Citywealth recently held an open call to those aged 40 or under in the wealth management industry in search of the next ‘future leaders’. We wanted to know about their interesting deals and cases, the responsibilities they hold within their organisation, their hobbies outside of work, their philanthropic efforts, as well as a funny story or anecdote to share from their working life so far. After much deliberation by a senior panel of industry leaders and the Citywealth editorial team, we are pleased to unveil our 2019 Top 100 Future Leaders, the ‘superadvisors’ of the next generation.
Much is said of ‘millennials’; they shy away from long hours, favouring a work-life balance, they aren’t afraid to question authority, they crave feedback and guidance, and they are prone to job-hopping always looking for the next best thing. Yet, the responses we received painted a very different picture. The submissions told of their resilience, dedication to pursuing a career in the industry and their sense of humour in times of stress.
For these ‘superadvisors’, their commitment to the day role is matched by their dedication to citizenship within their local communities. This new breed of advisor possesses the skills required to deliver a gold standard client service, while also donating time to serving on the board of a local charity, or promote thought leadership within their organisation.
We asked senior leaders in the industry what they are looking for in the next generation of potential leaders.
According to Jonathan Conder, a private client partner at Macfarlanes, it’s important that they be a ‘people person’. “The private client industry is all about relationships and in this industry, the client and the relationship is the priority. That’s not the same within the corporate world, so it’s important those choosing this industry understand the difference”.
He also looks closely at the way in which an individual conducts themself. “I’m looking for those who take on extra responsibility early on. At any point in your career you can demonstrate aptitude, willingness and a desire to help the business progress. Depending on the stage of your career that might be taking an interest in business development, or article writing, or attending client meetings. The important message is that you can start at any time and you don’t need to be a leader to demonstrate aspects of leadership”.
Leadership is also high on the list of qualities that Yogi Dewan, CEO Hassium Asset Management is looking for. “Motivating others to believe and follow is not easy. You will be more successful if you focus on training and developing the broader team around you. Building a culture of open communication actively seeking feedback and listening is key. Making tough decisions but with a sensitivity and empathy. Being long term focused but not forgetting what has to be done short term. Leading by example in everything you do helps others buy into you and your vision”, he said.
For Richard Prosser, Group Director of Estera in Jersey, the key skill will be communication: “The advisers of the future will need to make sure they devote sufficient time to client relationships to be able to ask the difficult questions and really understand their clients’ thoughts and needs”.
In the spirit of constant self-improvement, we also asked which are the areas that future leaders need to pay further attention to.
According to Dewan, professional image should not be overlooked. “Most youngsters want casual Fridays every day. Even if your clients are casual you need to be professional in your appearance and how you engage all the time. It’s a sign of maturity and clients expect it without saying it. I spend so much time getting youngsters to look and act older; synonymous with better decision making and judgment.”
Conder pointed to the changes in the industry that require a higher grasp of IT awareness and tech savviness. “Learning about AI, automation and innovation – skills above and beyond being a good lawyer are of increasing need. Clients are concerned with efficiencies and cost savings, and the successful firms of the future will need to understand how IT can help achieve this. For the next generation it will be important to understand both languages – IT and law – to find the best client solutions”.
For Prosser, it’s important that the soft skills aren’t forgotten. “Technical expertise will increasingly become a given so the advisers of the future need to be able to help their clients plan early and communicate their vision and wishes. This will require soft skills, empathy, tact and the ability to have balanced conversations”, he said.
Click here to review a selection of our Top 100 Future Leaders whose stories we hope inspire.