It’s official, the world is mad……
So one month into 2018 and you would think we are living in a world full of sex pests, bigots, male chauvinists, corrupt fund managers and an industry that really needs to look at itself so as to justify its very existence.
Hang on just one cotton picking moment! It ain’t that bad, really. Sometimes we seem to assume that the one bad apple is actually synonymous with everybody else and that, no matter what you do in life and how you behave, you are all part of the conspiracy. Well I hate to disappoint you but Apollo 11 did land on the moon and there was a giant leap that day. Sadly there are no Unicorns but then you can’t have everything.
I have worked in the Asset Management industry for 30 years and whilst I cannot say that I have experienced everything that the industry does, is supposed to do or is accused of doing, I have certainly seen the industry grow up. In my career I have seen women come out of the secretarial pool and become Fund Managers and CEOs of firms, I have seen the male dominated sales operations become more balanced, the “lap-dancing” culture pretty well disappear, the boozy lunch replaced with Diet Coke (the NIMA Dinner circa 1888 latter more down to lifestyle sadly) and an industry become more professional, more open and more driven by value added than many other industries
True we have some way to go before we are finished and in some cases a long way to go. However because of regulation, education, a desire to improve and compete as well as pressure from consumers and intermediaries alike, the industry has made huge leaps over the last 25 years. It bodes well for the next few years.
I am inspired by people who want to make changes in attitude, such as Bev Shah over at CityHive and Iain Anderson at Cicero
but I am also impressed by what has been achieved by natural selection. Darwin was right. Shock horror! But the industry creates natural selection by the quality of its product, its performance, the price etc. Any industry has to look at improving or it will die a long slow death by not innovating, looking for the best way of making the best of what it has and by adopting new practise. Sometimes it takes a long time in certain areas but generally the forward thinking, innovative and positive firms are the ones that grow by attracting the right people to make these changes happen. They want to compete and they want to win so they create the change. Those that don’t adopt the new practises simply don’t survive. They get taken over or just wither on the vine. Over the years we have seen many firms do just that. They can’t compete so they look to merge away their unproductive business with another one in the hope that scale will get them out of the hole they are in. Not always the right move, however it can create economies which allow innovation and then attract the people who will create the changes needed.
The industry has benefited over the years by these changes and so have consumers. For far too many years we have beaten ourselves up about what we do but as an old Chairman once said to me, “we help create the reality for investors dreams through the provision of wealth making products” and not many people can say they do that! I think we do beat ourselves up too much and yes whilst there are some obvious changes that need to be made, I do believe that quality will out in the end. So let us all stop being negative about what we do and be proud of what we do and what the future holds.
Have a great week!
CEO, Gemini Investment Management
Director, Gemini Capital