InvestmentsOct 9 2020

Investment sector fears major restructure and staff cuts

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Investment sector fears major restructure and staff cuts

A third of investment professionals fear redundancy in the next 12 months as the majority of the sector expect firms to undergo major restructuring in the coming years.

Figures from the latest CFA Society of the UK survey, published today (October 9), showed that 32 per cent of investment professionals thought they could lose their jobs in the next year, while 67 per cent predicted a company overhaul in the next two years.

Of these, some 39 per cent thought the overhaul would take place at all levels of the investment profession.

The profession is more shaken now than a year ago, the figures show. In the CFA UK’s Brexit survey, taken in 2019, just 22 per cent of the investments sector felt their job was not secure in light of Britain leaving the EU.

This was also the case when looking at the future of recruitment in the UK. 

In 2019, only 9 per cent of respondents thought they were likely to leave the UK and move to another country, but this has jumped to almost a third in today’s results.

The CFA UK society, which represents 12,000 UK investment professionals, polled 460 professionals in August and September and found while the majority (74 per cent) were happy with the intellectual challenge and work/life balance of their career, just 16 per cent would recommend working in the profession to others.

The CFA said the low proportion of those endorsing an investments career was likely due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis and the major shifts the professionals were expecting as a result.

Despite this, the findings show that so far, the pandemic has had little impact on respondents’ roles.

More than 90 per cent reported they had been able to satisfactorily perform their role working from home, and just 19 per cent said their role had changed while working remotely.

Will Goodhart, chief executive of CFA UK, said: “It is encouraging to see that investment professionals are largely happy in their chosen career but, understandably, there is also significant anxiety at the moment."

He said it was “worrying” to see such a low number of investment professionals would recommend working in the sector, as it suggested they were “very pessimistic” about the outlook for the sector.

He added: “This is clearly a time of significant change and stress, but our view is that the sector will continue to play an important role in meeting client needs and allocating capital effectively within the economy.”

Aside from Covid-19 related challenges, investment professionals were expecting the biggest challenges of the next five years to be changing investor needs, new regulations, and evolving technologies.  

In order to succeed in the face of an uncertain future, the majority of respondents reported they were looking to develop soft skills as a priority. 

More people thought they needed to improve their expertise in networking (52 per cent) than IT, programming and digital skills (48 per cent). 

Relationship building and communication skills were also deemed important, at 42 per cent and 39 per cent respectively. 

Environmental, social and governance investing — a hot topic in recent years — was high on the agenda, with 70 per cent of respondents expecting  knowledge of ESG to be important for their career. 

Mr Goodhart said: “Those working in the sector will need new skill sets as the landscape changes. Firms have a responsibility to support their employees in developing these skills – particularly in areas like sustainable investing which we will only see grow.”

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