The Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association (PIMFA) was looking to the future when it held its Annual Summit in October 2019. The audience were told that the key issues facing the financial services industry at present included Brexit, the economic cycle and the changing landscape of society.
Maarten Heukshorst, Chief Commercial Officer at financial business solutions provider Pershing, echoed one of the Financial Conduct Authority’s recent webinars by highlighting the importance of having a positive corporate culture when he said:
“As an employer, we want to address all areas of diversity. We are now focusing on unconscious bias and invested in a gender decoder software we run job descriptions through, as the language used in both marketing materials and job advertisements tends to be very masculine and can be off-putting to many demographics.”
Holly Mackay, Founder and CEO of financial guidance website Boring Money, spoke about the benefits of firms embracing diversity, by saying:
“The industry is stuck and thinks about things in certain ways because Boards and firms often look the same and come from very similar backgrounds – it can feel like a club that not everyone is invited to join”.
She added that the industry needed to adapt to the changing nature of society, commenting that:
“At the moment the industry is life-event driven, focusing on inheritance, and such. It is not looking at the future generation who don’t have a great deal of money to invest…yet. We need to do a better job of making the conversations more meaningful, relevant and easier to understand.”
PIMFA’s Chairman, the Rt. Hon. Lord Deben – the former MP John Gummer – closed the Summit by re-iterating the need to move with the times, saying:
“Adapting to change, through diversity, inclusivity, technology etc. is not an ‘add on’, but a representation of where we are going and how the world is moving. PIMFA gives a voice to our now-united industry which deserves to be heard. We must be a step ahead to move the whole system forward and our job is to make sure our clients benefit from the changes.”
Brexit is of course one change which has now been delayed further. The UK is now scheduled to leave the European Union on January 31 2020. It means it is business as usual for the time being, but the continued uncertainty is causing issues for firms in all business sectors, who still don’t know exactly when Brexit will happen, and what the terms of the UK’s exit will be.
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