Into the Wilderness: Shifting the Digital Discourse from Protection to Progression

“We are releasing the computer into the wilderness,” announced Hendrik Leber of Acatis Asset Management in March. He was, of course, referring to the recent launch of the first global equity fund to be fully controlled by artificial intelligence. Computer-based research and trading solutions may have been around for some time, but Leber’s technology is particularly smart. It is able to discern patterns of non-linear developments; it is capable of deep learning.

Risk versus Reward in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The 2030 reform agenda is now in full swing within the Kingdom and the IPO of Saudi Aramco is finally taking shape. The landscape in the Kingdom will look very different if the 2030 plan goes according to plan however as well as requiring a strong hand from the government to push it through it will also require capital, and lots of it.

Infographic: The Path to Financial Advisor Success

With rising pressure to grow profit margins, continuous improvement within the ranks of financial advisors has never been more important. But, what are the key building blocks and tools proven to drive financial advisor success? This week we explore and share with you ways in which implementation of a performance improvement strategy can make a BIG difference, how market intelligence sets the foundation, and ways to build an action plan for performance improvement. 

Battling for Top Talent in the Insurance Industry

With increasing competition and demand for top talent and best-in-class employees across all functional levels of insurance carriers, talent is a hot topic across the industry. Executive and manager-level calendars are filled with meetings focused on hitting agreed upon goals from 2016. Efforts to attract, engage, and retain new and existing staff are being re-energized. Determining which initiatives will provide the biggest boost is a key. 

Missing Tricks From Your Top Bankers? The Latest Appliance of People Science

Missing some tricks from your top bankers and relationship managers? Paying them too much? Evidence suggests you are likely doing both.

There is More to Frankfurt and Paris than Meets the Eye

Germany’s financial capital, Frankfurt, is the metropolis on the Main River. Frankfurters like to regard themselves as Main-hattan, a slice of Wall Street where upcoming financiers cut their teeth before moving to the killing fields of larger London and New York. We believe that the stage is set for this talent flow to reverse, which merits a little more consideration for your future location strategies.

Where Human Meets Capital

Where Human Meets Capital explores the evolution of human capital in wealth management. In this week’s article Peter Keuls, McLagan’s Global Head of Wealth Management, explores how technology continues to change the wealth management workforce, and considers how firms can best position themselves for tech-enabled success.

Demon-etization in India

On the 8th of November, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi held a surprise press release and withdrew the tender of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 currency notes with a motive to eradicate black money (non-declared / taxed wealth) and fake currency. This move however led to the scrapping of 85% of the available cash in an economy which is almost 90% reliant on it.

Building a Meritocracy

Most firms pride themselves on being meritocracies, yet financial services firms are increasingly struggling to rationalize a pay for performance culture.

The Shrinking Pools

Burdened by low oil prices and macroeconomic instability, the regional banking sector is suffering from squeezed earnings as liquidity tightens and credit growth remains tepid. Given these conditions, many banks across the GCC will not meet profit targets, subsequently reducing bonus pool funding. How should banks in the region respond to the new economic climate and can they somehow convert this into an opportunity to derive competitive advantage?

White Paper: Why Work?

If you won the lottery, would you quit your job? Our latest white paper draws on insight derived from interviews with CEOs at leading financial services firms and academics, to investigate the role pay plays in how and why executives work, especially in the absence of economic needs, and how this can help you retain and engage your top performers across your organization. 

McLagan Alert: The UK Decides to Leave the EU

On 23 June the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU). This historic decision is creating near-term volatility in the capital markets, but it is important to note that the full impact of this decision for the UK and European financial services sector will unfold over a period of at least two years as the UK negotiates the terms of the exit.

Employee Turnover Slows in Brazil, Even as the Tech Sector Remains an Economic Bright Spot

Voluntary employee turnover at technology companies in Brazil has slowed for the past four years, suggesting limited job opportunities amid the country's political and economic crisis. However, if we peel back the layers, we find sales employee turnover has rebounded in the past year and the Brazilian startup scene is attracting government support and foreign investment.

Corporate Titles: An outdated concept or a building block for excellence?

As we look across a set of industries—Financial Services, Technology, Fin Tech, and Consulting—we see dramatically different approaches to job architecture in general, and the use of corporate titles in particular.

White Paper: The Modern Approach to Managing Compensation for Strategic Near Shoring Locations

​In recent years financial services firms have increased their focus on deployment of their workforce to strategic near shoring locations to help manage compensation and other expenses. As a result of exponential growth of the near shoring centers and increased competition from industries outside of financial services, firms have been facing new challenges in managing pay for support staff and applying regional differentials appropriately.

Incentive-based Compensation Arrangements: A Summary of Dodd-Frank Section 956 (Part II)

The update provides an executive summary of critical strategic issues, a deeper dive on tactical implementation issues, and definitional clarity on key topics. McLagan has been in communication with members of several regulatory bodies and based upon those communications developed our perspective for this alert. While we believe the substance of each agency's proposal is aligned, we acknowledge the potential for nuances as the proposals range from approximately 300 - 700 pages in length, depending on the agency.

The Kingdom Reforms

The past few months have presented unpredictable consequences for oil exporting countries - the price of oil has nosedived by over 70% compared with June 2014 levels. The extent of the impact has been as unrelenting as the pace of the fall in the prices. These are troubling times for Saudi Arabia as the country faces an economic crisis of sorts - from its peak in 2014, Saudi reserves are estimated to have depleted by a whopping $150 billion. In 2015 alone, the Kingdom consumed $115 billion in reserves, when the crude oil prices averaged under $50 per barrel.

Incentive-based Compensation Arrangements: A Summary of Dodd-Frank Section 956

After five years, the interagency task force has re-proposed Section 956 of Dodd-Frank. This proposal is clearly more prescriptive and covers all financial institutions with balance sheet assets over $1 billion that are regulated by the six agencies.

Managing Compensation in a Downturn

It seems like we are in for a rocky ride in 2016. While underlying economies of many countries and the financial performance of many companies still appear solid, numerous firms are preparing for a tough year ahead.

EBA Consults on Draft Remuneration Guidelines for Sales Staff

On December 22 2015, the European Banking Authority (EBA) published a consultation paper on its Draft Guidelines on remuneration policies and practices for staff offering and providing retail banking products and services.

To Rate or Not to Rate: A Thoughtful Guide

In recent months, with increasing frequency, we have read of firms eliminating performance ratings and "blowing up performance management". Few trends in Human Resources have had more momentum and, while this might not be a popular thing to say, have been misunderstood or done with less forethought. Support for dismantling traditional performance management approaches has been informed by employee feedback, research, and positive intentions. But what sometimes feels missing in firms' change processes are rigorously defined desired end states, and thorough reviews of the role that performance management and ratings (specifically) play at those firms. We believe there is a sweet spot between "transformative" and traditional performance management. It will look a little different for each firm, particularly in financial services, where highly differentiated compensation is at the very core of how firms operate—but the sweet spot can only be achieved through rigor and not a rush to join a crowd. In this paper we will look at what is changing, what are the intended outcomes, who are the stakeholders in this change, and what are the specific implications for rewards at financial services firms. 

Competing in Hong Kong

The Competition Ordinance (Commencement) (no 2.) Notice 2015 was published in the Gazette on 17 July 2015, which declares 14 December 2015 as the effective date for the rule. This Ordinance, first outlined in 2012, restricts four types of conduct that are described as anti-competition - pricing manipulation, market division/allocation, output restriction or control, and bid rigging. Though not specifically targeted at employment matters, it is clear that the Competition Ordinance (CO) restricts practices like wage-fixing, formal and informal sharing of pay or benefits related information with competitors, industry-wide negotiations that impact wages and employment terms, and no-poaching agreements.

The Great Fall of China?

Impacts on compensation and talent management in China and Asia Pacific after the Recent Chinese Stock Market Correction and Renminbi Devaluation

Securities and Exchange Commission—Proposed Clawback Rules— Technical Insights

On July 1, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released proposed rules addressing the final executive compensation regulation required under Section 954 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank”).  Proposed Exchange Act Rule 10D-1 requires the SEC to adopt rules directing the national securities exchanges and associations to prohibit the listing of any security of an issuer that does not develop and implement a policy providing for the disclosure and recovery of excess incentive-based compensation received by a current or former executive officer whenever the issuer is required to prepare an accounting restatement in order to correct erroneous financial data.

Proposed Pay Versus Performance Rules Preliminary Observations

On April 29, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted in favor of issuing proposed rules for the Pay Versus Performance disclosure that Congress included under Section 953(a) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Allowances and Benefits in the Financial Industry: Current Strategies and Changing Landscape in the Middle East

The structures for allowances and benefits in the regional financial industry are often complex and in many cases, independent of the business and HR strategies. Given the regional employee demographics, with a mainly expatriate workforce, and the tax-free environment, international banks often struggle to maintain parity with their foreign operations in regard to reward structures. Local financial firms also face issues such as, legacy compensation structures with excessive numbers of allowances, and complex employee demographics.

Refining Your Existing Staff Location Strategy

Difficult market conditions, increased regulatory obligations, and global competition are adding to the significant pressures on financial services firms to further reduce their operating costs. Over the past 10 years, many institutions have achieved substantial savings through outsourcing and/or offshoring some of their support functions. IT support, call centers, and transaction-intensive operational processes have been outsourced to large Business Process Outsourcing firms. Furthermore, most of the large banks have created their own captive centers in low-cost locations to maintain control and realize savings.

Changing Times: Quantifying Research

Research continues to form an integral part of a firm’s product offering, although, like all functions, it has come under intense pressure over the past 4-5 years as the dip in firm-wide revenues has pressured margins. While the economics of providing research improved in 2013, driven by a rebound in equities revenue, firms are still considering whether to categorize research as a revenue producing function or a cost centre.

The Innovation Requirement

Since the crisis of 2008 we have seen significant change within financial services, however, much of the action taken by market players has been reactionary and defensive. Although a great deal has been said about the excesses and errors of the past, the current focus for banks, in particular, must be on the need to innovate or risk becoming stagnant and losing the ability to compete for exceptional talent. In this matter, banks should take a lesson from today's leaders in technology.

Changing Banking for Good: UK Parliamentary Commission's Remuneration Proposals

This McLagan Alert summarises the key points relating to remuneration from the final report of the UK's Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards (PCBS or the Commission), published last week. It considers possible implications, scope and the process that follows the report's publication.

 

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