accountant in 1970. He had experienced first-hand the change from paper, telephone and telex to the internet, being one of the first managers in Citibank in 1979 to “connect by email to fellow managers using a system which used hard-wired telephone lines to send the messages”.

Public perception of the sector has also evolved, says John, from the 1960s when there were "professions for university graduates and jobs for others”, to the present-day “recognition that university is not for everyone, but not going to university does not necessarily impede progress”. However, he acknowledges the damage that the global financial crisis of 2007–8 did to public trust in the sector and “that will take a long time to change”.
The sector has yet to get to grips with the ‘know your customer’ requirements

What should the sector be doing to help progress towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050?
Most financial services firms are now getting to grips with environmental, social and governance (ESG). This means, besides setting targets and regularly reviewing progress towards zero carbon, that they are recognising the importance of improving diversity, equity and inclusion. The Worshipful Company of International Bankers is taking its ESG activities very seriously and progress is monitored at our quarterly Master’s meetings. Fulfilling targets for ESG and zero carbon are quite possible in a 30-year timeframe.

What is your biggest concern about the sector?
In the 17 years since I retired [as money laundering reporting office at Deutsche Bank], the sector has yet to get to grips with the ‘know your customer’ requirements. I recently attended a seminar on anti-money laundering and found that the same questions and problems were being raised as in the early 2000s.

Advice for school leavers or graduates  
Try to get as much diverse experience as you can. That may involve frequent changes of job within a firm or to another firm. But it will help you decide which part of the sector you want to stay in: front or back office, sales, marketing, client facing, administration, compliance even!

Emily Martel CFP™ Chartered MCSI, private client wealth manager, Brooks Macdonald, and vice president of the CISI Guernsey Branch Committee

At age 30, Emily is one of the youngest qualified financial planners in Guernsey. “Learning through the CISI has provided me with the technical knowledge needed to progress my career quickly,” says Emily.

In 2014, aged 22, she began the process of achieving her financial planning qualifications, and successfully completed the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification in 2021, aged just 29.   

Emily aims to be the “leading technical financial planning expert in Guernsey” and will soon be branching out into other fields to augment her knowledge. Her biggest concern about the sector is the lack of young people choosing financial planning as a career, “which could potentially leave future generations without appropriate financial advice”. She encourages anyone thinking of financial planning as a career to get involved in the CISI’s peer mentoring programme or contact a financial planner for any questions that they may have.

With millennials now coming into some wealth, and with an increasing focus on the climate crisis, Emily’s hope is that businesses will put “environmental and social impact at the forefront of their decision-making processes” and recognise the key risk of environmental and social damage in their business risk assessments. She also hopes to see “more women taking control of their finances, approaching financial advisers, and investing where appropriate".

Emily is concerned about the lack of young people choosing financial planning as a career She considers the two most important future skills to be cyber and information security and relationship management, because of the threat posed by the former and the inherent recognition in the latter “that everyone is unique and therefore has unique needs and circumstances”.

What do you think the sector should be doing to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion?
As a sector we can put in place policies, procedures, and systems to enable employees to report prejudice when it occurs and for this to protect both those that report and those involved in the complaint. I would see this as being similar to a whistleblowing policy where reporting cannot disadvantage the employee in their work connections or career and where responses are dealt with by trained individuals. Training on the type of behaviours to look out for and how to report would be given immediately to new joiners and annually to all staff.

View on virtual assets, such as non-fungible tokens and cryptocurrencies
They are risky speculative assets due to the general lack of understanding and they only have as much value as the next person is willing to pay for them. This was recently brought into sharp relief by the purchase of Jack Dorsey’s first tweet for US$2.9m and its subsequent auction, which didn’t result in a sale as the highest offer received was US$6,200, representing a 99.8% loss.

Advice for school leavers or graduates 
You don’t have to choose a forever career straight away, but when you do, you should start your qualifications as early as possible and not stop. No qualification or course will leave you in a worse position than you were when you started. It demonstrates commitment and willingness to learn to any employer.

Brian Yalla MCSI, manager, capital markets, at Financial Sector Deepening Africa

In Brian’s role at Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSD Africa), which aims to reduce poverty by strengthening Africa’s financial markets and making finance work for the country’s future, he leads the development and management of ambitious transformative programmes, such as the Africa Private Equity and Private Debt programme, which was launched in 2021 to support the development of private capital markets in Africa.  

Brian developed an “interest and passion for finance and investment" after graduating from the University of Nairobi in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and statistics. He undertook further study, and in 2019 achieved the CISI level 6 Diploma in Capital Markets. He strives “simply to achieve excellence” in his career.

In March 2022 he delivered a presentation for a joint CISI–ICIFA (Institute of Certified Investment and Financial Professionals) webinar on the topic of climate risk and green finance in Kenya.

His biggest concern about the sector is that it is “slow in fully adopting” responsible finance, “either from a lack of appreciation of the gravity of the situation, inverted priorities, or both”.

Looking ahead, Brian would like to see a financial sector that is “genuinely inclusive and serves the needs of society”. Agility and adaptability are two key skills that will be needed in future, he says.
Financial services has, in some contexts, suffered the misguided perception of being a preserve of the elite

What should the sector be doing to help progress towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050?
Broadly, I would say the transition towards net zero carbon emissions is ‘greening’ the financial system. This includes the adoption of compliant market infrastructures, such as green securities exchanges, mainstreaming of responsible finance instruments, and more intentional use of disclosure and reporting approaches that incorporates climate, nature, and sustainability related issues.

What do you think is the current perception of financial services?
In some contexts, it has suffered the misguided perception of being a preserve of the elite. However, recent technological advances have led to a significant increase in financial inclusion. But this perception still clouds some subsectors of financial services, making it difficult for the sector to fully achieve its potential. There is a need to develop or restructure financial markets in a way that works for society.

What do you think the sector should be doing to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion?
Stakeholders need to have deliberate strategic plans targeting these issues, complete with work and implementation plans, indicators and targets which are tracked and monitored over a specified period. We need to ensure that we are not only performing tick box exercises but that we are truly achieving a culture change towards a more diverse, equitable and inclusive society.

View on virtual assets 
They have the potential to revolutionise the financial services sector, but this is being held back by a general lack of knowledge or understanding on their operations, risks, and mechanics at both market and regulatory level, internet connectivity challenges and access to technological tools.

Clair Mills, director at the Bank of England and CISI Board member

In January 2022, Clair was appointed Director of Strategy, Change & Operations in Markets, Banking and Resolution at the Bank of England. This is her greatest career achievement, she says, but “winning the Central Banking Global Award 2019 for RegTech after creating the function from scratch within the PRA was up there too!”

Thirty years ago, Clair was working at a building society in a “process orientated, manual” role. “Typewriters were still a standard office item, albeit electric. We were moving from MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System, discontinued in 2000) to Windows NT 4.0 (operating system). Hybrid working was not even a thought back then – although you could say the same for five years ago – and video calls … well …”

Since the start of Clair’s career, the financial services sector has become “far more complex in several ways,” she says. “The use of technology has transformed what we do and how we do it, but keeping current is not easy, with advancements in technology leading to a variety of new products and mobile financial services opening up the marketplace to a wider audience.”

Clair is concerned about the “huge challenge faced by all areas of financial services, and the operations that support it”, in recruiting people into the sector.

Looking ahead, Clair would like to see an improvement in financial education and diversity and inclusion, leading to effective career paths and “better understanding for all”. User experience (based on customer needs) and adaptability will be two key skills needed. 

What is the single most impactful thing that your professional area is doing/can do to help progress towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050?
Play a leading role, through our policies and operations, to ensure that the financial system, the macro-economy, and the Bank are resilient to the risks from climate change and supportive of the transition to a net-zero economy.
Clair is concerned about the challenges in recruiting people into the sector

Advice for school leavers or graduates 
Embrace the challenges and don’t be afraid of changing direction or track to get where you want to go. And find a good role model or mentor; they can provide invaluable advice.

What do you think financial services will look like in 2052?
I would like to think that continued advancement in technology and data analysis will provide a more detailed level of information and better tools at a lower cost to the sector. However, that needs to be balanced in that regulation and risk management does not get so streamlined and automated, that we increase the risk of losing the good minds that challenge our way of thinking and bring new concepts to what we do.

Baichuan Li, eToro popular investor, CISI 2021 award winner, level 4 Certificate in International Advanced Wealth Management  

Baichuan was introduced to the world of sales and trading while studying maths at Christ’s College Cambridge. After graduating in 2016, he set up his own business in the tech retail sector, and the following year started his investment portfolio on eToro with the aim of generating for himself “an increasing passive income over years and decades through steady returns” and attaining financial freedom.

Through CISI membership Baichuan was able to “systematically study various aspects of the financial services sector, and in particular, wealth management”, which has helped him better manage his portfolio. He gained further experience “navigating through the volatility of the financial markets during the pandemic” and more recent geopolitical tensions.

He is concerned about a general lack of regulation in “huge new markets such as cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens” and their capacity to dent public confidence in financial services through the experience of investors who have been “misled or even scammed”.  His biggest concern about the sector is that “Many new, inexperienced traders are using these new volatile markets, as well as more traditional volatile instruments such as options, or using leverage to gamble.”

Baichuan would like to see financial services becoming more accessible for all and “more information/protection for investors that are otherwise inexperienced or easily misled”.

Looking ahead, the two skills most needed are adaptability and teamwork, he says. “Collaboration will always be the best way to solve a difficult problem, and adaptability is crucial for problem-solving in this fast-changing world. Technical skills are useful but they can always be studied, whereas behavioural skills are much more difficult to acquire."
"Inexperienced traders are using these new volatile markets ... or using leverage to gamble"

What practical changes are you seeing in your professional area to help progress towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050?
As the process node used in manufacturing new semiconductors shrinks, I’ve seen an ever-greater increase in the power-efficiency of new chips, which in turn reduces overall greenhouse gas emissions.

What upcoming trends do you see in your professional area?
I believe we’ll see accelerated technological innovation as companies strive to stay relevant and in general this is good for consumers. In terms of investing, I believe with high inflation, rising interest rates and geopolitical concerns we may see a shift from growth to value in the medium term. 

What do you think the sector should be doing to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion?
Many companies are now taking this much more seriously when making hiring decisions, which is a positive. However, the more deep-rooted issue is that there is a lack of equal opportunities for all in their education. Companies should take the initiative and work with schools to nurture interest and provide learning/insight to all from a younger age, and this would lead to fair representation later on.

Advice for school leavers or graduates 
Get acquainted with the financial world as early as possible. Do the due diligence and start investing early, as the earlier one invests, the more one could reap the fruits of compound interest later on.

What do you think financial services will look like in 2052?
China will become the world’s largest economy and with that the US dollar may no longer be the dominant currency by 2052. I also believe that digital currency may be the dominant form in 2052.     

Randeep Buttar, deputy chair of the CISI Fintech Forum and founder and CEO of Surety

Randeep has delivered two expert panels through the CISI Fintech Forum Committee: one on cloud adoption in the sector and the other on the importance of ESG data in investing. “I primarily work in the data space,” he says. “The measurement of net zero is underpinned by the need for good data. The most impactful thing we can do in the move to net zero is to ensure that data is treated as an asset and that we put in place measures to ensure its effectiveness.

Randeep entered the financial services sector “just as the global financial crisis of 2007–8 was unfolding”. Since then, he has seen “more accountability and significant cultural changes”, with “colleagues behaving in a much more responsible manner”. He notes a shift in the “mindset of banking, being not just a utility but also a force for good, evident through the various sustainable finance initiatives”.

"The measurement of net zero is underpinned by the need for good data"Looking ahead, he’d like to see a sector that is “fully focused on ESG concerns” and can see the topic “becoming a lot more diversified by, for example, considering biodiversity and social impact in relation to products”. He identifies user experience and empathy as two essential skills for the future. 

What do you think is the current perception of financial services?
We are more consumer led now, especially with the advent of challenger banking. There is more focus on products and money management that not only helps people enhance financial literacy but also provides safeguards for the vulnerable.

Biggest concern about the sector
That we forget history and fall back into bad habits. I don’t see this happening but it’s important that we refer to the mistakes of the past and ensure we don’t repeat them. Having said that, the pandemic has shown that the sector is in a much better position to withstand systemic shocks than it had been in the past.

Advice for school leavers or graduates 
Keep your options open and try to gain a broad understanding of the sector through rotating as much as possible in the first few years. Be clear on the type of environment you want to work in, the type of manager you want, the type of challenges you want and how you think you can best contribute. The key thing is to find good mentors who have been where you want to go.

View on virtual assets
Virtual assets are here to stay. The sector needs to very quickly ensure that within the public domain, safeguards are put in place to protect retail consumers from buying into things they don’t fully understand.

Angela Knight CBE, chair, Pool Re, and non-executive director on multiple boards

Angela was awarded her CBE in 2007 for services to the financial services sector but considers her greatest career achievement to be “four major career changes” over the course of her professional life.

This began with 18 years in the heavy engineering industry, followed by her election to Parliament in 1992, where she served as Conservative MP for Erewash, a constituency in the East Midlands of the UK, until 1997, and as Treasury Minister from 1995 to 1997. She spent the next 15 years running trade associations, including the British Bankers' Association from 2007 to 2012, steering it through the global financial crisis, and creating the energy industry body Energy UK in 2012.

“Today,” says Angela, “my portfolio of non-executive directorships means I live an interesting life, but one that is less demanding than 30 years ago. In 1992, I was a new MP with two young sons. There were only a handful of women MPs then and I was the only one who came from and lived in the Midlands, had won a seat which I was not expected to win, had small children, and had come from industry. So 30 years ago I had not much sleep, a new job and the utter nightmare of complexities of childcare. To any woman who is reading this and wondering how to fit together their career and children, my answer is that it is exhausting, complicated and totally not easy – but it can be done so go for it!”
The financial sector needs to "be seen to be demonstrably competent and with a diversity that mirrors that of its customers"

Biggest concern about the sector
I have now spent more time in the financial services sector than any other. It is essential, innovative, in the forefront of change, employs a wide variety of skills and steps up to the plate. It offers an interesting and changing career, but it has a reputational problem. Finance needs to think hard about improving its communication, be seen to be demonstrably competent and with a diversity that mirrors that of its customers. It needs to talk about lending to people and to business in straightforward terms and language. Easier said than done.

What should the sector be doing to help progress towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050?
Financial services has a strong part to play in financing the transition to net zero, which means financing not just more renewables but also more gas extraction from local fields as gas is the transition fuel. A rebuild of nuclear power is needed too and the small-scale stations developed by Rolls Royce (as well as others), are of a repeatable design, can be built quickly, are much cheaper than the big stations and so are an investable proposition. But with the net zero programme, the mantra for finance must be to listen to the engineers and to put the emotion to one side – in fact that should be the mantra for all of us!

Looking ahead
Whether next year or in thirty years, people will still be needed and those who are adaptable and agile, with good people skills, able to provide leadership to a workforce now in hundreds of locations with hybrid working and are not afraid of change, are those who have the skills the sector needs.

George King, Chartered MCSI, senior wealth manager at MASECO Private Wealth

George is proud of the positive impact he’s had on people over the course of his career. “Solving problems which are central to client’s lives – going way beyond just investing their money – is what has motivated me from the start, over 30 years ago!” He has helped develop and mentor aspiring professionals, finding it “really touching to get messages years later from people whose knowledge, training, experience, confidence, opportunities and compensation were enhanced by our relationship”.

The financial services sector has become “much better” for clients over the past 30 years, with costs and fees decreasing and becoming more transparent, the “range and breadth of services and investments” increasing, and a focus on “capability and professionalism” by the sector and its regulators”, says George. He also notes an improved work-life balance in general and on a more personal level in comparison to his workdays in the US (from 1990 to 2007), “where it was a badge of honour to work the longest hours, eat lunch at your desk, not take all your vacation days each year, and call into the office each day of your holiday!”

George’s biggest concern about the sector is that, despite the positive developments mentioned, it is “too slow to adapt and adjust and innovate”. He therefore identifies adaptability and agility as two key future skills needed.
"Recruiting people who look different but have the same background and therefore think the same as existing personnel is missing the whole point of diversity"

View on virtual assets
These things are more like contracts for difference in the way that people use them for speculation, almost a form of gambling rather than true investments at this stage.

What do you think the sector should be doing to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion?

There are several fundamental stumbling blocks which need to be addressed:

  • Focusing on how people look: Recruiting people who look different but have the same background and therefore think the same as existing personnel is missing the whole point of diversity. DEI policies and strategies must go beyond tick-boxes and optics, which requires knowing more about your incumbent people and the people you are seeking to recruit.
  • Glacial progress: The way to drive faster change is to cultivate interest and awareness among diverse groups and then create pathways for them to access the sector. There is plenty of talent beyond Oxbridge and in urban populations, as well as people who have had non-standard prior career paths. Today they don’t even see the financial sector as an option and certainly don’t have any way to show what they could do and be considered for future jobs in the sector.
  • Recruiting processes: We can’t use the same processes for recruiting and expect to achieve dramatically different outcomes. We need to proactively create new pathways to find and attract talent.
  • Bias towards the status quo: Recruiting someone from a different background, prized for their perspective and impact on our ability to address problems and source solutions … but then seeking to compel them to follow the status quo, creates an obvious tension and disconnect, which is part of why retention rates are so low. Firms have become more flexible and creative in incorporating different ways of working, but we have a long way to go.

Advice for school leavers or graduates 
Focus on skills and experience in the early stages of your career. Exams and qualifications are necessary, but learning isn’t a substitute for doing and you’ll find that the opportunities to ‘do’ are harder to come by – so make that your focus!

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Be more adventurous … it will all go by faster than you believe!

Kevin Petley, Chartered FCSI, senior regulatory engagement manager at Citibank, Dublin, Ireland

Kevin considers his top career achievements to be the implementation of the first Irish stock borrowing and lending system in 2000 while he was working at a Dublin-based financial services firm, and design of an internal system to accommodate accounting, controls and monitoring, following which “settlement performance and liquidity in the Irish securities market soared across the board”.

Since 1996 he has been an external specialist for the CISI, authoring four workbooks, three Professional Refreshers, and writing and editing questions for “at least a dozen modules”. He also sits on two wealth management exam panels.

"Salaries will go down for traders and up for operational and risk staff"He joined the CISI as a student member in 1992 and by 1996 had passed nine exams and received awards for two: the level 3 Certificate in Investment Administration in 1993 and the Basics of CREST (discontinued in 2000) in 1996. “I even had a small article in the Daily Telegraph about me when I achieved 100% in the CREST exam, which enhanced my career and my CV,” he says.

Over the past 30 years he has seen “constant change” in the financial services sector, including the "abandonment of traditional trading floors” and a narrowing gap “between the roles of IT staff and office analysts”. He expects all jobs to change in the next few years, and that two crucially important future skills will be adaptability and cyber security. 

What is your biggest concern about the sector?
The cost of compliance is huge. When I joined my first stockbroker in 1981, there was not even a compliance officer. A partner managed rules and changes in their spare time. Now large teams are present in every financial institution. The other concern I have is robo advisers, robo research and robo traders. In the long term it will be difficult for a firm to have a competitive advantage over another.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Always trust your own judgement, listen to your heart and not your head. Make sure to celebrate your achievements with your managers.

Advice for school leavers or graduates 
Work hard, always speak up and look for improvement. Change is good.

Looking ahead 30 years
There will be more robotics and automation, wider use of trading algorithms, and as a result, much less ‘doing’ and more ‘managing/nursing'. Salaries will go down for traders and up for operational and risk staff. We may see fewer trading venues, with those that remain having a more global focus.

Related to that will be more global regulatory initiatives. Firms will confirm compliance by using self-certification automated models, reducing the need for regulatory intervention.

The role of the central office will be gone but there may be more satellite smaller offices spread around the country to accommodate staff not having to commute.

Steven Thompson, Chartered FCSI, partner, GSB Capital

Steven has sat 13 financial exams, most recently achieving the CISI level 6 Certificate in Private Client Investment Advice & Management, and is now working towards the CISI level 7 Chartered Wealth Manager qualification. His greatest achievement to date is attaining Chartered Fellow status with the CISI.

In 2021 he moved from Scotland to the UAE after accepting a role with GSB Capital in Dubai as a qualified adviser. This followed a decision to “change sides of the table” after working in asset management and product sales for the preceding 30 years. “My role today is very different,” says Steven, in that I am now very much at the coalface as a fee-based adviser, managing clients’ financial affairs. I still rise at 5am and my day is only done when I have no clients to respond to!”

Steven’s biggest concern about the financial services sector in the UAE is the “lack of qualified individuals” and poor public perception. He is hopeful that the CISI will “continue to make good headway with working with talent” in the region. Two key future skills are empathy and user experience, he says.

View on virtual assets
Any asset that can rise significantly and then collapse and lose a third of its value in a single day (think 2017!) should be avoided in my opinion. I believe that you must be mentally prepared to buy crypto, or NFTs for that matter. They’re not for the average investor.

What should the sector be doing to help progress towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050?
The sector globally can take the lead on greenwashing, which is a significant threat.

What do you think is the current perception of financial services compared to when you began your career?
I started my career in 1990, a month after Iraq invaded the neighbouring State of Kuwait. At that stage the internet was very much in its infancy but quickly developed in to the ‘world wide web’ in 1991. This set the scene for significant change and had a profound effect on the sector, changing the cost and capabilities for marketing, distributing and servicing financial products and enabling new types of products and services to be developed.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
I was very lucky to be around during the times of firms offering their staff defined benefit schemes but I wish I had invested beyond that much earlier. The earlier you start investing, the more time that money has to grow and the sooner you reap the rewards of compound returns.

What do you think financial services will look like in 2052?
Won’t we all be sitting in our pyjamas with a virtual headset? In all seriousness, I can see the metaverse taking a considerable role in the sector. Among practical applications provided by the metaverse, its ability to create virtual environments for people to connect may severely impact the financial sector. Banks and financial services institutions have opportunities to manage digital identities in the metaverse, potentially tapping modern cryptography to do so.

Emma Dobson MCSI, chair of the CISI Young Professionals Network

In 2013, Emma ‘stumbled’ into financial services because, she jokes, she “loves numbers and spreadsheets”. She applied for and obtained a compliance related role, began working her way through several CISI exams to show commitment to her career choice, and in 2018 achieved the level 6 Diploma in Investment Compliance.

In 2021, Emma sat on the panel for the CISI’s Annual Integrity Debate, and considers this to be her greatest career achievement to date. “It was a fantastic opportunity, and an absolutely privilege, to sit alongside such experienced contributors to the financial services sector. Nerve-wracking, but seriously fun!”

As a compliance officer, it is Emma’s job to be “concerned about everything” but if she were to narrow it down, “fraud is one of the most heartbreaking things to see when it happens in real life”. With the risk of fraud and the pace of technological change, two key future skills are cyber security and adaptability, she says.

She would like to see “a change in public perception of financial services and for customers to feel that they’re getting a fair service. I think one way to achieve this is for employees of financial services firms to properly represent the diverse background of the people it serves”.

What do you think is the current perception of financial services?
In the current context of the pandemic, rising inflation and a cost-of-living crisis there are some very real financial challenges for customers now. Financial services as a sector rarely gets good press during moments like this as it has a reputation of finding opportunity in others’ disadvantage. A lot of work has been done to improve this culture over recent years and I hope that customers will see that reflected now and that it helps to improve their perception.
"I’d like to see better awareness on the availability of careers in financial services and how to get there"

What upcoming trends do you see in your professional area?
Climate change and the impact on sustainable investments and offerings as well as how these are promoted. And educating the public on what it all means. Brexit divergence and seeing where the UK positions itself within the global financial services arena. Finally, technology and digital assets. What will happen to cryptocurrencies? Will we move towards central bank digital currencies? And many more digital advances that are coming up.

What do you think the sector should be doing to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion?
I’d like to see better awareness on the availability of careers in financial services and how to get there, including from diverse backgrounds. There’s clearly more work to do in terms of firms’ cultures, but I think the more diversity in the application process for roles in our sector, the more representation there will ultimately be in the workplace.

Advice for school leavers or graduates 

Stay open minded to the subject area, role or career that you think you want. The sector is huge and the variety of roles is enormous. Keep your eyes open for interesting and relevant things that come and allow you to enjoy your job. It’s all good experience.

Kate Capocci, Chartered MCSI, investment manager, Evelyn Partners

Kate joined Evelyn Partners' graduate scheme in 2015, achieved the CISI level 7 Chartered Wealth Manager qualification in 2017 and in 2021 was listed as a ‘rising wealth star’ in Citywire’s Top 30 under 30 list.

“Designing and implementing processes in-house for integrating ESG into the decision-making process” is Kate’s greatest career achievement to date, and she aims to continue working in this area “so that it’s easier for everyone to invest more responsibly”.

Looking ahead, Kate is keen to see a positive outcome from changes happening now in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion, and responsible finance. This will hopefully result in improved public perception of the sector and encourage new entrants who will see it as an “exciting, inclusive place to work”. Adaptability and agility are two key future skills needed.
"To ensure diversity we need to broaden our remit and consider different types of background and experience"

Climate change
The biggest emissions for investment firms come from scope 3 (financed emissions). There is a huge amount of work being done in the sector to ensure we understand the progress of underlying companies, which will enable everyone to make better investment decisions and reduce scope 3 emissions.

What do you think the sector should be doing to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion?
Typically, we hire the same kinds of candidates, with similar qualifications and experience, from a limited range of top universities. To ensure diversity we need to broaden our remit and consider different types of background and experience.

Advice for school leavers or graduates
Don’t stress too much (easier said than done). It often feels that decisions you’re making will shape your entire future. They can do, but there is also a world of options available to you, and there’s always room to change direction if you want to.

Professor Daniel Broby, Chartered FCSI, chair of financial technology at Ulster University

Daniel is an internationally recognised finance academic and an expert on the financial applications of blockchain and distributed ledgers. He has written numerous books and peer reviewed papers on fund management and equity index construction.

He has been with the Institute since its inception in 1992, joining from the London Stock Exchange when it ended individual membership. Over the past 30 years he has “enjoyed two careers, one in financial services and one in academia”, pursuing “educational and vocational excellence” in both. He considers his PhD in Accounting and Finance, awarded by Strathclyde Business School, to be his greatest achievement.

The biggest change Daniel has seen in the sector over the past 30 years is “the move from investing as an ‘art’ to investing as a ‘science’,” he says. “Much of this is down to the work of my academic colleagues and peers in advancing modern portfolio theory and capital asset pricing models.”

The biggest change over the past 30 years is the move from investing as an 'art' to investing as a science Looking ahead, he thinks “the move to decentralise finance will accelerate, and central marketplaces will be replaced in part by decentralised ones". He thinks all the future skills listed in the framework are important but notes that, as a professor of financial technology, he’s “bound to say a working knowledge of machine learning will put someone in good stead”. On the behavioural side, he says: “Financial services has always been a relationship business, and technology will not change that. In 2052, financial services will still be a sector based on trust.”

A shortened version of this article appears in the 30th anniversary print edition of The Review, out in September. 

All CISI members, excluding student members, are eligible to receive a hard copy of the quarterly print edition of the magazine. Members can opt in to receive the print edition by logging in to MyCISI, clicking on My account, then clicking the Communications tab and selecting ‘Yes’.

Published: 23 Aug 2022
  • Corporate finance
  • Wealth Management
  • Risk
  • Operations
  • Fintech
  • Financial Planning
  • Compliance
  • user experience
  • UAE
  • responsible finance
  • non-fungible tokens
  • NFTs
  • know your customer
  • Kenya
  • Ireland
  • inflation
  • green finance
  • ESG
  • equity and inclusion
  • diversity
  • cryptocurrency
  • climate change
  • agility
  • adaptability
  • 30th anniversary

No Comments

Sign in to leave a comment

Leave a comment