City of London - culture within personal investment and financial advice industry

Culture, culture and more culture… our observations from the PIMFA Summit 2017 – “A wealth of change”


Our Managing Consultant, Paul Glover, attended the summit run by the Personal Investment Management and Financial Advice Association (PIMFA) this week. His observations, including on culture, are below:

“I had the pleasure of attending the #PIMFASummit yesterday – what a brilliant day ! As well as learning much more about the breadth, complexities, and future of the Investment Management and Financial Advice Profession, we covered Brexit, millennials/genZ, diversity, the value of advice, technology, regulation, artificial intelligence, outsourcing, geopolitics, macroeconomics, populism, leadership, customer trust & staff engagement  – topics that really transcend any industry. On top of all of this, we also discussed extreme sailing, House of Cards and MP’s behaviour. It truly was an inspirational agenda.

What struck me after sitting through fascinating sessions was how frequently the topic of ‘culture’ came up – I stopped counting at about 100 mentions of the word. Whilst I realise mentions is a relatively crude measure, it starts to indicate how fundamental culture change probably is to the future of this industry (and many others).

Obviously the conference agenda reached far and wide, but as the sessions progressed, I made the following (hopefully useful) observations:

  • High-performance companies underpin successful performance with culture and behaviours as well as achievement – in the case of Microsoft, a ‘Growth Mindset’ culture is seen as pivotal
  • The culture of performance management needs to be relevant to the firm and its workforce – one size will not fit all, but regularity is a key element
  • A better regulated, higher performance industry is hinged on changing the culture of honesty in reporting of bad practice
  • UK-wide financial stability will rely on building a culture of savings, investment and financial advice across a much larger percentage of the population
  • Team performance and achievement is often less about individual capability and more about the collective culture and behaviour of working together
  • A diverse and inclusive culture in the workplace has many positive links to improved overall organisational performance – most firms are on a journey of improvement in this area
  • There is a large job to be done in changing the culture of some customers to think differently and attribute higher value/importance to their investments and savings – once people value them, they will look after them better
  • One of the things that will contribute to an acceptable Brexit outcome is to change the culture of the UK and EU engagement with each other in order to take a more conciliatory and compromising stance.
  • The reward/remuneration structure of organisations have an immense impact on the culture of the firm and the behaviour of individuals – people may not change behaviour if the remuneration systems continue to reward the same behaviour
  • One of the most challenging things as a Leader is to think long and hard about the role that you really SHOULD play in a team rather than just doing what you CAN do – important for player managers to truly understand
  • It is critical to instil a culture of trust with your respective customers / stakeholders / citizens and some professions still have some way to go to
  • The future of technology, the expectations of millennials/gen Z and the increase of AI will all have a profound impact on the culture and behaviour of people in the workplace – people are changing (and will have to continue to change) the way they work and communicate

Note: the observations are my own but based on the knowledge that the summit speakers imparted.

Many thanks to all the speakers/panellists and to Liz Field and the entire team at PIMFA – Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association for organising an amazing event. I urge anyone interested to attend the summit in 2018 !!”

If there are any members (or indeed other organisations) that are interested in better measuring, understanding and improving their team’s culture or performance, please see the link before or contact us for guidance/advice…

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