As a long-time tech enthusiast, it frustrates me that in 2022 we’re still contemplating the lack of female representation in this field. My data-centric roots demand a statistic here; last year, there were 2.93 million jobs in the tech sector and just 19% of the workforce was made up of women. Statistics linked to applications for study demonstrate a nearly identical split and if you were to review female leadership roles in tech, the numbers plummet to south of 10%.
Clearly, this is not a falsely perpetuated narrative and there’s little argument over the statistical basis of the issue. An industrywide gap prevails, much to the disadvantage of businesses and suggesting a tech blind spot for women when it comes to choosing their career paths.
Gone are the days when tech jobs are reserved ‘for the boys’ – so why the continued disparity? I recently spoke at a Just IT UK Women in Tech webinar on just this topic. Here’s my breakdown of why introducing more women to the field of tech is greater than just a gender tick box exercise, instead providing true value to both businesses and women.
Three reasons women should explore a career in tech
Never stand still
Working in tech instils an ethos of continuous growth and innovation. Most of us hope to have long, successful careers and in fact, the majority will have a work-life spanning nearly four decades. With a career in tech, you’re guaranteed never to stay standing still, always learning as technology develops and holding a seat at the table when it comes to business innovation.
2. Fantastic career prospects
The number of career opportunities in technology is growing, with up to 15,000 new jobs in the UK anticipated this year. The demand for specialist skills is only going in one direction, a competitive recruitment environment has formed, boasting strong remuneration packages, development opportunities and all in all, highly coveted roles.
3. Find your perfect fit in tech
A career in tech means something different for everyone. Whether it’s working as a data analyst, solutions architect, software developer or information security officer, roles in tech call upon different skills and personalities – you just have to find your sweet spot. What’s more, skills in tech are applicable across nearly all industries, so the (tech) world really is your oyster.
Three reasons businesses should hire more women in tech roles
Improve business performance
An increasing number of studies indicate that diversity makes for a more profitable business – I should note, this supports the argument for diversity in all areas, not just gender. Having female influence in tech to counterbalance the male view instils greater diversity of thought and improved problem-solving.
2. Grow the skills base
Encouraging more women to enter tech fields will improve the supply of skills. After all, women make up half the population – so if we fail to open their eyes to the opportunities of working in tech, then we may be depriving the industry of the crucial resources needed to grow and thrive.
3. Design balanced products & solutions
Business solutions should be designed by the people who will be leveraging them. People (or clients) are made up of both men and women, so the female point of view in the design and implementation of tech solutions will help in the delivery of more balanced products across markets.
A recurring theme of WE ARE GUERNSEY’s 2022 Private Wealth Forum was that Guernsey is a safe harbour for private wealth. It’s a stable jurisdiction with a stable government and legal system, and first-class financial services.
With ongoing economic, social and political tensions, the island is a calm port in a storm. With so much uncertainty, Guernsey can bring a high degree of comfort and security to international families looking for a service provider in a stable jurisdiction that can look after their best interests.
This sentiment is reflected in the enquiries that we’re getting at Belasko. We have clients who have structures in Caribbean jurisdictions, for example, who are now struggling to bank those structures, so they are looking to migrate those companies into the Channel Islands. They are moving to different administrators in a jurisdiction with a positive profile and global regulatory bodies such as FATF and OECD, which have good links to the banking and investment intermediary market. This point was echoed by the panel at the Private Wealth Forum.
Another key theme the panel discussed was how families bring the second generation into succession, investment, ESG, philanthropy and family governance discussions. The traditional model of a matriarch or patriarch keeping tight reins on wealth management, distribution and succession is gradually being replaced with a more open approach.
What we are seeing much more now is that families want to get the next generation involved earlier. Sophie Ward, Head of Charities & Education at HSBC, agreed, explaining that implementing good governance earlier helped to mitigate the risk of disputes.
I’d agree; disputes often arise when the matriarch or patriarch passes away and the younger family members, all with different viewpoints, visions of wealth solutions and causes close to their hearts, start to get involved in decisions and discussions about how the family’s assets should be maintained and/or distributed.
We encourage early involvement from the wider family on the vision for the family wealth. When this happens, there is a greater chance of asset transfer through the generations.
This increasing next-gen involvement also ties into a great ambition amongst high-net-worth families to have a clear purpose for their money. As a result, wealth creators are now looking more closely at what impact they want their money to have in the long term.
Having a clear vision is very important. Involving the younger family members in formulating that vision is more commonplace, which is another reason we see more involvement in ESG-type initiatives and philanthropy. So, it’s essential to have a flexible structure so that it can be utilised for any of those family ambitions.
We find that the second and third generations are highly educated; they want to be more involved and make a positive impact on the world.
Another key trend picked up by the panel at the Private Wealth Forum was technology. We’re already seeing more interest in investments in FinTech initiatives, whether digital assets or the financial technology services market.
Belasko’s technology solutions are designed to make our clients’ lives easier. We are their eyes and ears; we’re there to help them take the friction and stress out of their life by being a point of reference for them.
Our clients know that we’ve got the day-to-day management of their wealth covered for them, and they can concentrate on strategic investment decisions and the wider purpose and legacy of their investments.
Astronaut Tim Peake started the session by discussing how people work together as a team to achieve a common objective. The theme of people working towards a shared goal continued throughout the afternoon, and Russell Clarke of Carey Olsen closed the session by saying: ‘What sets Guernsey apart is its people.’ It was clear from the panel’s discussions that Guernsey’s high calibre of professionals is one reason the island is seen as a leading financial services centre.
Families are turning to a variety of structures to preserve, enhance and transfer wealth to future generations. From traditional trust and private trust company (PTC) arrangements to family investment companies (FICs) and private investment funds (PIFs), Belasko has experience in a wide variety of structures and family scenarios and will be happy to discuss the best option with families and their advisers.
The Private Capital market has grown to a booming $10trn of assets and Prequin predict it shall hit $16trn by 2026. Goldman Sachs goes further to say that with the right economic conditions, that figure could be as high as $30trn!
Keeping up with growth of this nature creates many challenges however advancements in technology and processes have enabled administrators to keep pace on a global scale however, the entrepreneurial nature of the Private Capital market continues to challenge business models as it matures.
Complexity exists in every corner. International structuring, a la carte investor terms, co-invest, multi-currency offerings are just a few of the areas that can quickly break the model. If we combine this with the global growth in fund administrator operating models and a necessity to standardise service delivery and technology to enable that growth, it’s hardly surprising to see a divergence in client requirements and the service received. Still, Private Capital Managers are reluctant to change administrative providers fearing the grass is not greener and the process of transfer too complex and risky.
We set out some of the considerations to provide comfort that there is a playbook to navigate through these short-term challenges and to create a long term partnership that enables your organisation to keep pace with the fast moving requirements of the private capital market.
Be honest about your requirements
Cultural and operational alignment is critical. Private Capital Managers who need to close new investors, make capital calls, or make new investments frequently, at the last minute, late at night, will stress operating models that do not have the capacity to be flexible and apply adaptive governance. By making your expectations clear, you can expect less friction in your day-to-day operating model once the resourcing and operating model is designed properly. Cost considerations should be secondary to defining the right operating model to deliver on your requirements upfront.
Where a tailored service arrangement is required, be sure to test that your administrator can customise delivery to the extent it is needed.
Great partnerships require operational stability yet the ability to grow. A service provider with an aggressive acquisition strategy will have multiple challenges across HR, Technology, and rigid operations risk management. When managed well, the outcome can create genuine client and shareholder value but as with all projects, there can be waves. Conversely a partner that does not grow cannot invest and your service may suffer in the long term. Growth needs to be measured and sustainable to enable a positive client and shareholder dynamic but not at the cost of operational flexibility. Be clear about the direction of travel of your administrator and seek a partner whose strategy has a positive enduring impact on your operating model.
Planning, communication, and handling complexity
Effective communication between organisations is often overlooked in the planning stage of a fund migration to a new provider. Expectations are set during the administrator selection process without either party really understanding the requisite level of planning to unpack all the detailed requirements of the Client. This often leads to a delivery that falls short of the brief and immediately places the relationship under water from a quality and economic standpoint.
Skilled communicators can bridge this gap by ensuring a clear scope of deliverables are properly understood by both parties allowing subject matter experts to provide the technical analysis upfront so that expectations are realistic, can be detailed in a Service level Agreement and costed properly.
Plan for challenges in the short term. Consider that terminating your incumbent administrator will need delicate management and will likely have a cost to exit. Your new administrator will be able to balance the equation with a reasonable set of requirements to ensure your data, records and operational knowledge land in good order.
A fund in its mid life will have a considerable data legacy. Mapping that historic data to a new accounting system is time consuming and will also require cleansing of underlying data to ensure a consistent accounting history. Experience with data enrichment and transfer tools is critical to ensure that advanced features of the operating model, like a GP or LP portal, may be used reliably from the get go. Ensure your administrator has a clear understanding of how to achieve a good data transfer and the resources to enable it.
Be clear about your pricing objectives and whether they align to your requirements. Sustainable tailored service solutions do not lend themselves to a low-cost functionalised operating model.
An experienced administration partner will be able to introduce master services agreements that create contractual and pricing simplicity for the inevitable add-ons that are required throughout a funds life. This will reduce the frequency with which you have to negotiate a fee schedule enabling your teams to focus on delivery.
Working with a provider that values good market conduct ensures that termly pricing review will identify areas of both saving and incremental resourcing that should be met to enable the service model to be resourced properly. Understand how this review will take place and the information systems that support it. Strong transparent data will reduce unnecessary negotiation and discontent.
Is it about technology, process, or people?
It’s about delivery… Technology advancement has been rapid in Private Capital and self-service tools such as GP/LP Portals, system integrated workflows, electronic investor onboarding have enabled a reduction of human interference in processing.
However, to my earlier point, if your funds structure and terms are complex, varied and fast moving, then Technology is only part of the solution. We believe that fund administration remains a people business so retaining, recruiting and developing those people is essential. But realistically, staff changes happen so it’s imperative to embed knowledge into robust processes to protect your service.
Work with a provider that can help you identify these challenges early in the sales process and can resource accurately around it.
Our firm view is that through effective planning and with the right expertise, complexity and risk can be managed for a successful transfer. Finding an administration provider that has a sustainable growth plan without the distractions of wider corporate actions is essential in striking a long-term successful partnership. In our experience, every Private Capital structure requires a tailored service and technology solution and only a successful combination of the 2 supported by a strong team will deliver to your needs and fully support your strategic objectives.
The Belasko Group –on point tailored service solutions.
Ross joined Belasko in 2021 to lead the Groups commercial growth strategy in Private Capital Fund Administration, Corporate Administration and Fiduciary services.
He has over 20 years’ experience in the Offshore Fund and Fiduciary markets holding leadership roles in Alternative Assets, Sales, Relationship Management and Client Service for a global provider.
Working with managers across the UK, US, Europe and Middle East, Ross has helped clients launch fund and investment structures in the Private and Public markets focusing on Private Capital and Real Assets.
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