• Digital transformation
• Leaders debate
• Changing demographics
• Banking at a crossroads
• Future of the board
• Digital transformation
• Leaders debate
• Changing demographics
• Banking at a crossroads
• Future of the board
THE LEGAL 500
Founded in Guernsey in 1898, Carey Olsen is proud to celebrate its 125th anniversary this year. Today, Carey Olsen is one of the world’s largest offshore law firms. Its network of offices now spans Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Cape Town, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Jersey, London, and Singapore.
We advise all of the world’s top 10 banks.
We advise 90 LSE-listed clients - more than double the number of the next nearest offshore law firm.
We advise 9/10 of the world’s largest private equity firms.
We work with all of the world’s top 25 law firms.
We are the leading adviser for listings on The International Stock Exchange.
Founded in 1898, we are one of the oldest offshore law firms.
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We have 20/20 Tier One rankings in The Legal 500 UKmore than any other offshore law firm.
We advise more Channel Islands funds by asset value than any other offshore law firm.
We advise more investment funds in the Channel Islands than any other offshore law firm.
IF YOU BELIEVE all you read in the papers – or on Twitter, TikTok and Threads, as is now the norm – the future of the financial services sector looks set to be dominated by robots operating in a virtual universe, which are able to serve up what customers need before they even know they need it.
In fact, barely a month passes without the launch of a new ‘big tech’ solution that purports to revolutionise the sector –promising to improve the customer experience while at the same time delivering cost efficiencies and new revenue streams for banks and other players.
With such fast-moving innovation across the sector, this dedicated Future of Financial Services edition of Businesslife explores what the industry will really look like.
To begin, we ask how FS firms can sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to this raft of new tech-driven innovation – to ensure they invest in those that will really add value rather than getting swept along for a ride on a new, but shortlived, fad.
As one sector expert tells us: “You need to ask the question: ‘Am I buying the tech because I just want AI or blockchain in my business?’. It is important to listen to the people who are working with existing tech on a day-to-day basis – what are they telling you? Using technology effectively is about making a difference; not just about reducing the headcount.”
To further assess where financial services firms should be concentrating their efforts, we also explore what good customer experience really looks like.
There is an assumption that, across financial services, customers and clients want everything to be instant, digital and automated. But is that really the case? And how can banks and others strike the right balance between a more efficient service and one that offers the personal touch that many still crave? Our article starting on page 44 points out that banks have reached a crossroads when it comes to their futures –and success is dependent upon developing a customer-focused ethos.
Another issue impacting how financial services firms interact with their clients is the developing shift in global demographics.
Our feature starting on page 30 covers the much-talked-about Great Wealth Transfer, which is about to see a huge proportion of the world’s wealth move to a much more ESGconscious generation that wants far more than just good returns.
However, there are other shifts taking place, too, including a drop in birth rates in certain parts of the world.
This, together with the truly digital generation about to also become wealth holders, means a further complication for those looking to meet their financial needs. We set out what they can do.
Another issue we explore in this edition is the impact of the ageing global population. In simple terms, we are living longer and looking to retire earlier – which presents obvious challenges when it comes to the cost burden of looking after those who aren’t any longer generating income. The pressure being placed on economies around the world is severe. Bringing the issue closer to home, we ask what it means for the retirement strategies of Channel Islands residents. With pensions still a relatively new phenomenon on the islands, and the cost of living here also rising, it’s an issue that impacts not just financial services firms’ products and strategies, but also their ability to attract and recruit good staff.
This issue we also deliver the latest in our Leaders Debate series, where a selection of the islands’ thought leaders share their views on the future direction of the sector and how well positioned the islands are to be a key player moving forward.
As ever, there are some interesting views to absorb from the band of leaders featured. One in particular summarises perfectly the theme of this issue: that the Channel Islands will continue to be a leading international finance centre of choice and play a key role in the global financial services – so long as it continues to its forward-thinking, flexible, pragmatic and innovative approach to servicing global clients.
I hope you enjoy the issue. nJon Watkins is Editor-in-Chief of Businesslife
Barely a month passes without the launch of a new ‘big tech’ solution that purports to revolutionise the sector
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6 News Updates from Jersey and Guernsey
Senior job changes across the islands
14 leaders debate
Three Channel Islands leaders share their views on the future of financial services in a fastchanging world
22 big tech Digital transformation in financial services – what it means and what’s likely to happen next
30 customer experience
What demographic shifts mean for the future of the financial services sector and wealth
36 wealth management
How can wealth managers stay relevant and attract and retain clients with everchanging needs?
Traditional banks will lose out unless they can bring in a smarter, customer-driven ethos
In the face of a seemingly endless pipeline of ‘big tech’ innovations, David explores how banks separate the gamechangers from the fads to drive impactful digitalisation.
Post-Covid, everyone’s offering flexible working conditions, so what can financial services firms do these days to attract the top talent they need?
56 leadership Virtual chief information officers have started to make their mark – but is the virtual board director really a viable option for financial businesses?
With populations living longer than ever, how will Channel Islanders need to adapt their retirement strategies?
Sophie looks into a growing trend of firms deploying ‘virtual’ chief information and technology officers and whether this will lead to more virtual roles in the boardroom.
David, meanwhile, examines what tools financial services firms have at their disposal to differentiate them in the jobs market – now that everyone is offering flexible working.
And Alex asks what the global demographic changes we are seeing will mean for the distribution of wealth –and how FS firms must adapt.
The Guernsey Financial Services Commission has published an updated Handbook on Countering Financial Crime and Terrorist Financing.
This follows consultations on rules and guidance in relation to an independent audit function, business risk assessments, virtual asset service providers and additional information disclosures for licensed trustees and partners.
The Commission has also updated Appendix I of the Handbook, which lists jurisdictions identified by external sources as presenting higher risk of money laundering and terrorist financing.
This reflects the Financial Action Task Force’s updated list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring, which includes Cameroon, Croatia and Vietnam.
Some of the other sources used in the compilation of Appendix I have updated their assessments, which has led to the addition of Chile, Curacao, Macau and Kazakhstan and the removal of Belize, Kiribati, Morocco and Rwanda.
Risk and financial adviser Kroll has released its 2023 Fraud and Financial Crime Report, which has found that 69% of global executives and risk professionals worldwide expect financial crime risks to increase over the next 12 months.
Cybersecurity and data breaches are expected to be the primary drivers of increased financial crime risks, followed by financial pressures on organisations.
A survey of 400 senior leaders and risk professionals across four continents found that to counter a potential uptick in financial crime risks, two-thirds (67%) of respondents are planning to invest more in technology.
Nearly half of the respondents (49%) cite data integrity as the biggest challenge when implementing new technologies.
The report’s key findings included:
• The financial crime risk posed by cryptocurrency is a source of concern for 78% of participants.
• 56% say artificial intelligence and machine learning have been implemented into financial crime compliance programmes, although this is relatively new in the majority of cases.
• Although survey respondents appear to feel confident in the accuracy of their ESG stories, 61% cited lack of standardisation and limited data as the main challenges with reporting their ESG story.
• In Europe, sanctions compliance poses a significant concern for respondents – 48% of respondents in the UK, Germany and France identify geographic consistency as the top challenge for sanctions compliance.
• 72% of surveyed companies in Brazil expect an uptick in regulatory enforcement actions in the next 12 months, which is slightly higher than Mexico (70%) and the US (70%).
• 78% of surveyed companies
Collas Crill has advised automotive group Van Mossel on its acquisition of car dealership Jacksons Group, which operates from the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Isle of Wight. No redundancies will be made as a result of the deal, which remains subject to approval. Acting as lead counsel, Collas Crill oversaw the due diligence and negotiation processes, supported by three teams of external counsel. Group Partner Simon Heggs was supported by Guernsey Partner Wayne Atkinson and Group Partner Sam Sturrock in Jersey.
Carey Olsen’s corporate team in Guernsey has advised Marco Capital Holdings on the acquisition of Kelvin Re, a Guernsey domiciled and regulated international reinsurer, by Marco’s Guernsey subsidiary, Humboldt Re. Carey Olsen’s team advising Marco comprised Partner Christopher Anderson, Senior Associate Arya Hashemi and Associate Laura Toland.
In addition, Carey Olsen’s Jersey corporate team has advised EG Group on the £2.27bn sale of most its UK and Ireland fuel, foodservice, grocery and merchandise business to Asda. Asda, owned by the Issa brothers, with its investment funds managed by TDR Capital and Walmart, is acquiring most of the EG UK and Ireland business – about 350 petrol filling stations and 1,000 food-to-go sites. Carey Olsen Corporate Partner James Willmott, supported by Associates Damilola Obafemi and Anna Mouat, advised on all Jersey law aspects of the transaction, alongside Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher.
A cross-border team at Appleby has acted as lead counsel to Praxis in its acquisition of Sarnia Yachts. Appleby advised on legal due diligence, documentation and regulatory aspects of the transaction in Malta and the UK. Led by Corporate Partner Andrew Weaver, the team included Partner Stuart Tyler, Group Partner Richard Sheldon, Associates Inyeneobong Udoh, Angharad Prescott and Raphael Chitambira.
Ogier has acted as Guernsey counsel to infrastructure manager Macquarie Asset Management, via Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 7, in its acquisition of a significant minority stake in data centre provider VIRTUS Data Centres. VIRTUS, part of ST Telemedia Global Data Centres, provides colocation and cloud connectivity services to bluechip clients. The Ogier team advising on Guernsey corporate and M&A matters was led by Partner Tim Clipstone, assisted by Managing Associate Richard Doyle, Senior Associate James Walsh and Associate Damian de Klerk. n
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Praxis has completed its acquisition of superyacht ownership and operational services business Sarnia Yachts. Sarnia’s 22 staff will join the Praxis team, ensuring continuity for clients and referrers and providing access to private wealth and corporate services. The firm’s rebrand to Praxis is expected to complete during the summer.
Guernsey-based communications agency Hamilton Brooke has acquired Betley Whitehorne Image (BWI). BWI Managing Director Chris Betley, Director Piet Whitehorne and its staff have moved to Hamilton Brooke’s new offices at St George’s Esplanade. There are now 21 staff at the agency, which is known as Hamilton Brooke (incorporating BWI). The team from BWI are continuing to manage their clients, as are Hamilton Brooke, transitioning gradually to a single workflow. Efrem Cockett remains as MD of the business, with June Ozanne and Tracey Driscoll as Directors for client services, Piet Whitehorne responsible for brand strategy and development, and Chris Betley operating as a consultant.
JTC is to acquire TC3 Group Holdings, trading as South Dakota Trust Company (SDTC), which provides administration services to the US personal trust sector. The deal, for up to $270m, is to complete by the end of August. SDTC provides access to more than 1,700 high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth family clients, based on a large intermediary network. Post-completion, JTC will have 15 offices and more than 300 staff in the US.
Mourant has expanded into Luxembourg with the acquisition of law firm LexField and governance services business FideField. Both businesses will in time transition to the Mourant brand. LexField is a boutique corporate and tax practice, specialising in private equity, investment funds, M&A, banking and finance and private wealth. It will operate as an independent Luxembourg law firm within the Mourant network. FideField provides entity management services to corporate and financial services clients.
Jersey-based TEAM has made two acquisitions: Globaleye Wealth Management and financial planning business Thornton Associates. TEAM is acquiring Dubai-based Globaleye for £5.6m with newly issued TEAM shares. The group has five offices across Asia and Africa and total client assets under advice of £242m. Thornton Associates has been acquired for £2.5m. Founded in 2000 by Managing Director Sharon Sutton, it is the only chartered firm on the Isle of Man. It has assets under advice of £121m. The acquisition is subject to approval by the Isle of Man Financial Services Commission and is expected to complete this autumn. n
in the UAE and Singapore plan on dedicating more time towards enhancing supply chain controls or due diligence due to potential exposure to sanctions. According to Ed Shorrock, Managing Director, Financial Services Compliance and Regulation, at Kroll in Jersey, businesses in the Channel Islands faced similar challenges. He said they will need to consider greater investment in technology to counter the increasing threat from cybercrime, and address HR constraints and regulatory expectations.
He added: “One of the findings shows how quickly the finance industry is turning to AI and machine learning to support their financial crime compliance operations.
“Local firms will need to address this and ensure they keep pace with developments.”
Channel Islands-based PR and communications agency Orchard has been recognised with a Mark of Excellence in the Small PR Consultancy of the Year category at the CIPR Excellence Awards 2023, held in London recently.
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the industry body for public relations and communications
and its Excellence Awards reward the best agencies, practitioners and campaigns from across the UK.
Orchard was awarded a Mark of Excellence in its category, reflecting its work and performance over the past 18 months.
The firm’s growth and success is attributed to the agency’s strategic framework, which has a focus on team wellbeing and professionalism, creating client impact with prominent campaigns, and positioning the agency as trusted advisers.
The International Stock Exchange (TISE) and Shieldpay, which specialises in high-value business-to-business payments, have announced a partnership that promises to transform private market trading with automated payments.
TISE recently launched its private market platform, TISE Private Markets, to give small and medium-sized enterprises and their investors a viable alternative to traditional market infrastructure providers. The platform provides SMEs with a suite of trading, settlement and registry
Q: When your company is a David amongst Goliaths in Jersey’s fierce talent market, how do you entice the best employees?
A: It’s simple… you give them what they really want.
Money, money, money.
Whether people admit it, salary is a key attractor. It has to be market top quartile, plus, people expect other benefits. So make sure your package is really good.
Get in, get on, move up.
Talented people want to learn, grow and move up fast. Give them experience at the coal face, time with your top leaders and quality, 1:1 mentoring. You’ll reap the rewards.
Is it work or play?
People today want work to be a life experience, not to take over their lives. Smart firms offer (personalised) flex working and surprising extras e.g. at VG everyone gets Christmas off to spend with family and friends, on top of their annual leave.Tiffany Abreu, Trainee Trust Administrator
Time at VG: 1 year
Before VG: I worked in a High Street shop then left to focus on my family for 6 years. I completed the STEP certificate in international trust management and gained a distinction. From the day of my interview, I knew VG was my first choice. What I love about VG: Every day is different; I meet a wide variety of people. Everyone is so kind and welcoming, it’s always fun and friendly here.
Career ambition: Completing my STEP diploma for international trust management and having my own portfolio of clients.Michaela Ciobanu, Corporate Administrator
Time at VG: 1 year
Before VG: I was a manager in the sports, leisure and hospitality industry and made the move into the Finance sector to grow my career. I joined VG as a Trainee Corporate Administrator.
What I love about VG: My colleagues are positive, caring and approachable. From my first informal interview, I knew VG’s culture was right for me.
For details of the legal and regulatory status of VG, please visit www.vg.je.
“I’ve learnt so much already; I can’t wait to continue growing.”
“VG is quick to recognise people’s potential. Within six months I was promoted.”
VG’s Director, Debbie Lumsden, reveals her insights into the top three must-haves candidates want from employers today.
management services, revolutionising the way private market transactions are conducted.
Shieldpay’s all-in-one digital payments platform facilitates seamless and secure highvalue, complex transactions, bringing enhanced value to the payment process for TISE Private Markets.
With streamlined verification checks, safeguarding of funds and automated payouts, Shieldpay will enable efficient, cost-effective and secure transactions for customers of the TISE platform.
By automating the funds flow, TISE also says the time taken for trade settlement will be drastically reduced, enabling funds to be transferred from buyer to seller in a matter of days instead of weeks.
TISE CEO Cees Vermaas (pictured) said: “Our collaboration with Shieldpay represents a significant milestone in our delivery of TISE Private Markets.
“Together we will transform the private market landscape, empowering SMEs and their investors with a more efficient and secure platform for trading and settlement.”
The Jersey Financial Services Commission has extended the requirement to register as a Schedule Two business to
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focused on market access and funding opportunities.
The hybrid programme combines in-person workshops and events. It seeks to identify 10 of the most innovative, scalable technology scale-ups registered in South Africa, the Channel Islands or the UK, to build a varied cohort.
midnight on 30 September for certain businesses:
• Family offices that do not use a PTC administered by a person registered to carry out trust company business in Jersey
• Trustees in respect of any trusts that undertake lending activities.
An extension to the registration period is being granted specifically for these three categories of business, to allow the continuation of engagement to ensure those in scope businesses are aware of their registration requirements, better understand their new obligations and how they might meet those obligations.
To support this, the Commission published additional questions to the lending FAQs in June.
It was also planning to host a further series of drop-in sessions throughout July to support those who need help completing the registration process.
Entrepreneurship development specialist Grindstone, in partnership with Digital Jersey, has announced the launch of the inaugural Grindstone UK and Channel Islands programme in Jersey.
The six-month acceleration programme will support 10 high-growth, innovationdriven scale-ups through coaching and mentorship
Preference will be given to scale-ups that are postrevenue, with good market traction, are highly innovative, have the ability to scale exponentially and have international expansion as part of their strategic roadmap.
Initial applications will be shortlisted to 25, which will be invited to Grindstone’s Find, Make, Grow, Realise workshop.
The top 10 scale-ups will then be selected to embark on the six-month programme between July and December.
The programme was established to facilitate international business growth by combining scale-ups from different locations to enable knowledge sharing and workshops covering strategy, funding, valuations and legal and intellectual property.
Each scale-up will undergo detailed assessments to understand and analyse its business life stage, with mentoring and coaching provided to address key business gaps.
The scale-ups participating in the programme will gain access to market opportunities and funding options to accelerate their success.
Grindstone UK & Channel Islands also includes a residency week in September, during which the scale-ups will visit Jersey to experience Digital Jersey’s tech ecosystem and network with other entrepreneurs.
Catherine Young, Managing Partner of Grindstone and Grindstone Ventures, said: “Jersey provides a natural home for disruptive solutions. We look forward to witnessing how these scale-ups leverage technological innovation to solve real-world challenges and contribute to the wellbeing of society.
“The fact that we combine three geographic territories into one provides the scaleups with great opportunity for expansion and growth internationally.”
US business Gen II Fund Services has announced the acquisition of Crestbridge’s private equity and real estate fund administration business. Crestbridge Family Office Services is not part of the transaction and will continue to operate independently as a private business.
Having joined Crestbridge 10 years ago to establish Family Office Services, Heather Tibbo (pictured) takes the reins of this operation as Chief Executive Officer, with Paul Hunter as Managing Director, supported by their existing team of staff.
The acquisition will expand Gen II’s jurisdictional reach to now include the UK, Jersey, Ireland and other international markets, and create a team of more than 1,500 staff.
As part of the deal, Crestbridge’s Bahrain and Cayman offices will also become separate businesses under their own brand names. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. n
Julius Baer has appointed James Swaisland to the role of Chief Risk Officer in Guernsey. James has dedicated his career to risk and regulation in the financial services industry. He started his working life at Royal Bank of Canada in Guernsey, before moving to London and Edinburgh for 17 years. In 2012, James returned to his native Guernsey and has served as Head of Compliance at Canaccord Genuity since then. In his new role at Julius Baer, James will be responsible for the management and control of market, operational, compliance and legal risks related to the Guernsey branch.
Compliance and governance specialist
Redwood Group has recruited Christine Birchall as a Senior Consultant, based in Jersey. Christine brings to the business more than 10 years of industry experience, having managed and led several compliance projects. She joins from RBC Channel Islands, where she was an Associate Director in the senior regulatory control/advisory team for more than three years. Here she oversaw a compliance monitoring programme, ensuring alignment with local business and regulatory requirements. Her earlier career also included periods with SG Hambros and Deutsche Bank on the island.
C5 Alliance has hired Gez Overstall as Head of Business Development, Guernsey. Gez has more than 18 years leading new client acquisition activities in Guernsey. He joins C5 from Barclays Bank, where he led the digital agenda for local markets in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man. Before this, Gez was Business Development Manager for Infrasoft Technologies. He also spent eight years with JT Group in a sales management role. At C5, Gez will focus on building relationships with clients. He will also become a specialist for business intelligence and data platform solutions for clients.
JTC has appointed Vicki Allen as Head of Corporate Services – Jersey. Vicki, who joined the business earlier this year as a Senior Director, will now be responsible for the leadership of the corporate services team across the island. She will also oversee the share plan trustee services team, which forms part of JTC’s Employer Solutions service. Vicki brings to the business more than 20 years of experience in fiduciary services. She has worked at a variety of companies, including Sanne, Mourant and RBC. Most recently, she served as Head of Employee Benefit Trusts and Pensions at Kleinwort Hambros.
Guernsey Finance has named Kevin Boscher as Deputy Chairman. Kevin, who has served as Chief Investment Officer at Ravenscroft since 2019, will provide additional support to the board. He brings more than 35 years’ experience in financial services and investments to the post, including portfolio management, fund management, asset allocation, investment strategy, fixed income, hedge funds, multimanager investing and absolute return investing. His career includes seven years as CIO with Brooks Macdonald and four with Spearpoint. He will continue at Ravenscroft while holding the Guernsey Finance role.
The Jersey Financial Services Commission has recruited Megan Butler (pictured) and John Laurens as Commissioners to the board, announced the retirement of Chair Mark Hoban and reappointed Monique O’Keefe as Deputy Chair. Megan has held senior roles at the Prudential Regulation Authority, Financial Conduct Authority and other industry boards over a career of three decades. John is a banking leader with nearly three decades of international experience, including as Group Head of Global Transaction Banking of DBS and a former NED of SWIFT.
BDO in Jersey has recruited Allam Zia (pictured) and Andrew Essa as Directors and Co-Heads of its management consultancy. Allam rejoins BDO after almost a year with consultancy Elixirr. His career began in Brisbane, Australia in 2000. After working in the UK, he moved to Jersey in 2006 to work for Mourant. Since then he has worked for C5 Alliance and TrustQuay on the island. Andrew also has more than 20 years’ experience in the Channel Islands and UK in a career that, like Allam, started in Brisbane. Based in Guernsey since 2016, his career has included more than seven years as MD of Rocket + Commerce in the Channel Islands.
Investment and insurance services firm
BWCI has appointed Anna Gray as a Director in its Guernsey fiduciary business. Anna has extensive experience in the pensions and trust industry, and more than 15 years practising as a lawyer in the UK and then Guernsey. During this time she worked with all types of domestic and international pension arrangements, as well as regulatory roles in both jurisdictions, including with the UK Pensions Regulator. Most recently Anna has served as an Assistant Director of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. She has also been a Director of Guernsey business Trireme Pension Services.
Collas Crill has elected Jason Green as Senior Partner. Jason will be an ambassador for the group in Guernsey, Jersey, Cayman and BVI, raising its profile across the globe. He joined Collas Day and Rowland, as it then was, in 1994 and has been involved in the development and growth of the firm over almost three decades. He led the Guernsey Property team as a Partner until December 2020. Aside from property, Jason has focused on charities, chairing Autism Guernsey from its incorporation until 2018 and the Judging Panel of the Community Foundation Awards for Achievement.
The Government of Jersey has appointed Andrew McLaughlin as its interim Chief Executive Officer. Andrew will take up the role on 5 September from outgoing CEO Suzanne Wylie until May 2024. Andrew currently serves as CEO of Commercial and Institutional, Non-Ring Fenced Bank, at NatWest in London, a role he has held since July 2022. Before this, he spent seven years as CEO of RBS International in Jersey, having joined RBS in 2005. He has also held many advisory and non-executive positions, including as a member of the Fiscal Policy Panel for the States of Guernsey and on the CBI’s Economics and Tax Committee.
Vistra has named Jonathan Ferrara as Managing Director of its Channel Islands operation. Jonathan will have responsibility for the leadership and strategic development of the Vistra Channel Islands offices, which specialise in corporate real estate and private equity services as well as wealth management solutions for high-networth individuals and families. Jonathan has more than 30 years of experience in private banking, wealth management and corporate services. He has held senior roles at Bank of America, UBS and most recently Sanne, where he has been Managing Director for the Channel Islands since 2018.
IQ-EQ has made two board appointments in Guernsey: Elaine Smeja (pictured) as Director, Funds, and Nel Schoeman as Director, Corporate. Elaine has nearly 20 years’ experience in the funds sector, most recently as Executive Director at Maitland Administration (Guernsey). She started in 2004 with Kleinwort Benson and has worked for State Street and R&H Fund Services. Nel has extensive client relationship management experience. He joins IQ-EQ from Stonehage Fleming (ex-Maitland), where he has been since 2014 after relocating to Guernsey from South Africa.
Amid a raft of ‘revolutionary’ tech developments, huge disruption from new market entrants and an increasingly volatile macroeconomic environment, the financial services sector is at a crossroads. We asked a selection of Channel Islands sector leaders to share their views on how the future of financial services will play out
Mark Bousfield, Managing Director of Investments, Ravenscroft: Mark was educated at Elizabeth College, Guernsey, and the University of Leeds, where he studied geography and politics. He is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment, having completed the CISI Diploma, and he is also a Chartered Wealth Manager.
Sarah Bartram-Lora Reina, Director, Stonehage Fleming: Sarah is a Trustee Director in the firm’s Family Office Division in Jersey. She is responsible for managing assets held in trust on behalf of beneficiaries, acting on boards of corporate trustee and corporate director companies in a number of jurisdictions. Sarah has been President of the Jersey Association of Trust Companies since 2021 and Chair of the Jersey Charity Tribunal since 2018.
Henry Baye, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank, Jersey: Henry was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank in Jersey in August 2019. Since his appointment, he has helped to steer the bank through the Covid-19 crisis while remaining ever vigilant of the threat of financial and cybercrime.
With fast-changing demographics, rapidly emerging technologies, growing political tensions, the Great Wealth Transfer and a growing number of market disruptors all in play right now – what do you feel will be the single biggest disruptor to the sector in the coming decade and what will most shape the FS sector of the future?
Sarah Bartram-Lora Reina, Stonehage Fleming: Although there is much focus on regulatory and financial technology, as well as political pressure, to me, the focus on sustainable finance will be the single biggest disruptor to the sector in the coming decade.
The EU is looking to approve its sustainable finance taxonomy delegated acts in early 2024 and currently also looking at new disclosure and reporting requirements, as well as regulation of the providers of ESG ratings due to lack of transparency. The UK published its updated Green Finance Strategy in March and is due to publish its Disclosure Framework and Implementation Guidance for Transition Plans this summer. Further, the FCA in the UK is due to publish its policy statement to Sustainability Disclosure Requirements and investment labels consultation in the third quarter of this year.
Further afield, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is this year looking to implement rules to standardise approaches, including around climate-related disclosures for public companies and other disclosure rules. Jersey is also due to have its own consultation issued by the Jersey Financial Services Commission later this year on climate risk.
Therefore, all areas of financial services will need to be mindful of these forthcoming changes and how they impact the particular of area that they are involved in, and how these changes will be implemented over the next few years. This includes upskilling their employees, who in turn will need to be able to have informed discussions with their clients on these changes as well as meet any regulatory requirements.
Mark Bousfield, Ravenscroft: We believe the single biggest disruptor for financial services, as it is likely to be in many industries, will probably be the rise and rise of artificial intelligence (AI), which we now anticipate will be a mega-trend.
Henry Baye, Standard Chartered Bank: Climate change is without doubt the greatest challenge facing the world today – and our financial services industry.
At Standard Chartered, we’ve committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions in our own operations by 2025, and in our financing activity by 2050. We see this commitment and responsibility to climate change in our clients’ behaviour too.
ESG investing is a key part of our conversations with clients, who want to use their money for the greater good.
For example, our recent Sustainable Banking Report found that more than 90% of investors want to allocate funds into sustainable investments, calculating that in just 10 growth markets this could translate into $8.2tn of assets under management (AUM) in sustainable investments by 2030.
Rapid tech advancements are now synonymous with the future of finance. Which tech developments do you think will truly shape the future of the sector, and how will they impact the way FS organisations operate?
Mark Bousfield, Ravenscroft: There are a number of tech developments that will impact how the finance sector will look in the future. Both AI and machine learning (ML) could have a massive impact on the sector, including risk management, fraud detection, some aspects of investment management, onboarding new clients and customer service.
Blockchain has the ability to change the way we make financial transactions by offering a decentralised and transparent way of recording and verifying transactions. Big data analytics will provide greater insight into areas such as risk and client behaviour and, of course, mobile usage will continue to impact the way we interact, make payments and consume advice.
We don’t think there is much in the way of “just noise” at the moment – although the aforementioned technologies, in our opinion, are only at the start of their journeys. As always with fast-growing sectors, there will be winners and losers.
Sarah Bartram-Lora Reina, Stonehage Fleming: The developments in regulatory technology will create a different financial sector of the future, whereby select data criteria will be exchanged easily and quickly by a safe medium with, for example, the domestic regulator, revenue authorities and company registrar.
It will also be able to identify overall economic and market trends and risks. For financial services firms, this will help utilise internal resourcing, away from the previous manual intervention in gathering this data to more targeted monitoring of
the risk from the data provided from the technological solutions. This has the benefit of using compliance and risk employee resources in a more targeted way. And it brings economic benefit, with this particular skill set being in high demand.
As with any new solution or innovation, teething problems will be identified. As feedback is received from financial services firms, these new technologies continue to be refined, so the new tech developments will become more intelligent, easier to use, faster –and incorporate the latest (cyber) safety features. It is imperative that upgrades are passed on to financial services firms that have made these investments.
Henry Baye, Standard Chartered Bank: The potential of AI to drive behaviour and decision-making is a fast evolving one. AI will become more important in helping clients decide how they manage their wealth. It will play a role in how clients pivot their investments to align to their sustainability and returns goals, and will even play a role in wealth advisory.
Frankly, no matter the tech development, its success rests in the quality of analytics and data to back up what clients need. Financial providers’ ability to meet customer expectations depends on their insights from these ever-increasing flows of information. The sector has to reinvent data strategies and how to stay ahead of the curve by integrating AI into its modus operandi to stay competitive. There is a need to strike a delicate balance between sharing data with partners and keeping strict control over proprietary information.
How do you see the customer experience evolving over the coming years? We have seen a lot of talk about the role of automation, but also some resistance from customers to a purely digital experience. How do you see this evolving in your specific part of the sector?
Sarah Bartram-Lora Reina, Stonehage Fleming: Every customer is unique, depending on their age, education, where they live in the world and how much they want to be involved. As a world-leading international finance centre, the services provided to our private wealth and family office clients are bespoke and can be adapted to what our clients would like to receive.
After Covid-19, this has no doubt increased the digital experience, whereby more virtual calls are held with not just the client but the wider financial services team, to give a much wider holistic service, as well as ease of online access to see in real-time, or nearest real-time, financial assets held and signing documents electronically.
Mark Bousfield, Ravenscroft: In many ways technology will continue to enhance the client experience but, at least for the foreseeable future, human interaction will also play a key role in client service. We have already seen a divergence in what businesses choose to offer their clients. In the investment space, many businesses focus on technology as a way to lower the cost for clients, and this may be preferable for clients that are tech savvy and don’t require human assistance.
Other businesses focus more on a high-touch, people-focused operation, which may appeal to a more traditional client or those with bespoke needs. Ultimately, there is room for both in the investment space, as well as a balance between the two.
Henry Baye, Standard Chartered Bank: For the wealthy clients we serve, there is an element of bespoke, exclusive, trustworthy advice they expect, which can only be built and nurtured through face-to-face interaction. But there is also a role for technology.
For example, we recently improved the IT onboarding of a new client and introduced e-signing for certain documents to make the client experience much quicker and smoother.
Our mobile app is also increasingly popular among clients, who wish to manage their portfolios in real time. For some time to come, it will very much remain a case of finding an appropriate balance between faceto-face interaction (in person or via video channels) and digital (self-service) channels.
This will of course vary from client to client. With the big transfer of wealth happening, we will be faced with a generation that is more comfortable with using digital platforms and automation.
new tech will become more intelligent, easier to use, faster – and incorporate the latest (cyber) safety features
How do you view the role of fintechs and other market disruptors going forward? Do you think fintechs will increasingly take a market share? Do you believe we will see the traditional players holding their ground? Or do you think greater collaboration will take place over the next decade?
Sarah Bartram-Lora Reina, Stonehage Fleming: Fintechs and disruptors have an important part to play in that they help develop and modernise the financial sector. As they break new ground, the regulators need to keep pace and the new innovation does come with risks. They will increasingly take a market share and we will see traditional players look to collaborate with those new strong innovators, adapting the technology in order to survive.
Many of the traditional players have a loyal customer base who will be more willing to embrace the new technology due to belief in a strong brand, governance, existing regulation and reputation.
Mark Bousfield, Ravenscroft: My view is that, in all likelihood, we will see an increase in collaboration between fintechs and traditional players as both ends of the spectrum utilise each other’s strengths in the quest for growth.
Henry Baye, Standard Chartered Bank: In private banking, historically a set number of established banks served the wealthiest individuals. However, there are fintech companies breaking through industry barriers to provide clients with services that are unparalleled to the traditional wealth management space.
Ultimately, more choice for clients is a good thing and brings about healthy competition in the sector. For us, it’s about the confidence in our USP and brand.
Following some recent high-profile collapses and global macroeconomic shifts, are we in line for a period of heightened regulation – and which areas do you feel regulators might be most focused on?
Sarah Bartram-Lora Reina, Stonehage Fleming: There will be a period of heightened regulation in the coming years, not only around sustainable finance but also around new digital technology of virtual assets, to ensure that customers’ interests and rights are protected, as well as ensuring that anti-money laundering, countering of terrorism finance and proliferation finance checks are in place.
We will also see any recommendations that may be made following the forthcoming Moneyval evaluation in Jersey, to ensure we are in good stead for the future.
In addition, the regulators will be watching if changes are made to the Basel Framework – which is a full set of standards of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the primary global standard setter for the prudential regulation of banks – and implement as required.
Mark Bousfield, Ravenscroft: I would argue that we have been living in a period of heightened regulation for many years, and it’s a trend that has legs.
A specific area of focus, particularly as we all become more wedded to technology, is likely to be cybersecurity and fintech regulation. We are also likely to see increased regulation around sectors such as cryptocurrency.
Henry Baye, Standard Chartered Bank: Regulation will continue to evolve for many reasons as the risks in the industry and its ecosystems also evolve. Prudential considerations, protection of client interests, the fight against financial crime and data protection will remain top of agenda for regulators.
The most important focus is the continued open dialogue between the regulators and industry to make sure there is a deep understanding of the sector and what consumers are really experiencing.
Regulators will remain focused on using more data and intelligence to draw conclusions about firms, to identify and head off risks before they crystallise and cause consumer detriment or damage market integrity.
Which regions do you see as being the financial services powerhouses of the future – and what trends might we see in terms of growth or shifts in wealth?
Sarah Bartram-Lora Reina, Stonehage Fleming: In Asia, China will continue to strengthen as it trades more openly, encouraging innovation that will ensure the international finance centres of Singapore and Hong Kong will still be key players and see new wealth. There is strong investment being made into Africa and we may see Rwanda become a strong financial service powerhouse alongside Mauritius.
The US, with its key financial centres, will remain keen to invest into Europe, and the well-regulated Crown Dependencies will continue to play a strong part of this. Families round the world are living longer and the transfer of wealth is a longer time period.
That said, younger generations are more interested in generating their wealth and in non-traditional ways – through innovation, influencing or digital assets.
Mark Bousfield, Ravenscroft: Emerging markets will certainly feature as a powerhouse of the future, as nascent middle classes across the globe require wealth management. There have been enormous changes throughout Latin America, China, India and of course Africa. Another area that continues to see tremendous growth in financial services is the Middle East, specifically Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Both cities are investing into tech to enhance their own offerings.
Despite these changes, traditional centres of finance such as London and New York – given their history and deep-rooted connections globally – will remain financial powerhouses for many years to come.
Henry Baye, Standard Chartered Bank: BCG’s Global Wealth Report put global wealth growth at 5.5% between 2020 and 2021 and expected to achieve a compound annual growth rate of about the same percentage until 2027.
Globally, financial assets lost about 3.5% during the same period on the back of rising inflation and interest rates, and driven largely by the West. Global growth has been driven by physical assets including real estate. Regionally, growth has been driven largely by Eastern Europe at 13.4%, and Middle East and Africa at 12.9%, alongside Latin America and the US.
When it comes to financial assets, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East have remained the most resilient in the past two years and will be expected to continue. Asia continues to be one of the driving forces of global economic growth. Together with the growing interest in the Middle East as financial centres, the two will continue to lead the growth of global wealth.
How do you see the Channel Islands’ position changing, if at all, in the financial services sector of the future? Do you feel the islands will continue to be an international financial centre of choice? And do you feel their role will change in terms of the services they most commonly provide?
Sarah Bartram-Lora Reina, Stonehage Fleming: The Channel Islands’ position as a financial services sector will change. It has in the past and needs to do so in future to ensure it continues to remain recognised as a well-regulated, reputable international financial centre of choice that meets international standards, such as of the OECD and FATF, on a level playing field.
By doing so, and seeing it as an opportunity, ensures that it remains attractive for the right reasons (ensuring that the island is not used for nefarious purposes), and is recognised as having key expertise in using finance for good in sustainability and philanthropy, as well as in digital technology.
Mark Bousfield, Ravenscroft: We believe the Channel Islands will continue to be a leading international finance centre and play a key role in the global financial services sector of the future, thanks to its forward-thinking, flexible, pragmatic and innovative approach to servicing its global clients.
The islands are well respected and secure jurisdictions of substance at the forefront of banking, insurance, corporate services, funds, investment management, private wealth and specialist areas such as fintech, Islamic finance and philanthropy.
A large part of the their continued success in financial services is due to the cultivation of a conducive legal, regulatory and tax environment in which innovation can thrive. Both Guernsey and Jersey have excellent track records in embracing technology and innovation in areas such as electronic transactions and agents, blockchain, sustainable finance and fintech.
Henry Baye, Standard Chartered Bank: Estimates suggest that between 2022 and 2027 the three fastest growing financial centres will be UAE (9.6%), Singapore (9.0%) and Hong Kong (7.6%). The Channel Islands will continue to grow more than 2% and will be driven by attracting more and more business outside Western Europe.
Jersey is, strategically, absolutely positioned to achieve that. Jersey is an international finance centre of excellence because our forward-thinking and robust regulation sets us apart. n
The Channel Islands will continue to grow more than 2%, attracting more business outside Western Europe
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WHEN YOU’RE AN investor looking to maximise your returns, trying to time the market sounds like a reasonable idea. But think twice, as this is far trickier than that appealing phrase makes it sound. Here are my five common investment mistakes – and some guidance on what you should do instead.
1. Being distracted by the headlines
Bad news sells papers and attracts online clicks, and it makes some investors nervous because they think the markets might get spooked. With the rise of the internet and instant news, there’s always something to worry about. But the markets are more resilient than we give them credit for, and most of the time people’s worries are already priced in.
When the markets are actually taken by surprise, the key is not to make rash decisions. Has the event affected the value of your investment or its potential in the long term? Do you have other investments that will cover falling values in one asset class? Markets generally recover more quickly than people expect, so it’s almost always worth being patient.
2. Trying to time the market
Setting goals for your investments with realistic timeframes gives you something to aim for, whether that’s saving for a deposit on a house or for higher education, splashing out on a luxury holiday or putting funds aside for your retirement. Having mapped out a game-plan, a lot of investors then wait for the right time to enter the market. But what if there is no right time? The reality is that time in the market is far more important than timing the market.
3. Keeping hold of losers
One of the biggest issues investors face is what to do with stocks that are falling in value. Many people think it makes sense to sell quickly and cut their losses, while others will hold on to a stock to see if it recovers. If the company’s share price is falling because competitors are offering superior products and growth has faltered, or the company’s management are taking
unnecessary risks, then it’s probably a good time to sell.
Holding on to a loser in the hope it will turn the corner is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. If you cash out, re-assess your portfolio and then reinvest in a structural winner, you’ll be glad you changed your strategy.
It’s rare for investors to face double-digit inflation. When prices rise as quickly as they have been in late 2022 and early 2023, people’s wages are unable to keep pace and their overall spending power falls. To combat inflation, banks usually raise interest rates as this makes borrowing more expensive and encourages people to save instead. However, as banks won’t raise interest rates above inflation, savings quickly devalue and cash sitting in a current account doesn’t generate more money in real terms.
Investors could consider other highly liquid asset classes if they are to counter the negative effects of inflation on cash. Many still opt for the traditional 60/40 (shares/bonds) split in their portfolio as investing in high-quality companies selling essential goods and services is usually a solid strategy in uncertain times.
5. Putting all your eggs in one basket
Having a diversified portfolio means spreading your investment between lots of different securities and asset classes. This reduces your risk profile, and it should help you achieve steady returns over the long term. As a general rule, the greater the proportion of equities in a portfolio, the more volatile the investments will be. If you have a higher proportion of government bonds, your overall risk is likely to be lower.
Investing can be extremely rewarding, both personally and financially, if you pay attention to certain key principles and know your own behaviour as an investor. n
For investors seeking assistance with their wealth management needs alongside their business, contact Craig Allen at email@example.com to find out more.
Bank Julius Baer & Co Ltd, Guernsey Branch is licensed in Guernsey to provide banking and investment services and services ancillary to consumer credit, and is regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.
Craig Allen, Head of Investment Management at the Guernsey Branch of Julius Baer, presents five common investment mistakes – and what you should do instead
Holding on to a loser in the hope that it will turn the corner is one of the biggest mistakes you can make
FROM CHATGPT TO the Metaverse, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning – it seems that hardly a month passes without a new technological development purporting to revolutionise the future of the financial services sector. But they can’t all be ‘the next big thing’ –and plenty have already failed to deliver on their promises.
The question is: what will true digital transformation of the sector really look like going forward?
Simeon Moss, Director and Jersey Advisory Lead at Deloitte, believes that the “future of money” is being driven by the ongoing impact of mass digitalisation, rapid disruptions of big tech, fintech and OpenSource innovation. He offers some pointers on where the focus will rest.
“Focusing on the next big changes, our view is that by 2035 it’s likely that central bank digital currencies could well be established, with stablecoins and tokenised deposits impacting payments,” he says.
“Payments innovation, infrastructure and consolidation to standards such as ISO 20022 are already evolving, and will need
to further accommodate digital currencies and the impact of digital identities.”
Tech-driven developments are clearly dominating the landscape, it seems.
However, while those changes will likely require expense and realignment, Stuart Geddes, Chief Information Officer at Ocorian, echoes the caution that true digital transformation is not about purchasing trending technologies just because everyone else is.
“You need to look at your current processes and redesign from the ground up – and integrate with digital technologies. Effectively, this avoids automating existing inefficiencies,” he says.
Adam Brown, Programme Manager, Vaiie, agrees wholeheartedly. “You need to ask the question: ‘Am I buying the tech because I just want AI or blockchain in my business?’,” he says.
“It is important to listen to the people who are working with existing tech on a day-to-day basis – what are they telling you? Using technology effectively isWords: David Burrows
about making a difference; not just about reducing the headcount.”
Geddes says leveraging AI is the big elephant in the room when talking about big changes in digital transformation.
“The biggest challenge is the lack of clarity on the privacy AI affords,” he says. “Many companies are reluctant to embrace AI in its fast-moving entirety because of the uncertainty in privacy rights.”
Chris Clark, CEO of Prosperity 24/7, says that when it comes to the role of digital in financial services, the immediate driver is the permeating influence of AI in administrative as well as client-facing tasks – with huge potential to drive productivity.
He points out that we already benefit from many ‘autopilot’ features in life – many of which we take for granted –whether it is Netflix recommendations or iPhones alerting us to travel updates.
“Going forward, we will see a shift from ‘autopilot’ to ‘co-pilot’ technologies, with systems that can proactively offer better ways to complete tasks, at incredible speed, liberating colleagues from the mundane and moving them on to more valuable ▼
tasks that leverage our cognitive and communication capabilities.”
Clark accepts that there are concerns around AI, but adds that companies need to be bold and forward-looking.
“‘AI for good’ is how we need to contemplate innovation, rather than fearing and resisting it. Ultimately, we are the first generation in the history of humanity to create machines that can make decisions that could previously only be made by people.
“This level of augmented intelligence, when applied effectively, could and should have a truly positive impact in productivity across financial services.
He adds: “This will result in better services to customers and ‘more bandwidth’ for colleagues, enabling the islands to drive up new business revenue while liberating our colleagues to achieve greater wellbeing through work/life balance as we leverage the compute power rather than hours of labour given to repetitive activities.”
Assuming innovation continues to be embraced rather than resisted – as has so far seemed to be the case – what will the bank of the future really look like?
Moss at Deloitte explains that while the future is not always predictable, the future of digital money is already developing and gathering pace.
“Deloitte’s prediction from our Future of Money research highlights four digital money scenarios where growth will depend
largely on the degree of trust placed on them: government coins, stablecoins, cryptocurrencies, and reward or product tokens could all feature alongside traditional finance.”
He adds: “Traditionally, movement of money has involved policymakers, regulators, central banks, retail and corporate banks, and payment providers. However, the bank of the future is also being influenced by emerging fintech entrants – as well as ‘big tech’ ecosystem orchestrators including disruptors promoting decentralised finance (DeFi).”
Brown believes the pressure on financial services firms to enhance efficiencies will accelerate change further.
“We have already seen challenger banks demonstrate that data is key to understanding what you can deliver to specific clients – including a more tailored, client-centric approach,” he says.
“Tech can assess client behaviour and spending patterns in a much more sophisticated way. For instance, tech can be used to raise dementia red flags – stopping certain transactions being made that could be costly for a vulnerable customer.”
As an example, he points to checks being introduced in onboarding or high-value transactions. Banks can monitor areas such as behaviour, tone of voice and pupil dilation to prove a person’s identity and ensure they are not being coerced into making a financial transaction.
“In the funds space, there are great opportunities for automation to deliver competitive advantage, by delivering faster investor updates, for example. The more manual a process is, the slower the reporting period,” Brown explains.
Of course, with the tech revolution clearly moving at an incredible pace, another question arises: how do banks and their staff quickly understand the role these emerging technologies will play, which ones will have a lasting impact and which will be a passing fad?
Geddes explains that Ocorian has a learning and development team that is dedicated to training the organisation on new and relevant tech.
“We are currently developing an awareness campaign on the use of AI in our organisation and sector to deploy to our team. Ocorian has an active AI working group that is assessing these new technologies, with input from our risk, legal and commercial teams,” he explains.
“The chances of these technologies staying around are high. What might change, however, are the brands that are leading the technologies to the market and the public domain. These tech giants and brands will compete to market and develop these and other emerging technologies.”
With adoption of new technologies comes risk – but another growing tech-based phenomenon, regtech, can play a vital role in helping the industry by better supporting risk and compliance professionals as new technologies come on board.
Moss insists there is a need for regulatory speed in keeping pace with emerging digital transactions and digital money – stressing that while there are obvious benefits to introducing faster, cheaper and more innovative ways of exchanging money and creating value, this introduces new areas of risk.
“There will be a need for regulatory systems to create the standards and frameworks needed to keep pace with this innovation,” he says. “Supervisory technology – suptech – needs to go hand in hand with fintech and regtech developments, and there is opportunity for automation and AI to improve existing processes and methods of collecting information.”
He adds: “Emerging frameworks for digital ID adoption, such as the UK digital identity and attributes trust framework, could also drive regulatory innovation, ▼
particularly where it helps to combat illicit finance, money-laundering and terrorist financing. Some banks are already piloting increased data sharing in this area.”
As far as Brown is concerned, adopting regtech is more of a necessity than an option. “There are so many people in risk and compliance roles right now and in places like the Channel Islands, we can’t just keep hiring more people; we need to increase use of technology.”
He continues: “Tech can cross-reference minutiae of detail and pick up things the human eye can miss. Also, gathering ID information takes a lot of time – using tech you can send a link to an app and the client then responds with the information. A compliance person can then focus on other areas that benefit from human intuition.”
Geddes says Ocorian currently works with several service providers, which helps speed up the client onboarding process through digitisation.
“Having risk and compliance service providers does not alleviate the need for
regular reviews performed by our expert teams, which will always be needed. Instead, it gives clients an added level of assurance.”
He concludes: “We’re expecting to see more compliance technologies that allow for sharing data, outside of current digital solutions focused on capturing data, so that individuals have more ownership and control of their own data and who they share it with.”
This control and security of data is an important issue – understandably, firms are wary of the power of technology and the risks that might bring. The benefits may be clear and welcomed – but is any downside properly anticipated?
After all, five years from now tech will have advanced even further, bringing with it new capabilities and no doubt new reservations to boot.
Companies will need to invest in tech to remain competitive. The onus then will be on prioritising where that investment is made and when. n
Ed Shorrock, Managing Director, Financial Services Compliance and Regulation, Kroll, Jersey, and Dan Yeloff, Director, Data Insights and Forensics, Kroll, London explain Onboarding new customers and conducting due diligence in line with firms’ anti-money laundering, countering the financing of terrorism, countering proliferation financing (AML/CFT/ CPF) obligations… It all begins with identifying the customer and verifying that customer’s identity using reliable, independent source documents, data or information.
Identity verification when conducted manually is a source of friction for customers and a great deal of work for a firm’s employees. Friction usually happens with the verification of identity documents, the need for physical ‘wet ink’ signatures or the requirement for in-person meetings.
Confirming identity without face-to-face meetings during the pandemic and the need to confirm identity without face-toface meetings has accelerated the transition from a manual paperbased customer due diligence (CDD) verification process to the use of digital ID software – to confirm who an applicant for a firm’s services is, based upon evidence that may be paper-based or electronic.
Digital ID software is rarely produced internally within a firm or its group. In the case of most financial services firms, it is more economical for the firm to buy services in from an external provider rather than develop proprietary software itself.
The digital ID market is growing rapidly, with a number of players now prominent in the market. Globally there are suppliers including IDnow, Jumio, Trulioo, Shufti Pro and Yoti, and there are also suppliers who specialise in the Jersey market, such as Tiller or Vaiie.
In addition to digital ID verification, suppliers typically offer document verification, claim verification, customer lifecycle management and KYC/AML checks.
We will see a shift from ‘autopilot’ to ‘co-pilot’ technologies, with systems that can proactively offer better ways to complete tasks
digital ID systems: why they are key to the future of financial services
WHEN LOOKING AT what lies ahead for the financial services industry, the theme of sustainability unites most organisations we work with. At KPMG, we believe sustainable growth is the best way to build a successful business and have a lasting impact on our environment and communities.
Sustainability matters when it comes to a business’s future. Expectations around companies’ sustainability credentials –determined by their environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices – continue to evolve.
Investors are increasingly putting downward pressure on their portfolio companies, clients are imposing ESG requirements on their suppliers, employees increasingly seek companies that align with their personal values, customer behaviour is shifting in favour of ESG ideals.
The financial services sector has built an entire industry on such demands: the market for ESG-centric products has grown at a compound annual rate of 27% over the past six years. Firms in the Crown Dependencies are seizing on these same trends and opportunities.
However, organisations are coming under pressure globally to demonstrate clear and tangible action on these issues. This requires a holistic approach – building sustainability considerations into long-term strategy, investment policies and decisionmaking from the top down, as well as a transparent and ethical approach to disclosure on ESG.
If businesses make dishonest or unjustifiable performance claims –whether to give the illusion they’re tackling challenges such as climate change
or to attempt to secure competitive advantage – it’s likely they’ll be accused of greenwashing.
The consequences for this are becoming increasingly severe. Litigation and regulatory enforcement around greenwashing is starting to mount, but we believe this is just the beginning. Stakeholder demands around ESG transparency and authenticity are growing. Our most recent survey of global CEOs shows that 71% believe scrutiny on ESG will continue to accelerate.
What are the issues associated with greenwashing?
The term greenwashing implies any dishonest practices used by businesses to represent themselves as more sustainable – either by giving a false impression or providing misleading information as to the sustainability of a product/service.
It’s a given that no organisation should ever be engaging in greenwashing. Businesses should always be open and transparent about what they’re selling. Customers should be able to trust their products. Engaging in greenwashing can erode that trust, making it difficult or even impossible for consumers to take an organisation’s ESG messages at face value.
But it’s not just reputation that’s at risk. Greenwashing can also have legal and regulatory consequences.
In Jersey, for example, the regulatory codes of practice that set out the principles that guide the financial services sector require regulated firms to act with integrity. This also means taking reasonable steps to avoid making statements that are misleading, false or deceptive.
What’s more, the Channel Islands have recently introduced specific provisions into their regulatory frameworks to address the risk of greenwashing relating to investments marketed as “sustainable”. Failure to follow these rules can lead to enforcement action being taken by the regulators.
This echoes the approach taken in many other leading finance centres. The UK regulator is pursuing new rules to prevent greenwashing, including a labelling framework for financial products.
The EU, meanwhile, has introduced a wide range of sustainable finance regulatory measures to promote transparency in financial services, as well as looking to expand enforcement powers.
Recent raids by prosecutors in Germany and the US on financial institutions remind us that anti-greenwashing provisions increasingly have teeth.
It’s clear, then, how much of a risk greenwashing poses. And for most organisations, it’s a risk that’s almost impossible to eradicate entirely. But managing it carefully can help both minimise the chances of a legal, regulatory or reputational hit – and create opportunity.
Five ways to manage greenwashing risk
Organisations should take a strategic approach to face greenwashing risk. These five recommendations can help a business get started:
1. Understand your greenwashing risk
This approach should begin by acknowledging that greenwashing risk may exist in different places throughout an organisation, including:
• Through its environmental impact
The ramifications of greenwashing present a significant threat to financial services organisations and can destroy shareholder value. But following some simple steps and guidance can protect you against the threat – while also enhancing trust and unlocking new value
and policies in areas such as diversity, inclusion and corporate governance.
• Through the products and services the organisation sells, and where sustainability claims may not stand up to scrutiny.
• Through links to suppliers and consumers who may then want to secure arrangements that directly contradict the organisation’s ESG aims. Organisations should keep in mind the importance of identifying potential greenwashing risk exposure across their operations and professional relationships. There are several challenges in this:
a) Lack of common definitions – Terms such as sustainability, green and ESG are loosely defined at best. There’s room for confusion even in the financial services sector, even where regulators have introduced new regimes to standardise terminology and definitions.
b) Lack of consistent and comparable data – Organisations need reliable data to identify greenwashing risk, particularly where third parties are involved. Yet ESG data coverage remains patchy – its quality varies hugely around the world and across asset classes. While the ESG ratings industry continues to grow, using its services has not always been enough to protect organisations from greenwashing accusations.
Sustainability is a relatively new discipline. This means it’s important that organisations equip staff with the required knowledge. Upskilling the whole organisation on the basics of ESG and greenwashing risk can provide stronger foundations on which to build a more robust approach.
The board should also take part in such upskilling programmes. Greenwashing risk represents a threat to entire organisations, and as such can also leave individual leaders vulnerable to personal risk or even legal/regulatory sanctions. So the implementation of programmes to upskill the board and employees on the fundamentals of ESG and the risk of greenwashing is a critical starting point.
Businesses should embed ESG criteria in their existing risk management procedures and controls, and consider introducing a bespoke ESG policy. Good ESG governance will enable the business to make accurate public statements, which in turn will support their claims of how ‘green’ or sustainable their products and services are.
All of this is increasingly overlaid with ESG governance and reporting expectations set by regulators. The UK has already mandated climate disclosures for many financial services firms – applying the recommendations of the Taskforce for
Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which include climate governance and risk management considerations.
Here in the Crown Dependencies, the Guernsey Code of Corporate Governance was recently updated to include requirements on boards to consider climate risk. Other regulatory moves – such as the Jersey Financial Services Commission – are expected to follow suit.
4. Keep on top of evolving regulation Regulations will help avoid the risk of greenwashing in the longer term by providing a framework for compliance, but these can also generate complexity and a lack of clarity.
A slew of recent sustainability ‘downgrades’ of funds in the European markets has highlighted the risk of firms incorrectly self-certifying products as meeting enhanced ESG characteristics, as described in the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR). The EU’s taxonomy regulation is intended to provide a defined list of sustainable activities in the real economy, but this expanding, dynamic list continues to evolve.
Rather than transposing SFDR into national law, the UK has opted to develop its own framework. The upcoming UK
Green Taxonomy may be based on the EU taxonomy’s scientific metrics, to the extent that they are deemed appropriate for the UK market. UK-EU divergences are also appearing in other areas of antigreenwashing measures in the financial services space.
While these regulations do not directly apply in the Crown Dependencies at this time, they drive the expectations of clients and stakeholders and set global standards that can catch Jersey firms and structures.
In response to that changing environment, the Government of Jersey is expected to consult in the coming months on a Sustainable Finance Policy Roadmap for the island, building on the work of Jersey Finance in defining the industry ambitions in this space. It is therefore essential for firms to keep abreast of emerging regulations, locally and globally.
5 Regulator and industry guidance
With the introduction of changes to the codes of practice in Jersey in 2021, the JFSC has set out its first guidance and expectations in this space. That is unlikely to be its last intervention in preserving the reputation and integrity of the island’s financial sector. We expect to see further guidance emerging over time.
Equally, many industry bodies and standard setters are developing their own guidance around ESG, which helps define best practice and avoid accusations of greenwashing. For instance, in the private equity space, the ESG Data Convergence Initiative’s metrics are being used by many of our clients as an industry benchmark, in the absence of prescriptive rules.
KPMG also recently collaborated with the British Venture Capital Association to provide further sector-specific guidance in relation to TCFD implementation.
Voluntary frameworks and initiatives – such as the UN Global Compact – can also provide a valuable set of tools and benchmarks around which firms can structure their sustainability credentials. n
Greenwashing risk represents a potential threat to organisations, and one that can possibly destroy significant shareholder value. Local firms should consider how to manage and mitigate their greenwashing vulnerabilities.
KPMG professionals assist clients in fulfilling their purpose and achieving their ESG goals. We can work with you to enhance trust, mitigate risk and help unlock new value as you build a resilient business for a more sustainable future.
Find out more by contacting David Postlethwaite at firstname.lastname@example.org
Upskilling the whole organisation on the basics of ESG and greenwashing risk can provide stronger foundations on which to build a more robust approach
The shape of the world’s population is changing – So what do forthcoming demographic shifts mean for the future of wealth and the financial services sector?
IT’S BEEN DUBBED the Great Wealth Transfer. Over the next two decades, Baby Boomers are poised to hand over a sum estimated variously to be between $30trn and $85trn to successor demographic groups – including Generation X and Millennials – in what is being described as the greatest transfer of wealth in history.
Words: Alexander Garrett
Little surprise then that banks, financial advisers and those of every persuasion concerned with money are taking great interest in this shift of assets – and the implications for their business. Nowhere is that more so than in the wealth management sector, traditionally used by high-networth individuals and families to protect and nurture their wealth.
However, the shifting of assets from one generation to another isn’t quite as straightforward as might be expected. Millennials and younger
generations in particular have a different outlook on life – and that’s likely to make that transition trickier than the professionals advising them would like.
It is a factor that has certainly concentrated minds on the need to urgently engage with those who are going to be on the receiving end of all this largesse.
Furthermore, it is not the only demographic or attitudinal change that is focusing the minds of leaders across financial services – there are other shifts also driving their strategic thinking.
The big demographic trends in the developed world are well understood: falling birth rates, growing longevity and later pregnancies are all leading to ageing populations and an increasing imbalance between those of working age and those who are not economically productive – the so-called dependency ratio.
People are living to 100 and beyond, so that means the passing down of wealth is happening later
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But what does it mean for those who have substantial wealth either to impart or to inherit?
One clear effect is that the wealthy are handing their money over later in life, according to Karen Jones, Founder and Chief Executive of Citywealth.
“Thirty years ago, people would generally retire at around 60 and their children could expect to inherit in or around their fifties,” she says. “That’s all changed as we are now living longer and the generation with the money is unwilling to hand it over.”
The death of the Queen at 96 and Charles’ succession to the throne at the age of 73 symbolises that, she believes.
“The Queen was: ‘I’m not letting go of anything’. And many people in wealthy families are now thinking that by the time they inherit they are going to be too old to enjoy it,” she says.
According to Jones, that has led to a spate of litigation in the US, where those set to inherit have tried to wrest assets away from their parents during their lifetime on the grounds of mental capacity or similar.Sarah Bartram-Lora Reina, Trustee Director at Stonehage Fleming, points
that the prospect of delayed inheritance has forced many potential heirs to forge their own way.
“It’s a fact that people are living to 100 and beyond, so that means the passing down of wealth is happening later.
“We’ve seen an uptick of youngsters making their own way in life much earlier. The generation with the wealth will be inclined to hand over money for a sensible purpose, such as education or getting a foot on the property ladder, or possibly even to help set up a business. But they don’t want to just hand over everything.”
In any case, the younger generation that is set to inherit can’t be counted upon to think the same way as their parents and grandparents, who may be the ones that created wealth in the first place.
In the case of family businesses, they may not want to take over, and in some cases prefer to sell the business and convert the assets to an investment portfolio. It’s often cultural, says Jones.
Western world in general, it’s often the case that they don’t, and any expectations from parents are going to be very rudely disappointed.”
Bartram-Lora Reina says some younger generations from wealthy families go off on their own path and then come back to the family business when they are middle-aged – if it hasn’t been sold.
Where the family’s wealth is in the form of investments, generations such as Millennials are regarded as having very different values from their parents and grandparents, putting philanthropy much higher among their priorities.
“It’s not that the older generation didn’t care, it’s more that the younger generation have really helped push issues like ESG up the agenda,” says Bartram-Lora Reina.
“In Asia, the children are much more likely to want to take care of the businesses, but in the UK and US, and the
In some cases, they reject their inheritance altogether – or see it as a poisoned chalice. Abigail Disney, an heiress to the Walt Disney Company, is among those who have spoken out against the inheritance of vast wealth. As well as giving away north of $70m herself, she became a vocal champion of the Patriotic Millionaires movement, arguing for higher taxes for the super-rich.
In some cases, the younger generations reject their inheritance altogether – or see it as a poisoned chalice
What all this means is that, for those in the wealth management business, getting to grips with the younger generation in wealthy families, and enabling those who will inherit to really understand what is involved has become an urgent imperative. And that means encouraging younger members of the family to come along to meetings from an early age – even when they are still children.
“A lot of family offices and trust companies have set up some form of ‘next generation academy’, to help educate the young about issues such as investment,” says Bartram-Lora Reina.
There are other issues to consider too. Families have become much more dispersed around the globe, with the patriarch and matriarch often in one country and their children and grandchildren in other countries, where they might have moved for a better education or lifestyle.
At one time, that would have meant having only occasional face-to-face meetings when an individual was passing through a city, or even communicating in writing. Today, virtual meetings have transformed the ability of wealthy families to meet their advisers on a regular basis.
Advisers to the wealthy need to up their game, says Jones. “A lot of lawyers and accountants look at the money. But do they look at the resentments? Or how the family operates? Is it a fair distribution, and all this kind of stuff?” she asks.
“There needs to be more engagement with people on a personal level, a psychological level, before everything can be handled better,” adds Jones.
“One idea is to bring the corporate model into family offices, so you have teams dealing with issues like human
resources or ESG to try to make it better and more professionalised.”
The wealth is also increasingly in female hands – and that means traditionally maledominated wealth management can no longer function like an old boys’ network.
Of course, one area in which the younger generation, set to inherit, has a clear distinction and advantage over their older peers is in the realm of technology. At a most basic level, tech has introduced new levels of transparency to private wealth, which was often lacking in the past.
“When it comes to succession, in the past, people said: ‘I don’t really know how much the family is worth’,” explains Jones. “And now a lot of children just say: ‘I Googled it’. They see what they’re worth on a rich list, basically.”
The next generation that’s coming through has grown up with technology and can offer their families new ideas on how to invest and manage their wealth, says Bartram-Lora Reina.
“They are absolutely fine with virtual apps or digital assets, and they are more willing to experiment,” she explains.
One of the best reasons for bringing the young along to those family office meetings is for the contribution they can make to how things could be better run and the opportunities that are available. The Great Wealth Transfer is under way – and wealth managers had better keep up. n
wealth is increasingly in female hands – so traditionally maledominated wealth management can no longer function like an old boys’ network
ABRAHAM LINCOLN ONCE said: “The most reliable way to predict the future is to create it.” We are currently living through one of the most progressive periods of change in financial services since the introduction of computers, emails and the internet. For many, it may be the second time in their career they see such an upheaval as the future of finance is likely to be shaped by several trends and developments, many already under way.
The financial industry is becoming increasingly digitalised, with more financial services moving online and onto mobile platforms. This trend is expected to continue, with more services being delivered through digital channels, and customers demanding more personalised, convenient and secure ways to access financial services.
The impact of digitalisation can be seen more than ever in banking. With customers able to transfer the value of their accounts in seconds from anywhere in the world, it is not surprising how quickly we have seen banks in the US get into liquidity issues.
The development of blockchain and distributed ledger technology will accelerate the digitalisation of the finance industry. They have the potential to revolutionise many areas of finance, including payments, settlement, and trading. They could also enable new forms of decentralised finance and facilitate more efficient and transparent financial transactions.
The development of blockchain technology has the potential to continue the evolution of trading. Just as physical share certificates were replaced by digital share registers, the next stage could be the tokenisation of shares, allowing single shares to be split and fractionally traded.
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are becoming increasingly important for investors and financial institutions, with more focus on sustainable investing, green bonds and other ESG-
related financial products. A focus on ESG is likely to hold greater weight with future investors. As consumer preferences and behaviours change, funds will be redirected as a new generation of investors seek to align their investment choices with their social and environmental values and fund managers adapt their investment strategy to meet this new demand.
Regulation will continue to play a key role in the future of financial services as it is shaped by new technologies and strikes a balance between protecting consumers and the financial system while encouraging innovation.
One such innovation is the implementation of Open Banking, or Open Bank Data, which allows customers to share their financial data with thirdparty providers such as other financial institutions. This trend is expected to continue, with more banks and financial institutions opening their application programming interfaces (APIs) to enable greater competition and innovation in financial services.
The rise of Open Banking has the potential to reshape the banking industry as it decentralises customer data and creates a secure network where information can be shared.
As the future of financial services will be shaped by technology, cybersecurity will be of paramount importance.
With more financial transactions taking place online and the rise of digital currencies, the risk of cyberattacks and data breaches is growing. Cybersecurity
Ventures’ 2022 Official Cybercrime Report said the annual cost of cybercrime is predicted to reach $8trn in 2023. As cyber threats become more sophisticated, companies will have to respond by investing in robust cybersecurity measures to protect their customers and the financial system as a whole.
Global threats have increased exponentially since the breakdown in relations between the West and the East – not least as we have seen the rise of next-generation technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
AI is already being used to analyse data, detect fraud and automate many financial processes. As AI and machine learning become more sophisticated, it will enable even greater automation and personalisation of financial services.
The recent breakthrough in chatbots such as ChatGPT has demonstrated the advancement in the field. As private companies and governments seek to utilise AI, businesses are investing vast amounts of capital into furthering the field, such as Microsoft’s $10bn investment in OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT.
What does it mean for you as customers?
The future of financial services will usher in a new age of convenience for customers – the development of blockchain technology will allow investments to transact immediately and show investment positions in real-time.
Open Banking will create a network of information that will allow the customer to move between providers and make financial services institutions more competitive.
However, the most significant development in the future of financial services will be the implementation of AI and machine learning.
Machine learning is predicted to replace many back-office and administrative functions within the service sector.
The implementation of AI is already being used to analyse investment data, evaluate technical patterns and monitor risk. As we continue to create the future, it is important to remember that every innovation creates a new opportunity, with technology helping to create a safer financial system and improve financial services. n
IN APRIL, INVESTEC Wealth and Investments merged with Rathbones Group to create a £100bn discretionary wealth management giant. The deal is part of a wider trend towards consolidation across the increasingly competitive wealth management sector, as it tries to keep pace with complex investor demands in relentlessly challenging markets.
The sector, like many others, is also under pressure to keep pace with technological change, particularly when delivering the level of digitisation expected by the next generation of investors.
The 2023 EY Global Wealth Research report found that high-quality digital experiences are “a minimum client expectation” and especially important to younger investors. Some 32% of Millennials now identify this as an “important driver of wealth manager choice”, second only to a good performance track record (34%).
Investec says its merger with Rathbones means it can “leverage investment in technology and operating model to deliver an optimal client experience whilst improving operating efficiency across the larger combined business”.
Mike Lee, Global Leader, Wealth and Asset Management at EY, says: “Wealth managers, like their clients, are facing a complex and uncertain world. Economic and geopolitical instability is heightened, investment strategies are evolving at pace and industry practices are being rapidly transformed by technology.”
This is exemplified by UBS, which has “leveraged technology as a differentiator
through simplification and automation”, removing around 39,000 legacy technology components and decommissioning more than 600 applications in an effort to modernise its technology estate.
Robert Broughton, Executive Director, Senior Client Adviser, at UBS, says: “As part of our approximately $1.1bn cumulative gross cost savings aspiration, we expect our technology strategy to help us achieve $200m in gross cost savings for 2023, which we intend to reinvest.”
Part of that reinvestment has been on digital tools for advisers. Broughton says this means the bank can spend more time
Digital-first and hybrid propositions will gain popularity, and wealth managers who are not preparing for this change will fall behind
Amid the rapid transfer of wealth and the growing influence of digital platforms, how do wealth managers stay relevant and attract and retain clients with changing needs?
with clients and better evaluate the full scope of their financial lives.
“A key element is what we call our chief investment officer-led value chain. The CIOs research is just the impetus, the starting point to what follows, which is to take information and data, map it to the individual clients, to their portfolios, come up with recommendations and opportunities for our clients, then put it in front of them and make it easy for them to execute,” Broughton explains.
The global pandemic has proved to be a major motivator to digitise. EY’s research found that pre-Covid-19, just 12% of clients identified virtual consultations as their preferred channel for advice. This figure now stands at 46%.
Lee says that this “creates a valuable opportunity for wealth managers to build on existing use of chat apps and video calls to provide the human touch remotely – and at lower cost”.
A 2022 study from Deloitte found that 75% of wealth executives expect digital interaction to have become the norm by next year.
Nearly nine out of 10 (89%) of investors say their preferred channel for all engagement will be mobile apps, a development the consultancy says “will require a significant enhancement of the existing read-only web portals that many managers provide as their current digital solution to clients”.
Christian Edelmann, Managing Partner, Europe, at Oliver Wyman, says the wealth industry is preparing to move to the next stage of evolution – he calls it “wealth management 3.0”.
He argues that technology has evolved to where it can deliver personalised digital products and services that not only serve lower-wealth segments but also provide a smooth digital – omnichannel – experience to all clients.
Edelmann says: “Advisers are ageing out, and investors want to transact differently. Digital-first and hybrid propositions will gain popularity across all client segments. Wealth managers who are not preparing for this change will fall behind.”
Keeping up with the march to digital may be a business imperative for today’s wealth managers, but clients continue to expect the personal touch and still value human interactions.
EY’s study found that virtual advice is less effective during the onboarding phase, when clients seem to prefer fully in-person or fully digital, self-directed, processes. When opening an account, almost half (48%) of clients prefer to do so in person, while 44% prefer human support when building or maintaining their financial plan.
Further, more than three-quarters (76%) of clients value access to market experts –such as industry analysts or teams focused on macroeconomic research – when taking advice at key planning milestones. And 72% want advisers to have a good understanding of their goals and values to inform product selection.
Providing the personal touch effectively means that wealth managers will need to ensure they manage to attract and retain the best talent. As Broughton points out:
“To stay competitive, we need to deepen and broaden the succession pipeline by building a strong bench of future leaders across the firm.”
To achieve this, UBS provides targeted development frameworks to build specific capabilities and foster the growth of junior talent; increase focus on early identification of the future; and hire talent to close capability gaps and “ensure a strong back bench to run a sustainable franchise”.
Broughton adds: “We are simplifying the mandatory learning landscape to provide employees with a more targeted and overall improved learning experience.
“In doing so, we are improving efficiency across the organisation and allowing staff to focus on key value-add tasks, while ensuring all regulatory and risk requirements are being met.”
At Standard Chartered Jersey, which has had an office on the island for more than 45 years running customer deposits and investments of more than $9bn, the emphasis is also on nurturing talent.
Henry Baye, Chief Executive of Standard Chartered Bank in Jersey, says: “It’s important to understand what employees are looking for in work. There are a few broad areas that today’s workforce is very interested in which wasn’t such a big topic
Wealth management firms need to adapt to employees who demand flexible working
10 years ago, and I put it all under the umbrella of employees seeking to achieve a wholesome life.”
Baye explains that wealth management firms need to adapt to employees who demand flexible working and provide an environment that looks after their workforce’s overall wellbeing, fosters diversity and inclusion, and incorporates a focus on sustainability.
“People have become extremely interested in what we’re doing to the environment and the subject of sustainability. Even when they are looking for a job, they consider the company’s ESG credentials in addition to its flexible working arrangements,” Baye says.
Looking beyond pay and benefits, Standard Chartered has focused on its employees’ working environment, building a new office that Baye says is conducive to a relaxed environment that promotes collaboration.
“When you come into our office building, parts of it look like you are sitting in a pub or an airport lounge. There is a lot of art on the walls and people can really feel at home, which encourages them to collaborate,” he says.
Measuring the efficacy of such peoplefocused initiatives is not easy – but it is imperative if wealth managers are to justify what can amount to a considerable investment.
Baye says conducting staff surveys is essential to understanding happiness among Standard Chartered’s workforce.
“We ask ‘how much longer do you intend to stay with the bank?’ and ‘would you recommend the bank as a place of work?’. And then we ask why. In those questions, you get rich insights that can inform your people strategy.”
Returning to the importance of digital capability, Baye says the firm has automated certain workflows, which makes it easier to measure productivity.
“The digital tools we introduced for staff – known as staff-assisted channels –
make it very easy to measure productivity because you can tell how many transactions they made and how much time we are saving,” Baye explains.
Analysis of industry data by behavioural finance specialist Oxford Risk, published in April, reveals that the combined value of assets under management of UK wealth managers acquired in 2022 was £137bn –the figure for 2021 was £87bn.
It expects the consolidation trend to continue. As such, the wealth management sector is facing huge disruption from the growth of potential new customers, new delivery models and increased regulation.
Reconciling these competing imperatives while safeguarding profitability will be an increasing challenge for wealth managers.
As EY’s Lee says: “Wealth managers need clear strategies to transform their infrastructure, reducing per-client costs while achieving stronger differentiation through tech-enabled, human-led insights and value-added engagement.”
But for Baye, this just means bigger chances to grow. “I don’t think we have even scratched the surface of our wealth management opportunity. We are constantly developing new products and building our advisory capability.
“We have the hunger to keep growing and move into new markets, and the combination of technology and human expertise will drive us on.” n
Wealth managers need clear strategies to transform their infrastructure, reducing per-client costs while achieving stronger differentiation
EWG IS A fast-growing player in the rapidly evolving fintech payments sector, delivering an innovative and cost-effective, digital by default alternative to the traditional banking system.
We launched in 2011 with the aim of delivering a service no traditional competitor can match.
We are embarking on an ambitious programme of innovation and scaling, which has enabled us to grow in both size and sophistication, making it possible for us to deliver the service that our clients need in order to best serve their own global client bases – last year we processed transactions in excess of £2.5bn, a year-onyear growth of 40%.
We know that partnership is central to every client relationship; and delivering service beyond expectations is our aim. But to achieve the levels of growth we have in the current climate, and at a rate that meets the needs of our clients’ evolving businesses, we have turned to a wide range of partners to expand the capabilities of the EWG platform.
While we understand the needs of our clients and opportunities for innovation, this is very much a team effort. We have brought together some leading practitioners and suppliers from across the local digital sector. This collaborative approach has enabled us to ignite our growth through the use of APIs and mobile applications which reduce the transactional friction of a desktop-based world – the result is a win-win for our clients.
We also recognise that the success of the business depends on the people who keep it moving. When I joined the EWG team I brought with me a decade of regulatory innovation and a strong understanding of enterprise systems and security design. My experience of the AWS cloud-based technologies, which are at the heart of our platform – gained from my time working within the team at AWS –provides EWG with a unique perspective from which to collaborate with our partners to pivot technologies into value amplifiers.
Success comes from bringing together the best skills and capabilities in a collaborative environment, rather than
trying to do everything ourselves. Our wider team reads like a ‘who’s who’ of local digital specialists.
• Magellan Consultancy provides EWG with project management services, support on process optimisation and QA, under the watchful eye of David Brown.
• Yozobi provides our core AWS platform to deliver the client-facing application and transactional processing, with new features every month.
• XRM Architects has been working to create our CRM system, which in turn provides a single execution point for the EWG in-house team to undertake compliance and customer service activities, maintaining the high standards of service our clients expect and deserve.
• Vaiie, specialists in onboarding and due diligence, provides services directly integrated into the core of our systems.
• Continuum provides analytics tools and development to ensure regulatory reporting and monitoring data is available in near real-time and provide reporting access to our platform for any client, no matter their infrastructure choices.
So, what are the results of this collaborative approach?
• Architecture – By leveraging a hybrid cloud approach, bringing the AWS core platform and Microsoft CRM business process and customer service together, we have been able to develop the strongest foundation for our platform, which enables it to communicate securely and seamlessly with the in-house software that our clients already have in place.
• Innovation – We understand how to pivot existing, new and emerging technologies to create features that reduce the operational friction between our clients and their transactions, allowing advanced technologies to support the heavy lifting and allowing their skilled resources to focus on key risk decision making. We
provide options to our clients in how they do their business, be it through our client app, API or soon to be launched connector suite. With growing service options including Open Banking, we also provide the best transactional capabilities from our Banking-As-A-Service partner Currencycloud, a Visa Solution.
Why do you need to know this?
We have found the formula (or recipe, if you wish) for success. Our clients know that we will continue to rapidly innovate and scale through seamless collaboration with the best partners to make adoption as easy as possible. We deliver a product and a service that delights and exceeds expectations because we understand what clients need most from a trusted digital banking partner and because we know how to listen and how to work as part of a team. By partnering with us clients gain access to our industry leading payment and reporting capabilities, and all with quicker setup, lower cost and easier integration than any alternative. n
EWG’s innovative, digital-by-default alternative to traditional banking provides international payment solutions and multi-currency account management services with competitive fees, 24-hour onboarding* and responsive client service; we understand what clients need most from a trusted digital banking partner. Access your account securely, anytime, anywhere through the EWG App or integrate your business systems with the EWG API, which enables third-party business software to communicate with us and share data securely and in real time; the tech backbone of our cross-border payment engine. We can solve your banking challenges and help you work more effectively. EWG now services more than 200 jurisdictions.
For further details, contact Denis Philippe, CTO, EWG
Tel: 01534 608022
EWG is a member of Digital Jersey.
*subject to compliance
As corporate treasuries embrace digital technologies to help boost efficiency and enhance client experience, we speak to Benjamin Sykes, Head of Global Payments Solutions, UK and International, HSBC, and Paul Fosse, Group Head of Banking and Treasury, JTC, about the benefits of adopting virtual account solutions
CORPORATE TREASURERS WERE already facing a multitude of challenges as treasuries transition from a cost centre to a key part of corporate strategy and revenue potential. The role of the treasurer has evolved from cash management to encompass risk management and business strategy, growing in complexity and importance.
Now, treasurers are faced with the additional pressures of a difficult economic climate, where cost savings and efficiencies are imperative.
Payments are an industry-wide challenge in professional services, as they are in all other organisations with multiple clients, such as law firms or estate agents.
Any company that deals with large numbers of payments coming from multiple sources must deal with all the different banking providers of their
clients, duplication of time and effort, cost inefficiencies and multiple timeconsuming processes. So, to address challenges such as these – and in an attempt to do more with less – treasurers are turning to digital solutions.
What are some of the key priorities for corporate treasuries today?
Benjamin Sykes: In the current environment, every organisation is looking at how they can improve productivity, and investment in digital is a fundamental way in which this can be achieved. But from a more practical sense, regardless of the scale of your organisation, most firms are looking at how they can do more with less. And clients are expecting workflows to happen digitally, end-to-end. So, having technological tools that enable your workforce is more and more important.
Paul Fosse: What we’re looking to do is leverage tech to reduce common issues for client-facing teams, removing their admin burden so they can focus on their clients. We knew that if we got our banking strategy right, it would allow us to turn our attention on client-focused cash management and FX solutions.
Benjamin Sykes: When adopting new technologies, organisations need to be addressing pain points on multiple fronts. It is not enough to only cut costs or to introduce incremental efficiencies, businesses are seeking solutions that also enhance customer experience and help make the company as a whole more commercially successful.
What are virtual accounts?
Benjamin Sykes: Virtual accounts allow companies to have as many accounts as
they need to organise their cashflow – all centralised through one physical account. They can help to streamline structures, offering a solution that is flexible, centrally accessible and integrated. They are something akin to a drawer in a virtual filing cabinet. Where once that drawer was filled with all the payments from all clients jumbled together, virtual accounts provide dividers to organise that drawer in a system that works for you.
Payments, receivables and liquidity solutions can be interconnected through centralised transaction processing. And virtual accounts can be opened and closed quickly and easily.
How could virtual accounts provide an important solution to the challenges around processing multiple payments?
Benjamin Sykes: Previously, accounts were based on function or organised for recordkeeping, with each bank account requiring time and effort to open or close.
But virtual accounts can give every single client a virtual IBAN to pay into, keeping all those records separate, which is a very laborious thing to do manually. When cash needs to be deployed, you know exactly where it comes from, so it’s much easier to reconcile.
Compared with a physical account, a virtual account can be opened or closed almost immediately, offering flexible scalability. You can have 10 virtual accounts or you can have thousands.
Paul Fosse: There are times we may want to give each client a separate virtual account, and keep payments segregated from the company’s main account, and each other.
Virtual accounts have reduced our account opening to a few hours on the same business day when compared with that of opening traditional bank accounts – it’s a 92% reduction in processing time. A digital stratergy also sees a 75% reduction in payment processing time and up to a 90% reduction in error rates.
It allows us to bank in a really efficient manner, pooling client funds while keeping them segregated achieves real value adds, such as instant cash pooling to achieve better rates and risk diversification management for our clients.
Why did you partner with HSBC when adopting a virtual accounts solution?
Paul Fosse: The word partner is used too often, and it starts to not mean much, but this was done in a true partnership style. HSBC and JTC have worked through our approach and procedures together, it’s been shoulder-to-shoulder the whole time.
They looked at our technology roadmap and understood that a key driver to be able to offer value-adding services to our underlying clients is ensuring that our payment and receipt processes are robust and efficient.
We take pride in every payment that we make on behalf of our clients as we like to build strong relationships with our clients to enable them to focus on their core businesses while we manage risk, protect assets, spot opportunities on their behalf all efficiently and in a cost effective way.
It’s been a really exciting journey, collaborating with our clients, risk, legal teams, external partners and HSBC to create this virtual solution we can offer to our clients. n
Virtual accounts have reduced our account opening to a few hours on the same business day compared with that of opening traditional bank accounts
every organisation is looking at how they can improve productivity. but regardless of their scale, most firms are looking at how they can do more with less
BANKING IS AT a crossroads. After years of speculation about the impact that fintechs might have on the sector, digital challenger banks and other tech-driven changes are now a real and genuine threat to the heavyweight traditional providers as they grapple with legacy systems and a culture where customer expectations have not been front and centre of the product and services offering.
So how can the former market-leading banks realign themselves with customers – to compete with the tech giants, startups and non-banks that are positioning themselves to steal their lunch?
Or is it already too late for them to make the changes necessary to protect and grow their market share?
Andrew Stevens, Banking and Financial Services Principal at Quadient, which advises organisations on their customer interactions, believes the onus is firmly on the traditional players to reconnect with their customers.
“The relationship used to be everything. You had your paying-in book, you walked in, you spoke to human beings, you got things updated. There was very much a physical connection that’s been lost in the drive to being digital,” he explains.
“I would say that’s been lost because there’s an assumption that when you are digital you are all one person. Because everyone uses Netflix the same way, there is this perception that everybody is at the same level of maturity, has the same needs and the same desires for the future.”
Stevens adds: “In banking that’s very different. Banks need to find a way of reconnecting by forming relationships that aren’t face to face, but which still add that same level of value in a digital space.
“The risk is they end up with a ‘one size fits all’ approach, which actually means ‘one size fits nobody’.”
He points out that moving to a digital platform has sometimes been viewed as an effective way of closing branches, but banks will not retain their customers by implementing money-saving measures.
“The traditional banks have customers of all sorts already, whereas those newer organisations have got it much easier – they didn’t suddenly pivot to something very different that a lot of customers weren’t comfortable with.
“The legacy banks need to open their eyes to a different way of working to remain relevant and stop becoming a lost cause,” he adds.
Alexandra McInnes, Managing Director at the Guernsey branch of Julius Baer, says: “It’s about having a clear strategy on how to use technology to achieve the bank’s ambition.
“There’s no question that what clients experience in big tech apps has become the new baseline for their expectations for a bank, and we need to gain inspiration from ▼
Traditional banking will become a lost cause unless the sector can embrace a smarter, customer-driven ethos
them. It’s important for us to keep an open mind around technology and new ways of working; to enhance the way customers are advised and prepare for changes in how customers want to be advised in the future.
“We need to continually assess technologies and be willing to adopt them when they become relevant to the business.”
There are a number of ways to create eco systems that fulfil customer needs.
“Banks should be steering client portfolios towards sustainable topics or themes that are important to the client, such as climate or nature capital, ensuring a minimum level of ESG quality consistently,” says McInnes.
“They could be encouraged to only use data that can be traced back to specific sources, avoiding data that relies too heavily on estimations and assumptions,” she adds. “Only through transparency can they gain credibility.”
Stevens maintains that banks should take on a “customer first” mentality, rather than being revenue first with a “customer-facing gloss”. He continues: “The competition
they are facing is focused less on profit as a driver and more on customer experience as a driver, with profit as the reward. That’s the big change that they are going to have to make.”
“If you get the experience right, you can get organisations to the point where customers love them, are fans of them and feel like there’s a valuable relationship there that is not just transactional.
“It’s not done in the same way that you used to do it, which was: ‘How little money can we get away with investing here to generate a large amount of return?’.”
One route to this is to look at banks’ data-farming capabilities, Stevens adds.
“Banks are brilliant at data – in fact, almost too brilliant at it. They have data that’s unaligned. Quite often it’s duplicated and often it’s not synchronised, but there’s a massive amount of data.
“Traditionally, banks used that data for their own benefit. But they’ve got to flip that on its head. We have got to find a way of using it to benefit the customer. Something I’ve valued for a long time is to actually start helping customers. You
banks should take on a ‘customer first’ mentality, rather than being revenue first with a customerfacing gloss
need to build that trust with them – you are building the love for that organisation because they will go home and say: ‘I just had a strange experience with the bank – they just helped me and I’m not used to this’.”
McInnes agrees with this. “A strong digital strategy will enable banks to compete and keep customers by improving accuracy and speeding up processes,” he says. “Tech has a much bigger role to play in helping wealth managers understand more diverse groups of customers through analytics – and that can help to shed light on their behaviours, preferences and search criteria.”
But can the banks move fast enough, or is it already too late to change? Stevens believes that the FCA’s consumer duty regulations could help them.
“You don’t put a law in place unless there’s a problem and they are the first regulations in the UK that have forced an organisation to be customer first, to think about good, positive, fair customer outcomes,” he says.
Moving forward, McInnes is setting her sights on technology and a less riskaverse approach. “We are all trying to best leverage new technologies, such as generative AI,” she explains. “But our industry must grapple with its limits as much as its opportunities if we are going to continue to engage the hearts and
minds of a new generation who are more socially conscious.
“It’s necessary to embrace innovation and technology, to take risks and accept failures,” McInnes adds.
“While physical resources will be pumped into digital enhancement, developing AI tools and data-led initiatives, the toughest fight is emotional. Our duty is to encourage the education and awareness of clients but also employees to encourage and support the change.”
So, if the banks can harness the opportunities that undoubtedly exist, what will their future products look like?
Stevens says: “We used to have things like offset mortgages, where the amount of interest you paid would not just be dependent on the mortgage but on the amount of savings you had elsewhere within the organisation. I can see that coming back, where the concept of the customer becomes more important than the account.”
“If we look at where other industries and organisations are leveraging technology and investing in AI, I think the wealth management industry will learn a lot. Opportunities could occur in cloud adoption, generative AI, blockchain and data analytics,” suggests McInnes.
“But time will tell, with the digital landscape constantly changing, and private banks need to make sure they are keeping up with the trends – focused on offering their clients the best service possible.” n
While physical resources will be pumped into digital enhancement, AI tools and data-led initiatives, the toughest fight is emotional
I first joined Deloitte as an Associate 20 years ago in September. Since then, I’ve progressed through the company and I’m now a Director in the Jersey tax team.
My work is predominately based in Jersey, but I also work closely with teams across the UK, Guernsey and further afield, including the US.
One of the many reasons I’ve stayed with the firm for so long is the team. The office has a lovely atmosphere and it’s a really nice place to work. I feel that the people around me have got my back, and I feel very lucky to be surrounded by colleagues who are very talented and I enjoy spending time with.
I also genuinely feel supported by Deloitte. They really walk the walk when it comes to progression and also time away from the office.
After I returned from maternity leave, I decided to work part-time for a while, and it was completely accepted that it was the right thing to do. Even now, I work flexible hours, and the firm and my colleagues have always been supportive.
What does your role entail?
My specialisms are corporate and international tax, but I work across the entire tax team.
I like the fact that I can do 20 different things in a day, and they will be all different aspects of taxation. It’s not just compliance; I could be sorting international tax work, signing off a personal or corporate tax return or reviewing GST (goods and services tax) advice.
As part of my work on international tax, I look at how OECD or EU policies might be reflected in legislation and at Jersey’s response to these. This includes how government takes steps politically to do the right thing for the island while also fulfilling its international obligations.
I find it interesting to see what is being put into legislation and the political ramifications behind that. I started focusing on OECD and EU policies in 2012/13, when the OECD started looking at their BEPS (base erosion and project shifting) project. In a nutshell, it aims to ensure the right tax is paid in the right place.
It’s great to work with Jo Huxtable,
a Partner in the Guernsey office, on international tax. We bounce ideas off each other. I don’t just look at the OECD from a Jersey perspective, but from a Channel Islands standpoint as well.
That’s very typical of Deloitte’s approach; we integrate with teams based in the UK as well, which means we can offer our clients an incredible breadth and depth of expertise and experience.
Recently, I’ve been working on how the OECD’s pillar two could be introduced in Jersey and what that might mean for our clients. It’s really interesting and has been nice to work on something technical that isn’t necessarily my day-to-day job.
I do a lot of corporate work with Rupert Lee and Chris Allo daily, assisting our
clients from a compliance perspective, but also with tax advisory matters.
This involves lots of reading legislation, and we have a number of conversations about how to interpret and apply specific aspects of the law.
I also work closely with Miranda Smith, covering the personal and business tax aspects of privately owned enterprises.
What other activities or committees are you part of?
I work closely with Martin Rowley on the Jersey tax go-to-market strategy, operational issues and the smooth running of the Jersey tax team in general.
As part of this, I lead our director and associate director team, which focuses on encouraging a wider group of senior team members to invest in the running of our business.
It is great to see this group of people, many of whom I’ve known since they joined as graduates, really take ownership for the ongoing success of our team.
I’m a Deloitte mental health first-aider and a mental health champion.
I also sit on our local Channel Islands wellbeing team and our Thrive team, which is the tax and legal UK-wide wellbeing team. It’s nice to create a bridge between Jersey and the UK in this area.
As part of the wider Jersey financial services community, I sit on the Jersey Society of Chartered and Certified Accountants tax sub-committee. We discuss the wider implications of tax legislation, policies and guidance being introduced, including technical discussions around how these can impact the marketplace.
Outside of work, I play the flute in La Ronde Concert Band, which is set up as a local charity. I joined after I finished my studying at Deloitte and really enjoy spending time with people who have broader jobs in the Jersey community. It helps me maintain a wider perspective on the island.
Contact Katy Wintle, TaxDirector,
Deloitte at email@example.com
I’ve been working on how the OECD’s pillar two could be introduced in Jersey and what that might mean for our clients
Offering flexible working used to be a valuable tool in the armoury for many financial services firms looking to attract the best staff. But post-Covid everyone’s at it. So how can the sector find a competitive advantage to attract talent in the new world?
WOOF WEDNESDAYS WILL never be the same at Jersey-based Fairway Group. Pre-Covid, the opportunity for staff to bring their dogs into work for the day was lapped up by humans and canines alike.
“It was always a real talking point,” says Matt Ebbrell, Chief Operating Officer at Fairway. “We would be doing job interviews and candidates would see these dogs walking through the office and just be amazed.
“You would spend 20 minutes talking about it in the interview. We still have that day, but it is no longer a groundbreaking thing to do. A lot of firms now do this or something similar.”
Alongside bringing your French Bulldog or Fox Terrier to the office, remote and hybrid working practices have also, understandably, become the ‘norm’ across the sector post-pandemic.
Nearly half of UK firms now offer hybrid working – some days in the office and others at home – with only a third working fully on site.
According to the Candidate Experience Report by Greenhouse, flexible working remains a huge pull for existing and potential employees who want more from their career. Indeed, three-quarters of employees would actively look for a new job if their company’s flexible policies were to be reversed.
The issue is that the new ubiquitousness of flexible working – and flexible practices such as bring-your-dog-to-work days –makes it harder, not easier, to differentiate your business when trying to attract talent to the workplace.
“The bar is ever raising,” says Ebbrell. “Three years ago, the idea of flexible working, four-day weeks and compressed
hours would have sounded quite progressive. But now, it is arguably the norm. Firms need to constantly reset in terms of what they are offering to gain a competitive advantage when it comes to talent.”
Ebbrell adds that the issue of finding a competitive advantage is particularly pertinent at present, given a difficult recruitment market and changing employee expectations.
“The recruitment market is just so difficult, particularly at the administrator level. I have never seen anything like it,” he says. “There has definitely been an increase in the amount of people resigning from financial services to go and do something completely different or just jumping from one firm to another.”
People are also increasingly assessing their relationship with work and whether their employers are a good fit with their personal values, he adds.
A strong focus on a company’s culture – “winning the hearts and minds of teams and shared values” – is now one of the main competitive recruitment and retention differentiators going forward.
“You have to show that an employer generally cares about their staff. Work/ life balance isn’t a new concept, but it is something that employers continually get wrong,” Ebbrell says.
“We are an owner-manager, consciously independent firm that generally promotes [work/life balance]. Yes, our people work hard, but we don’t want them tied to their desks at 6pm. We want them out the door to spend time with their families.
“We also want them to come to work and be themselves, to have autonomy and input into decisions. These are big differentiators.”
Another way of looking after existing and new talent is offering them more learning and development opportunities.
“As part of our people and culture strategy, one of the core pillars is personal growth, training and development,” Ebbrell says. “Not everyone wants that – so we ensure that it is there and appropriately targeted. Pay is also a motivator of course, but it can’t be seen in isolation.”
Ebbrell says he has also seen an increase in the number of candidates asking questions about an organisation’s values since Covid-19.
“More people are assessing their relationship with work and whether that relationship is a healthy one. Is the workplace a match and a fit with their personal values?” he states. “They’re asking: ‘What are our values? What do we do to reinforce those values? What is our approach to corporate social responsibility or environment, society and governance?’
“They want us to give bona fide examples of what we are doing sustainably, ethically and in the community.”
As a result, Fairway has developed a culture booklet, which it gives to staff, outlining its values, examples that reinforce these, and ‘derailing’ behaviours that nobody wants to see in the office. “They see exactly what kind of organisation we are,” he explains.
Culture and values are also high on the list for Matt Horton, Group Head of Private Equity at Aztec Group. “Increasingly, we’re seeing that candidates are attracted to companies that prioritise a positive workplace culture and personal growth opportunities,” he says.
“We focus on creating an inclusive and supportive environment where our people can truly contribute and feel that their
values align with that of the business. We have a robust volunteering policy that allows everyone to take paid leave to contribute to charitable causes and give back to their communities.
“Our secondment programmes also provide valuable experience to live and work in different locations, which younger recruits find particularly appealing,” Horton adds. “We currently have a number of Channel Island employees expanding their horizons for a year or two in the US, Luxembourg and the UK.”
Aztec highlights its AztecFest event. In 2022, it held its first AztecFest since the pandemic, when it flew more than 1,200
of its staff to Barcelona for three days of learning, team building and celebration for its 21st anniversary.
“Getting as many of our people from all nine offices across the world together to meet face to face is something that really sets us apart from our competitors in terms of attracting talent and supporting collaboration across our jurisdictions,” Horton says.
“From one-off cost-of-living payments to generous pension packages, these are just a few of the ways we believe we can better take care of our people at work and when they log off at the end of the day.”
Mike Edward, Chief People Officer at Crestbridge, believes focusing on employees’ mental health and wellbeing can also help employers differentiate themselves from others.
“One of the big things that people value is time away from work,” he says. “Post-pandemic, we rebranded our dependent days – when you could take days off in addition to your annual leave to look after your kids or elderly parents –as ‘wellness days’.
“So now, everyone in the business can take up to three days to focus on themselves and their family, maybe through a spa day or volunteering.
“We also have wellness hours, when at certain periods of the year staff can leave work early to hit the beach or go Christmas shopping. These are massively impactful and appreciated by staff.”
More people are assessing their relationship with work and whether that relationship is a healthy one
Horton adds that candidates are also increasingly being attracted to companies that prioritise innovation.
“We are creating our workplaces of the future – revamping our physical workspaces to encourage innovation, collaboration, teamwork and creativity.
“For example, our new office in Jersey’s IFC6 development and the plans we have to refurbish our Guernsey office will offer modern amenities, breakout areas and communal spaces.
“We also look to leverage digital tools for seamless teamwork across different locations,” Horton says. “As an increasingly global business, this is essential for us as we continue to grow.”
He stresses that flexible and remote working remain key benefits for employees and can again be important differentiators if they evolve.
“We saw the pandemic as an opportunity to rethink how our people experience work. We responded by evolving our framework to ensure everyone has access to flexible hours and the opportunity to work from home.
“This way, they can find a rhythm that suits their specific needs and effectively balance their personal and professional lives,” he says.
“On top of flexible working, we’ve expanded our policy to allow our people to work remotely from anywhere in the world for up to three weeks a year.”
Fairway’s Ebbrell says that despite the appeal of remote working, he is also finding that a growing number of people are preferring to return to the office for more human interaction.
“Some firms offer mandatory ‘work from home’ days. That isn’t going to work for every individual,” he says. “You have to match your offer to individual needs.”
And, also, the needs of regulators it seems. “While remote working is here to stay, it’s important to consider regulatory requirements and tax implications that may limit its feasibility for many businesses,” Horton adds.
Edward believes companies can also do more to promote their myriad of employee benefits to new recruits.
“We have created a ‘See what you are missing’ advertising campaign, where we talk about all that we offer, from a healthy lifestyle to healthcare and fruit in the office,” he says.
“Combining all the benefits to demonstrate that we have all these things together, as well as benefits for all age groups, helps us stand out.”
Another of Crestbridge’s key changes is to focus more on neurodiversity when recruiting. “We thought hard about how we bring people into the business,” says Edward. “It’s not just the questions we ask but how we ask them and the environment we interview people in.
“We need to understand better how people like to be interviewed, such as the right lighting or environment. Maybe someone is uncomfortable in small or open spaces. We can be flexible to get the right candidate.”
Fairway is also looking at different pools of talent. “Neurodiversity has been slowly
getting into the consciousness of boards over the past 18 months,” says Ebbrell.
“We’ve talked more about it, but as an island we are playing catch-up with the UK on the diversity front. It used to be about gender and race, but now it is about looking for people with a broader range of skill sets and thought patterns. These different perspectives are good for the business.”
Fairway has started recruiting people from different backgrounds – from the retail and grocery sectors, for example, or at different levels of education, including school leavers.
“We have also looked at different jurisdictions to find talent,” he says. “Many of these people have not worked in financial services before, which brings a different way of looking at things.”
For Edward, that is vital for all financial services companies. “It’s an employee market and employers have to respond quickly,” he says. “The world has changed, and people will look to move on every three or four years. But as an employer, if you treat people with respect and compassion, it may be a case of ‘see you again later’, rather than goodbye.” n
Despite the appeal of remote working, a growing number of people are preferring to return to the office for human interaction
DATA HAS BECOME intrinsic to our everyday lives and it is everywhere; in our businesses, our homes and our communication. The need for your data to be accessible and ‘just work’ has never been more important, particularly in terms of productivity, speedy access, and processing business information.
Traditional methods of data analysis used to provide the intelligence and insight needed for informed decision-making. And, while this is still the case, we’re seeing a shift in emphasis from business intelligence (BI) to artificial intelligence (AI) led thinking, as organisations look towards technology for more efficient solutions.
So, how can you get the most from your data? Talent shortages are impacting areas including customer service, sales development and the generation of incremental revenue. But the answer is simple: a solid and cohesive data strategy.
A data strategy is a time-defined plan or roadmap that identifies the technology, human resources and compliance needed to manage a company’s IT and operations.
All organisations collect large amounts of data, but to use that data to boost efficient working and productivity requires a strategy that outlines a process for managing, storing and using data effectively to improve all aspects of the business in the short and longer term.
A solid strategy enables organisations to become competitive and innovative in a world of relentless change. By taking action on the trends and behaviours in business, data can drive operational efficiency, enable speedier decision-making, and improve bottom line performance. It also helps make sure your data and processes are aligned with your business goals, in a competitive and changing digital economy.
Research by Gartner and Forbes has found that organisations with a data strategy are more likely to be successful in digital transformation initiatives. And by utilising their data, they improve workforce productivity, make better decisions and gain competitive advantage.
Companies that choose not to employ a data strategy are more likely to struggle with operational efficiency, data quality, governance and security. If your data isn’t stored correctly, this could lead to ineffective customer support, weak decision-making and sub-optimal protection, leaving your organisation vulnerable to security breaches.
Legacy systems and digital transformation to cloud services mean most organisations have experienced challenges with accessibility, as data is stored in different places. This can lead to a lack of information-sharing between departments and uncertainty around data policies. A data strategy allows companies to formalise the way they work with their IT, with guidelines in place to make the relevant information accessible.
A strategy allows you to use all the data gathered to anticipate market trends and business needs, leading to improved experiences for customers and the workforce.
Omni-channel customer service caters for people at all levels of digital competence – from call handling through to self-service portals, all of which generate and capture valuable experiential data. This empowers companies to create more value for customers by improving areas of dissatisfaction and creating new opportunities through products and services based on identified customer needs.
Effective data strategies improve security by controlling and minimising access to core business information. Data governance, compliance, policies, rules and regulations are defined in the process, ensuring the privacy, security and integrity of all data.
Data strategies don’t have to be complicated, and they work best in a modular or iterative format that starts with the identification of operational and customer-focused business needs. A roadmap to data efficiency and literacy will galvanise teams to work collaboratively –enhancing data quality and shaping more successful business decisions. n
If you would like to know more about how Sure Business can help implement a data strategy for your business, get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org
A solid strategy enables organisations to become competitive
Business is helping firms develop data strategies that shape more successful business decisions – and much more
Virtual chief information officers are now a reality. But is the virtual board director really a viable option for businesses? and are more board-level roles likely to head in the same direction?
AS THE GLOBAL pandemic took hold in early 2020, companies large and small witnessed the power of digital transformation. Those that embraced it reaped the benefits of doing so, while many who did not fell by the wayside.
Today, 56% of CEOs say digital improvements have increased revenue; 89% of companies have a plan to adopt a digital-first business strategy; and, according to McKinsey, companies with an engaged chief digital officer are 1.6 times more likely to report a successful digital transformation.
IT leadership skills are as a result more desirable than ever. But a big problem remains: full-time talent is extremely hard to come by. So much so that Business Talent Group reports that demand for interim chief information officer (CIO), chief information security officer (CISO) and chief technology officer (CTO) skills grew 83% between 2020 and 2021.
Finding good talent is becoming a challenge. As a result, organisations are turning to virtual CIOs (vCIOs).
A vCIO is an outsourced service that provides businesses with access to a dedicated IT expert. The service is designed to help companies make strategic decisions about their infrastructures, improve their overall IT performance, and manage their technology budget effectively.
So, what are the benefits and the pitfalls? And does this type of virtual service signal a rise in other virtual board-level roles?
“One of the key advantages of vCIO services lies in the access to dedicated IT experts who bring strategic insights to organisations,” says Mike Ozanne, a Founding Partner at UN1TY. “These professionals ensure that technology investments align with business goals, therefore enhancing overall IT performance and efficiency.”
He explains that outsourcing CIO roles can be a cost-effective solution for organisations. “By eliminating the need for
full-time, in-house positions, companies can save on recruitment costs and operational expenses. The flexibility provided by virtual services allows for technology to be scaled as required, without the constraints of managing internal resources.
“What’s more, in the face of escalating cyberthreats, vCIOs play a vital role in developing robust cybersecurity and governance strategies. Their expertise helps organisations stay ahead of potential risks, comply with industry regulations and safeguard their valuable data and reputation.”
The benefits are clear, according to Ozanne, but organisations must exercise caution when opting for virtual CIO services.
“Selecting a reputable service provider is paramount to mitigating potential risks,” says Ozanne. “Thorough due diligence, evaluating the provider’s track record, industry experience and security practices are all essential for ensuring the safety of sensitive data.”
As such, when considering virtual CIO or CTO services, it’s vital that organisations ensure that the vCIO maintains independence and objectivity in their role and acts in the best interest of the organisation, free from any potential conflicts of interest.
“Independence is crucial for unbiased decision-making and strategic guidance,” says Ozanne. “It ensures that the vCIO’s recommendations are based on the organisation’s own needs and goals, which will be very specific, as opposed to influenced by external factors.
“To safeguard independence, companies should establish clear contractual agreements outlining the vCIO’s responsibilities, reporting lines and confidentiality requirements,” he continues.
“Regular communication and periodic reviews, meanwhile, can help maintain transparency and accountability throughout the partnership.
“Establishing these clear communication and collaboration channels between the virtual professional and internal stakeholders will be nothing short of crucial when it comes to seamless integration, helping the virtual CIO to better understand the organisation’s culture, processes and strategic objectives.”
Does this surge in demand for vCIO services reflect a broader move towards virtualising board-level roles? “This trend does indeed, in my opinion, show that
vCIO s help organisations stay ahead of potential risks, comply with industry regulations and safeguard their valuable reputation
organisations are starting to recognise the advantages of outsourcing specialised expertise,” says Ozanne.
“It also raises the possibility of other virtual board-level positions emerging in the future, such as virtual chief marketing officers (vCMOs) and virtual chief financial officers (vCFOs).
He explains that virtualisation of these roles offers access to top talent ondemand, cost savings and diverse skill sets. “That said, it’s important to approach virtualisation strategically, aligning it with the organisation’s goals and ensuring effective communication and collaboration among all board members.”
Chris Clark, Chief Executive of Prosperity 24/7, does not see this as a possibility. However, he does believe that the role of the board is fundamentally different to what it once was.
“The shift we’re seeing in governance and boardroom dynamics is being driven by a whole host of factors. These include regulatory changes, increased scrutiny, empowered investors, technological advancements, public activism and
competition, as well as the general global economic and geopolitical environment.
“Combined, these create an extremely challenging environment that we need to be horizon scanning at all times,” he says.
“The board of directors has always been responsible for the company’s strategic direction, financial performance, and risk management – and those responsibilities haven’t changed.
“But the traditional board of directors is being replaced by a new type of board –one that’s more agile and responsive to the needs of the company.
“They need to be able to drive a faster cadence of impactful change, leading to near-term performance while ensuring long-term sustainability in terms of profit, people and purpose.”
He continues: “All that being said, ultimately, board members need to be accountable, responsible and on the hook.
“A vCIO as a service is a powerful idea, and this includes being called on to provide insight and information to the board.
“This is wholly appropriate – because you need a plethora of suppliers and advisers, whether they’re employed or not, who can tell you what’s going on and help
you stay on the right track and make sure your cyber controls are suitably scaled for your organisation.
“But in terms of having them actually sitting on the board... I can’t square that circle,” he adds.
“If you look at the UK corporate governance code and what you can delegate and what you can’t, you can’t delegate responsibility,” Clark continues. “The same goes for the accountability piece under the UK Corporal Governance Code.
“That’s why this offering poses a real challenge to me. Having a CIO as a service, if you are a small organisation, makes sense. But that’s not advising. They’re acting in an advisory capacity to the board. But when it comes to board-level decisions and oversight, you can’t delegate those decisions and that insight.”
Ozanne, however, remains of the opinion that as the financial services industry continues to evolve, virtual CIOs and CTOs are becoming indispensable partners in driving technological innovation and ensuring a competitive edge.
“By leveraging their expertise, organisations can make informed decisions about their IT infrastructure, better protect against cyber threats, and optimise their technology investments,” he says.
“There’s simply no doubting that the future of IT leadership is evolving, and virtual CIO and CTO services are at the forefront of this transformation.
“As technology becomes increasingly integral to business success, the rise of virtual roles signals a shift in how organisations leverage specialised expertise at the board level.” n
Clear communication and collaboration channels between the virtual professional and internal stakeholders will be nothing short of crucial
“IT’S A BIT like climate change,” says Peter Culnane, describing how our societies are readying themselves for an ageing population. “It’s always tomorrow’s problem. Are people ready to do what we actually need to do to fix it?”
Culnane, who is Head of Pensions at Fairway Group and a founder of the Jersey Pensions Association, understands this challenge as well as anyone. But while his prognosis might sound gloomy, he does believe there are solutions.
Global society is ageing rapidly, and wealthy places such as Guernsey and Jersey are an advanced microcosm of a trend being seen elsewhere.
In Guernsey, the proportion of the population aged 85 and over is set to treble by the year 2085. Data from Jersey shows the retirement age population roughly doubled in size between 1991 and 2021.
Meanwhile, the fertility rate has fallen well below the ‘replacement rate’ of 2.1 children per woman across the Channel Islands, meaning there will be fewer workers whose taxes can pay for pensions in the future.
Compounding the problem, relatively few islanders are saving for retirement themselves. Guernsey’s government estimates that 65% of the employed working age population currently have no personal pension provision.
An ageing population is undoubtedly one sign of a successful society. But if people can now expect to live for decades after quitting work, better planning is going to be essential.
At present, however, things aren’t looking too promising. A study in the UK by financial advisory firm Money Minder found there was a seven-year shortfall
people living longer than ever, and pensions a relatively new phenomenon across the Channel Islands, how might islanders need to adapt their retirement strategies?
between the average Brit’s life expectancy and how far their savings would stretch (assuming an annual income of £23,300 for a moderate living standard).
Given the low saving rates in Guernsey, it seems likely the same issues will arise there.
How have we got here? Culnane explains that in retirement “society has been looked after, either by government or by their companies on a paternal basis” for generations. As a result, most people are “financially illiterate”, handing over the responsibility to someone else.
However, as industry and society have changed, fewer people remain loyal to one organisation for life. Consequently, very few employers outside the public sector now offer former staff an income for their later years.
“The generation that’s coming through now is probably the first generation ever that is going to have to completely look after itself,” Culnane adds.
This means many people, and younger workers in particular, face an “almost impossible task” to save enough money to be financially independent in old age.
The generation coming through now is probably the first ever that’s going to have to completely look after itself
The governments of the Channel Islands are keenly aware of this developing situation and have been introducing legislation to help tackle it.
In Jersey, the government has, for instance, incentivised islanders to save by offering 100% tax relief on pensions savings. Meanwhile, Guernsey is set to introduce pension auto-enrolment in January 2024, with Jersey following suit a little later.
To begin with, employees and employers will automatically contribute 1% of the worker’s salary each into a pension scheme. This proportion will ratchet up in time.
People can opt out of the scheme, but the idea is to make it easier for people to save. Auto-enrolment was introduced in Australia in 1992, and has been imitated elsewhere since (including Israel in 2007 and the UK in 2012).
In some jurisdictions, such as Hong Kong, employee enrolment on a pension scheme is mandatory.
Pension providers, too, have started to innovate to make their products more attractive. Prior to 2003, the only way to receive pension payments in Jersey was to buy an annuity from an insurer at retirement age, which would pay out a fixed monthly sum until the day you died.
Today however, there are many more options for how people can access their money, which makes saving for pensions more attractive.
For example, as Peter Culnane points out, some Jersey pension providers now allow customers to begin withdrawing money from their pension funds at age 50.
That allows them to receive an additional income stream, so they can ‘wind down’ at work, perhaps just doing three or four days per week but maintaining their standard of living.
These kind of incentives and innovations are surely a good thing. But arguably the missing link is education and awareness among the general population – and the challenges of saving.
“There’s an old saying in the investment profession,” says Ray Black, Managing Director at Money Minder: “The longer the term, the more you earn.”
Pensions are ultimately another form of investment, so the longer an individual saves, they will benefit from compound interest. In an ideal world, Black says, people would begin saving in their twenties and thirties to accrue the most value.
But, of course, if you’re “concentrating on the mortgage, the kids and making ends meet from one month to the next”, putting money away isn’t always an option.
In any case, getting good-quality financial advice is a must, says Claire Trott, a retirement specialist at investment management company St James’s Place.
“We talk a lot about goals-based planning,” she says. Essentially, you picture what you want your retirement to look like, then “work back from that to try to work out what you need to save, and plug any gaps”.
This can be a surprisingly emotive experience for clients, Trott says – it can almost feel therapeutic, as people work out what money means to them and what they value.
For those who are closer to retirement and who haven’t managed to save up as
The missing link is education and awareness among the general population – and the challenges of saving
Meet Pierpaolo, he’s one of three Masters of Wine here at Waitrose & Partners. He and his team spend their lives searching the planet to find the best wines for our customers. Think of them as your very own sommeliers. Because every single wine we sell has been hand-picked by them.
MORE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN INTO SPACE THAN HAVE PASSED THE MASTER OF WINE EXAMPierpaolo, Partner & Head of Wine Buying
much as they’d ideally want, then “having a good investment strategy” is crucial, Black suggests.
Often as they approach retirement, people move pension savings from investments into cash, which is more stable.
However, for those facing a shortfall, keeping some money invested to grow, while they draw down some of their funds, could mean their savings last longer (although this comes with the risk of investments losing value).
Black and Trott point out that people go through quite distinct phases of spending during retirement. For the first five to 10 years, people tend to spend more on travel, socialising, new vehicles and so on.
However, spending then tends to decrease, once they’ve ‘been there, done that’. But then in the final years, costs mount again as they begin paying for care.
But now that people’s retirements are measured in decades rather than years, do we need to entirely reset our expectations for this phase of life? Trott believes so.
“Everyone’s different in retirement now. There’s no longer this ‘stop work, take your pension, do the gardening’ idea,” she believes. Instead, people are going back to
work as contractors, taking on part time roles, or even starting their own businesses.
For some, this will be a necessity to top up pensions. For others, it will be a means to ‘give back’ and share the expertise they gained over decades in the workforce.
The picture of retirement will look very different based on people’s wealth.
Henry Wickham, Head of Estate Planning, Wills and Probate and Notary Public at Ogier in Jersey, says: “For high-net-worth individuals, the picture regarding retirement and savings can be quite different compared with the general population.
“Typically, they will have greater financial resources and investment opportunities at their disposal, which can contribute to a more secure retirement for not only themselves but for future generations. For the richest, family offices are booming.”
Now that we are living longer, many people’s later years are likely to look rather different to the image they might have originally expected.
But as with climate change, the sooner we adapt to a different future, the better the outcomes will be. n
Everyone’s different in retirement now – it’s no longer ‘stop work, take your pension, do the gardening’
Data reveals a new era of profitable banking post-Covidby Fred Owen
Banks are finally seeing a surge in profitability – following a sustained period of flat returns.
Over a disappointing decade for banks between 2010 and 2020, returns fluctuated by just 1%-2%, never climbing above 10%, and only entering the cost-of-equity band once during this period.
However, following the Covid-19 pandemic, banking profitability has spiked, with revenue growth now up to around 12% – well above the cost-of-equity for the first
time since the global financial crisis of the late 2000s. Sharp increases in net margins and soaring interest rates have generated £345bn of global revenue, with analysts predicting that figure will increase further throughout 2023.
According to McKinsey’s Global Banking Annual Review, the return to profitability has come in the face of a number of shocks. These include macroeconomic, asset value, energy and food supply, supply chain and talent shocks.
Source: McKinsey’s Global Banking Annual Review
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