Many wealth managers not fully prepared for end of lock-downs

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Australia’s wealth management industry is preparing for the end of lock-downs, with leaders striving to return to ‘normal’. But they should be doing more, much more, cautions two industry consultants.

“Many wealth management organisations are simply striving to get back to where they were before lockdowns, before COVID,” says Adam Salzer, Chairman of Whitewater Transformations.

Speaking from the post-lockdown United Kingdom, Mr Salzer said: “By contrast, savvy wealth managers are preparing for the acceleration in business that has come with the ending of lockdowns in other countries.”

“Leaders of UK and European wealth businesses were surprised by how fast the economic recovery was there,” he said.

“The industry in Australia should be learning from what has happened in other, quicker opening markets, as what is happening in the UK now will likely be happening in Australia in three months.”

Mr Salzer said wealth management industry leaders need to prepare to be able to react quickly to emerging challenges. “Many wealth mangers are restarting stalled projects, realising this is an opportunity to move ahead of those that are slower to respond.”

“Others are adopting emerging technology for an advantage, and as investors have grown used to doing more online.”

He added: “Many organisations are seeking transformational leaders – to be able to better adapt to change – and there are not that many in wealth management.”

War for talent emerges as markets exit lockdown

Super Recruiters also noted that people were beginning to move jobs in Europe if their employer did not continue to offer flexibility of working. “We expect that to occur here,” said Cathy Doyle, Chair of Super Recruiters and the SR Network.

“Employees have seen the benefits of flexibility and they don’t want to lose that – and will move. This includes some executives.”

Ms Doyle said: “This is leading to a war for talent in the UK and Europe and we expect it to repeat here.

“Each company is working out how to address this for themselves as their markets come out of lock-down. Australian wealth management leaders could be, should be, learning from the experience in the UK and Europe.

“Just look at what is already happening in the tech and software space in Australia in terms of war for talent and skill shortages. For example, key projects I am championing at MNF Group, a software company, are bold retention and recruitment programs. It’s a preview for wealth management firms.”

Ms Doyle concluded: “Australia will be where Europe is now in just three months. We can learn from that.”

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