The Ultimate Guide to Financial Services Jobs
The financial services sector of the UK is an ever changing enviroment.
Whether it be keeping up with the latest changes of foreign markets or reacting to changes in UK law, this sector is a key one to keep the UK’s cogs spinning. We’ve put together an ultimate guide to the sector, giving exclusive insights.
Chapter 1: How digital is disrupting the Finance Sector when it comes to jobs
Chapter 2: Q2 Financial Services Roundup and FAQs
Chapter 3: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Chapter 4: The song remains the same: Financial Advice in 2017 and beyond
Chapter 5: Automated advice and the future of Financial Services
How digital is disrupting the Finance Sector when it comes to jobs
by Edward Holdaway, Financial Services Consultant, and Rhys Pritchard, FinTech Specialist Consultant
Since the turn of the year, there has been a marked shift in the nature of roles being recruited across the banking and wider financial services sector. And it’s all focused on the ‘customer’.
In an article for CMO.com, Paul Riseborough, Chief Commercial Officer, Metro Bank said that “the digital winners will be those who can focus on customer experience”. In the same article, Peter Wannemacher, Senior Analyst, Forrester argued, “we are approaching a breaking point where digital transformation will actually transform banking and financial services.”
Both are right, but what is missing is the impact this shift towards the focus being squarely placed on the customer will have on the nature of roles being recruited across the finance sector. That’s what we will address here.
Following a spate of high profile cyber attacks, consumers are increasingly concerned about how secure their personal data really. As a result, banks and other financial institutions are increasing their investment in their cyber defence systems. This in turn is driving demand for cyber security professionals to mitigate the risk.
Big data is another key growth area. 12 months ago it could be argued that the big data bubble had burst, but if anything it was only getting started. With increased competition between banks increasing apace and the rise in the number of fintech providers challenging the status quo showing no signs of abating, banking is quickly realising that having actionable insights into customer behaviour is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a business imperative. This is seeing demand for core skills such as Python Developers, specifically on investment and peer-to-peer platforms (P2P).
In fact, the growth of P2P has given rise to an increased demand for tech sales professionals. This is largely because P2P is predominantly a cloud-based current account provider, which gives a pure technical focus throughout business instead of a more client-facing role you would see with one of the high-street banks. Indeed, over the last few months alone, we have seen Brokers coming from a strong financial background now requiring that technical focus to succeed within the new wave of Investment and P2P platforms.
Arguably the buzzword of the moment is ‘blockchain’. Low client retention levels and customer loyalty programmes not being what they used to be have prompted banks to revise the machinations of their existing customer engagement efforts and overcome some of the efficiencies that exist. Blockchain has become the loyalty platform of choice for a growing number of banks and this will continue to push up demand for blockchain developers and engineers.
Are there any key roles that you see emerging over the coming months?
Q2 Financial Services Roundup and FAQs
We are 6 months into 2017 now, so we thought we’d catch up with Alex Russon from the Financial Services team to find out about your most frequently asked questions, the state of the financial services job market and what’s set to change into 2018 and beyond.
What have opportunities been like in Financial Services in the first half of 2017?
So far, brilliant! The opportunities in Financial Services have always been very good but unfortunately, due to the recession in 2008/2009, there has been an element of fallout for some businesses. However, the companies which we are working with now are continuing to grow and expand, so have pushed past these difficulties. Generally speaking, the Financial Service businesses that maintain a good work ethic, have prepared for regulatory changes and conduct themselves responsibly and compliantly, are thriving. In relation to IFA firms, the opportunities within paraplanning and compliance are very good and there are always opportunities for these roles up and down the country.
What do you think will happen for the rest of 2017 going into 2018?
Currently, we are not aware of any major changes within Financial Services for the rest of 2017 and the start of 2018. The only notable change that we are presently aware of the data protection changes next year. This year from our perspective, has started well, we have placed more people than ever which is a reassuring sign of things to come.
Do you foresee any major changes in Financial Services in the next couple of years that will affect training and recruitment in the sector?
It’s possible to say that Brexit could affect the Financial Services sector over the next couple of years, although from the conversations we are having, no body seems to be panicking at all. We aim to remain positive as nobody really knows how this could affect us (unless someone has a crystal ball of course!)
How much opportunity is there in Financial Services to keep training and gaining new qualifications?
All the opportunity you could ask for. The FCA is constantly changing and updating regulation and new exams are being written. This means that to stay a head of the game people need up to date with all these changes and keep taking the exams.
What would you like to see more of in the applications you receive? Is there anything that jumps out at you that makes you put someone’s application straight in the shortlist pile?
Primarily, we would probably say that we would like to see more qualifications, as this is a clear indication of their technical knowledge levels. There is a particular shortage of qualifications in certain areas and therefore a shortage or people to fill these roles. Ideally, of course, it’s great when we come across candidates that have a combination of qualifications and experience and these will, of course, be shortlisted and probably snapped up!
Are there any particular skills you look for when looking at someone’s CV?
When looking at a CV we primarily look for experience within a similar role or company, we then of course also look for their qualifications. Because we specialise in Financial Services, it’s incredibly important to us that an applicant has an element of experience. From there we believe that the rest can be taught and the applicant will continue to be supported. We do see that a lot of people have transferable skills and we have given opportunities to some candidates with some relevant skills, however, it’s great to find candidates with more direct experience, which would be more what our clients are looking for.
What is the biggest skills gap in Financial Services in 2017?
Throughout 2017, we would say that the biggest skills gap would be in the limited amount of people who have both qualifications and experience combined. We are quite keen to receive more applications from people with Chartered status and we are especially looking to recruit more Paraplanners over the UK.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
1. Who are you?
With so many CV’s to view, you want yours to get directly to the point. Let the hiring manager (or recruiter) know what you do in your opening statement. This should simply be a statement of your experience summed up into one punchy bullet point. Make sure to include details on your qualifications (especially if you qualified with 1st time passes)
Example: “An ACCA Qualified Accounts & Audit Senior with 13 years Accountancy Practice experienced within 2 top 50 firms”
2. What do you do?
Now you have captured their attention, it’s time to go into more detail about what it is you do. Try and be specific and be sure to highlight information that makes you stand out from the other applicants. A hiring manager will typically want to know about the clients you deal with, or the level to which you manage their accounts. Additionally, if your role is split across different facets of accountancy, it’s worth highlighting how your role breaks down. The key is to keep this relevant to the type of opportunities you are applying to.
Example: “Experienced in Statutory Accounts preparation (From both incomplete records and trial balance to final balance), monthly Management Accounts, VAT returns, Personal Tax & Corporate Tax computations”
“Current workload split 70% Audit / 30% accounts work”
3. OK, tell me more….?
The hiring manager is starting to get an initial feel for your technical experience, now it’s time to back this up – ideally with some figures.
Example: “Work with a range of Sole Traders, Partnerships, Limited Companies and Groups with turnovers of up to £Xmillion. These clients vary in terms of industry sectors to include manufacturing, construction, entertainment and media amongst others”
“Currently manage a client portfolio consisting of 350 clients with a recurring fee income of £XXX”
4. What have you done that makes you different?
The biggest mistake people fall into when creating their CV is to list all their responsibilities, rather than focussing on their achievements. In most scenario’s this is simply teaching the hiring manager to suck eggs. Hiring managers know what the job role involves, what they don’t know is what you do differently. What experiences have you gained that haven’t been offered to other people at your firm? What advantage you can bring to their organisation/business.
Example: “Provided with the opportunity to work alongside the Audit partner on a number of key assignments, taking a lead role in managing the client relationship”
5. A bit about you, and what do you want?
This is your closing statement to tell the person reading your CV exactly what it is you are looking for in your next opportunity and why you’re a good candidate. Depending on your personal circumstances this will determine how specific you want to be, however, bear in mind that you may close yourself off to other avenues if you by being too specific.
Example: “A confident, ambitious and skilled Corporate Tax Senior who is seeking the opportunity to join a progressive, forward-thinking Accounting firm who can offer clear progression into a managerial position”
The song remains the same: Financial Advice in 2017 and beyond
With driverless cars now being tested in America, online banking and contactless payments now an everyday occurrence, it is often hard to keep up with and pre-empt where the technology will lead us.
There has been much discussion as to whether Financial Advisers will become a thing of the past, while movement towards automated services in this modern-age continues at rapid pace. Companies like Bread & Butter Advice are now offering an exclusively online Financial Service, while several other practices offer a Tele-Advice services.
When RDR was enforced at the end of 2012, one of the things it set out to achieve was to create an improved, clearer and more informed standard of financial advice. One argument posed in the debate is whether this service can be truly provided solely over a telephone or online?
Few of us would argue that being able to check portfolio valuations or your pension via a phone app is a bad thing. With a huge surge in the number of FinTech start-ups, it is certainly interesting to see where the road will lead.
Speaking to an Adviser this morning, he informed me that face to face advice has more of a place in today’s society than ever before and that there is still a suspicion towards fully automated services. Advisers are able to ‘read the small print’ and guide people in a personable manner:
“Peoples finances are a personal thing, you want to be able to discuss your finances with someone you trust. Someone who makes you a cup of tea and really takes the time to understand you financial needs.”
Wherever the road leads it appears that, at least for the immediate future, there is still a strong market for face to face adviser.
Automated advice and the future of Financial Services
Intelliflo have published a very interesting white paper on “Growing Your Financial Advice Business – the Hybrid Model”, this is a big question for the financial services, with managed assets with robo advisers tripling over the last few years, what does this means for your career?
The white paper details how many firm can now longer grow their business through a purely face-to-face model, which is driving firms to consider different solutions. Many firms looking to expand are having to overcome hurdles because of the shortage of qualified advisers, and therefore those advisers with the correct experience and qualification packages cab be increasingly selective. This in itself can prove detrimental to business growth, with an alternative model based on long term training and development to fulfills more senior roles.
The paper suggests a hybrid of automated and traditional face-to-face advice is the model of the future. Long term business growth can be acquired via deeper client relationships who can upgrade their service level from automation to full advice when their wealth or needs have increased.
If this is the future model the paper suggests, the career route for advisers would look very different.
Nick Eatock, Intelliflo’s founder and executive chairman says: “Automation helps to bring advice to a level of customer that has not been able to benefit from it before. It makes advice more economic for both the adviser and the customer. The opportunity lies in giving customers access to an adviser who can help them with more complex issues that automation cannot deal with yet.”
“The advance of technology, driven by client demand, offers an opportunity for a younger generation of advisers to cut their teeth in the industry with clients who want to start out with a light touch, automated approach to investment” states Intelliflo’s report
So the logical first step for an advisers career path may well see trainees or new graduates gaining experience from clients who are moving away from automated services to a more complex package. This would allow the movement of responsibility throughout an advisers career to grow as their experience grows.
Our managing director, Steve Preston, gave the following thoughts on the matter to Money Marketing: “A lot of the work being done by trainee advisers could be done by automation, releasing the trainee to support senior advisers. While automated services may provide an efficient and cost-effective alternative to hiring advisers to handle smaller- net-worth clients or those with simpler demands, the higher-net-worth and more technical clients looking for a really bespoke service will want to be dealt with by a knowledgeable, personable adviser who can handle their situation with a personal touch. There will always be a place for face-to-face advice.”