A Better Way: The Hybrid Broker Workforce


By Davy Barthes, CEO, Magen Financial

The institutional brokerage industry has been around for almost a century and has played a pivotal role in the development and growth of the global financial services industry. But the essential ways of working of brokerage firms have evolved slightly since almost the inception of the business – they still rely on personal connections, face-to-face engagement, a broad existing understanding of how the industry works and a certain detachment from emerging technologies. to improve operations.

However, COVID-19 has completely removed the old ways brokers work. In-person networking and dinners with clients have not been viable over the past year and are unlikely to return significantly quickly, even as cities are slowly starting to reopen. Now, companies must incorporate the ‘new normal’ established in 2020 – flexible working arrangements from anywhere – into their long-term plans, giving brokerage firms an easy excuse to embrace a new way of doing business on a daily basis. . and bring the industry into the 21st century.

Here are the top three ways the pandemic has definitely changed the brokerage industry for the better – and what institutional brokerage firms should do to capitalize on this moment:

Take advantage of existing technology

Remote working has forced companies to quickly embrace technology like never before, just to get the job done, and now many financial services companies are reluctant to give up on that. Embracing even the simple innovations that are standard in other industries – order management tools, remote collaboration tools beyond the Bloomberg terminal, and more – can only help brokerage firms perform better. In addition, the adoption of these available tools forces brokerage houses to adopt an innovation mindset, which eases the path for future technological innovations and long-term digital transformation.

Flexible working environment

As cities slowly reopen across the country, financial services companies are increasingly asking their employees to fully return to the office. Being in an office boosts productivity and innovation, while fostering corporate culture. More importantly, some financial positions are not suited to an ongoing remote working environment. For example, team communication is essential for brokers (front office), so the presence in person on a floor is essential to fully resume operations. However, other roles, such as middle and back office jobs, which have less customer contact and require less in-person interaction, could still be very viable through remote working. The pandemic has forced companies to rethink the way they operate. A culture of flexible working will be essential to retain and recruit talent and improve attractiveness as an employer.

Junior brokers have options and recruiting must incorporate their existing skills

Young and hungry junior brokers see innovation and technology as key differentiators to showcase their work. These are also key characteristics they look for when evaluating potential employers – meaning that brokerages that shy away from the new are likely to lose young talent to emerging fintechs and other tour companies. to the future. This means brokerages need to put technology at the forefront of the recruiting process. This will be essential in attracting the very workers who will be essential in setting up the brokerage firm for long term success in a context of rapid innovation in the industry.

The brokerage industry – or any industry, for that matter – is unlikely to return to the “way it was” before the pandemic. It is wishful thinking to believe otherwise. As a result, brokerage firms need to change the way they work not only to remain competitive, but also to guard against further disruption. Ultimately, the brokerage firms that are able to seize the opportunity to bring innovation to their businesses will be the ones who reinvent the industry as a force for innovation.

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