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Where, What, and How Work Gets Done: The Future of Work in Investment Management

The state of work – what we do, where we do it, and how it gets done – looks undeniably different today than just a year ago. The forced reality of remote working due to the pandemic has made leaders and employees think more carefully about what investment careers could look like going forward. The short-term changes have prompted firms to update their technology to enable a work-from-anywhere (WFA) environment, but what are the longer-term implications of this disruption?

CFA Institute offers the first in-depth study examining the new work parameters for the investment industry in a multi-part research series, Future of Work in Investment Management. Part 1, The Context of Work is now available.

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Investing in Resiliency

Need for skill development versus company support graph

Adaptability as a Competitive Edge

Throughout 2021, we'll drill down deeper to answer some of the industry's most pressing questions about the future of work in the investment industry:

  • How can you navigate your career path in a hybrid work environment?
  • How will professional networks change, and who is the most at risk of being left out of the new working model?
  • With fewer in-person connections, what new trust models are needed to navigate relationships with clients and colleagues?
  • What are the operational and compliance risks associated with hybrid work?
  • What new insights have emerged about the core elements of effective organizational cultures in the investment industry?
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Redefining What It Means to Be "In the Office"

Where Work Gets Done in a Hybrid Future

Where investment professionals spend their working day would have been a surprising conversation a few years ago because the answer was obvious: You needed to be in the office. While flexibility was a bit more common than outsiders to the industry might have guessed, most leaders explicitly or implicitly believed in “face time” as a measure of commitment and potential.

Following the COVID disruption to work, investment professionals have had to adapt to the new rules of a hybrid environment to manage their career path, personal brand, and professional network – and investment roles proved to be well-suited for flexibility. Now 81% of employees say they want to remain remote — at least part time.

What will work look like going forward given the social disruptions from the pandemic?

Sign up to start reading part 1 of our research series, The Context of Work.

Who wants to work remotely in a bar graph

Is a Hybrid Model the Future of Work?

Rebecca Fender, CFA, discusses building trust and the relationship between working from home and maintaining a high-performance culture. 

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Hedging Against Irrelevance

What Work Gets Done as Roles & Rules Evolve

Disruption requires more learning to keep current, and 91% of investment professionals want to expand their skills. They’re intellectually curious, track market dynamics, and follow new developments. But while some professionals had time during the pandemic to upskill, many others realized that longer working hours squeezed out time for training and learning. Burnout has been a challenge, and new entrants to the industry found it more difficult to learn from peers. How will learning and development change going forward?

Meanwhile, those in client-facing roles will need to refine their communication skills to establish new trust models with clients. While video calls have replaced some travel, firms must think strategically about maintaining relationships. Soft skills remain extremely important and companies will need to adapt for compliance and accountability. How will organizations stay relevant and differentiate themselves?

Part 2, The Content of Work, will be available. Sign up now to start reading part 1, The Context of Work.

Industry Leaders Weigh in on a New Paradigm for Productivity

Diverse perspectives on an industry in transition and what it means for organizations as well as for individual professionals and their careers.

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Re-Imagining Organizational Culture 

How Work Gets Done in Changing Environments

In the war for talent, organizational culture will be a differentiator. Half of investment professionals surveyed say they would consider work in another industry, so as skills become more transferrable it’s vital for organizations to examine the core elements of their culture.

Investors will be especially interested to see how investment organizations seeking to demonstrate their alignment with ESG principles adapt their workforce policies and consider their employees as key stakeholders. The implementation of new approaches, however, may have pitfalls, especially related to inclusion and equity. Culture cannot be taught and understood through a memo, and finding ways for new hires to learn and thrive even without the proximity of coworkers will be one of the most important leadership challenges going forward.

How can leaders be innovative in a hybrid environment — while protecting the essentials of what defines their organizational culture?

Part 3, The Culture of Work will be available soon. Subscribe Sign up now to start reading part 1, The Context of Work.

About the Report

The Future of Work in Investment Management research series is based on quantitative and qualitative data collected from more than 9,000 global investment professionals and leaders at investment organizations representing more than 230,000 employees. In addition, the series incorporates qualitative input from virtual roundtables conducted with participants from more than a dozen markets.

Special thanks to Professor Renee B. Adams (University of Oxford) and Professor Almudena Sevilla (University College London) for their collaboration on this project.

Get a Sneak Peak

Interested in seeing what the Future of Work series can do to help you prepare for the next generation of the investment management profession? Take a sneak peek at some of the high-level findings we’ll explore regarding the Context, Content, and Culture of work. And be sure to sign up to get full access to all the reports in the series, starting with the Context of Work. 

Subscribe to the Future of Work in Investment Management series