Investment professionals in particular have seen the biggest change in recent years. Sarah Dudney, client partner at The Buy-Side Club, the talent strategy and recruitment firm explained,
“We live in a much more data-rich society. The skill-set required for investment professionals has become much more about data analytics and understanding and manipulating large data sets efficiently,”
Of course, to facilitate the changes, financial institutions have had to evolve over the last 25 years. City AM gives the ‘Take the Investment Management Certificate (IMC)’, as an example. The qualification, which turns 25 this year and is offered by CFA Society of United Kingdom, is now more quant-focused than it has ever been. Themes like ESG and ethics are also playing a wider part in the curriculum, which they did not do 25 years ago.
“We have a panel of practitioners and academics who work in the industry and feed in their opinions to keep us relevant. It’s important that we address how the industry is evolving in what we offer,” says Tim Scholefield, chair of the IMC Panel at CFA Society of United Kingdom.
Jeremy Smith, head of benchmark exams at Kaplan Financial, which provides training for the IMC, says it is about providing much needed context to new entrants into the industry. “To me, the qualification would allow new entrants to add context to where they fit into the industry and to their role. It’s not about having all the answers, but it’s about knowing when to ask questions,” he says.
Ben Harrop, change manager at Schroders, says it’s about understanding the industry. “I arrived in Schroders after sixteen years in the British Army in September 2018. As I work on programmes that affect multiple parts of the business, I felt an understanding of the asset management industry (including formal qualification) was vital in terms of helping me learn the language of the industry and gain credibility working both internally and with external third-parties,” he explains.
He believes the IMC will assist in progressing his career, “Going forward the qualification will potentially enable lateral movement within Schroders, as it demonstrates an understanding of and aptitude for investment management,” he says.
According to Dudney, a qualification is like a ‘good housekeeping badge’ that gives participants a fundamental framework to understand the key principles in the industry. “On top of that everybody has to understand the complexities of the business, whether it’s passive, or developments in active, trends going on in ESG, or data analytics. You have to have a real polymath mind and you have to be relentless in learning and asking what things mean for investment,” she says.