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Bolster Your Bench with Wealthtech Talent During Downturns

Strategic wealthtech and advisory firms should always be scanning “waivers” for experienced talent

Savvy sports general managers are always seeking talent to add to their teams' rosters, knowing that unforeseen events occur throughout the course of a season causing attrition. By constantly scanning their league for available talent, executives can quickly react and snap up a player, adding a spark to their team.

The sporting world serves as a microcosm for real life, where strategic wealthtech and advisory firms should always be scanning “waivers” for experienced talent to deepen the bench of their growing businesses. Bringing in new team members can challenge the status quo, propelling a firm’s growth.

We published our own research concerning wealthtech talent in May surveying a group of 33 leading wealth management firms, regional banks and bank trust firms representing $4 trillion in assets to understand how they are handling “The Great Resignation” in their technology departments at a time when the focus on technology innovation has never been greater.

One of the key findings highlighted was that more than a third of firms were seeing higher attrition rates for talent, driven by both an economy firing on all cylinders and a newfound ability to work remotely. Other data points seemingly conflicted with this sentiment, with 84 percent of respondents increasing their tech resources over the prior two years and 78 percent stating the desire to continue adding to their tech bench over the next two years.

There are a finite number of talented professionals to move the needle and evolve the wealthtech industry. Yes, colleges and universities are graduating hundreds of thousands of new employees into the industry each year and though many will go on to achieve a high level of success, creating innovations and solutions that none of us have considered to date, these impacts will take considerable time to bear fruit and won’t add immediate value to your team.

With wealth management firms already struggling to bring in the best talent as they compete with traditional tech companies, they need to be constantly scanning their networks for experienced leaders who can continue to advance the industry and its technological capabilities.

As we noted in an earlier missive regarding past economic downturns and technology investment, those wealth management firms that emerge as winners take the long view when it comes to tech spend, so that when market conditions improve, they emerge as a leader.

Just as creating, acquiring or continuing to invest in technologies can spur growth coming out of a period of economic decline, approaching human capital in the same manner is critical. Whether it’s in the form of talent leaving the traditional tech industry for a new challenge in wealthtech, layoffs or perhaps recent retirees seeking to dip their toes back into the workplace, monitoring for opportunities to add talent to your team will be paramount to future success.

At F2 Strategy, for example, we recently established our Executives in Residence (EIR) program to attract top talent from within the industry to expedite innovation and business transformation. We know that experience is the main driver of technology transformation, so we developed our EIR program to attract the best and brightest minds to the benefit of both our clients and the wealthtech ecosystem.

Just as sports executives ignore the noise coming from their fanbase when they make roster adjustments to improve their team, the same is true in the wealth industry during an economic downturn. Rather than get caught up in the steady negative drumbeat of the inevitable headline noise, focus on deepening and strengthening your team’s bench, adding wealthtech talent to your roster so that your firm emerges stronger when the recovery inevitably occurs.

Doug Fritz Co-Founder and CEO, F2 Strategy, a wealthtech management consulting firm helping complex RIA, wealth, bank/trust and family office firms improve their technical capabilities to build exceptional client and advisor experiences.

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