• Rachel Treece

The 5 skills needed by progressive Leaders in Financial Services today


The financial services industry has been compelled over recent years to look at new ways to innovate and adapt, in order to meet the everchanging requirements of modern times. The current discussions on the “Amazonisation” of financial services make a thought-provoking reflection.

But the industry is more than just about transactions – clients must be at the heart of everything. Most importantly, a culture of client-focus is something that every leader in this industry has not just to strive for, but to live; making it core to purpose of their organisation.

In the age of digital transformation and in a place where mergers and acquisitions are happening with increased frequency, delivering clarity and value to clients is critical. This focus can only manifest if leaders can connect with and energise their people to live and breathe their passion and purpose.

I personally believe that there are 5 vital skills for progressive leaders in the financial services industry today

1. Incremental Innovation

Everything is changing at an unparalleled speed. In the nineties Kodak kept their focus on more traditional photography, whilst Sony and other competitors foresaw the paradigm shift and were able to quickly adapt. For financial services to survive and thrive, their leaders must possess the ability to understand the wider context and drive a strategy of incrementalism. This will enable them to adapt courageously by trial and error, in order to learn and achieve success.

2. Supreme client focus: today and tomorrow

Let’s face it the vast majority of clients struggle with the language that the financial services industry uses and the way the industry communicates with them. This is part of the "guile" that many industries use to make the simple complex (and therefore expensive). Whilst in recent times the industry has inched towards more client focus many organisations are not thinking about the needs of their future clients. Needs include language, communication channels and purchase ex