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Addressing Future Skill Gaps in the Financial Services Global Ecosystem

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Addressing Future Skill Gaps in the Financial Services Global Ecosystem

By Jean-Marc Tassetto, CEO, Coorpacademy 

Coorpacademy’s Jean-Marc Tassetto explains why in the face of a future skills crisis in the financial services industry fun and cultivating curiosity should be an important part of the training mix

Jean-Marc Tassetto

Jean-Marc Tassetto

 The world is changing – at a pace many in business may find challenging. But it’s a race we cannot afford to lose.

Take the insights of just one stakeholder, Nathalie Bourquenoud, Head of Human Development at Swiss insurance firm Mobilière Group, who has said that, “With digitisation, the professional world is becoming more and more complex. To continue to be successful, we must adapt – which means accelerating decision processes regardless of hierarchy, working in multidisciplinary teams that don’t bother with organisation charts, and considering our processes no longer in a sequential, but in an iterative, way.

“Anything new must be put on the market very quickly, but also developed with our clients. To do this, our collaborators must be open to new things and to innovation, and be able to adapt easily to change. We must encourage them to develop what distinguishes them from a machine, in other words their creativity and social skills.”

Bourquenoud’s comments are on the money. Soft skills like creativity and social skills are becoming increasingly important in the financial services sector, which is contending with disruptive business models from non-traditional financial services firms, digital transformation, and growing demands from customers for a seamless, omnichannel experience.

At the same time, technology is disrupting the whole job market. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report points out that the eroding of the barrier between tasks carried out by humans and those by machines and algorithms is pushing the global labour market through an era of unprecedented change.

But acquiring proficiency in new technologies is only one part of the equation. Human skills such as initiative, persuasion, critical thinking and negotiation will increase in value alongside the ability to perform complex problem solving. After all, while automation, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and robotics may be able to respond, analyse and predict against data they are fed, machines can’t deliver the empathy, compassion and creativity that a human is capable of.

Hence a focus back on the soft skills’ that help people better interact in the workplace and with customers and external stakeholders. Such skills are an essential prerequisite when it comes to leadership development, as well as helping engage employees in digital transformation programmes, for example, and inspire innovation. Soft skills essentially enhance all areas of an organisation.

New digital strategies are dependent on soft skills – and according toDeloitte, soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two thirds of all jobs by 2030.

Cultivating curiosity is key

 So, if the key to success in the digital age is to ensure that employees acquire or are re-skilled in soft skills alongside the ‘hard skills’ training required for their roles, how should a financial services firm address any shortfall? The most efficient way of doing this is to provide just-in-time, bite-sized training – and to say goodbye to long, formal training sessions that are too general to be personalised and not at all engaging to today’s learner.

To make training relevant and exciting, and deliver what the learning organisation of tomorrow needs, the learner needs to be at the centre of the learning experience. We’ll do that by personalising her learning journey, offering content she really needs, but also stimulating her curiosity. Bourquenoud has more to say on this front: “Continued training is extremely important for us; we currently have several projects for the digitisation of the training of our employees [and] the goal is for them to be able to learn anywhere, anytime, but also according to their needs and at their own pace.

“The meaning of the word ‘learning’ is changing. Knowledge is available everywhere, and we want to have fun in order to stimulate our curiosity!”

LXP technology and difference

This approach that can offer‘learning in the flow’ of work (as workplace learning influencer Josh Bersin puts it) is what we all need to move to. Modern workplace learning technology, or a Learning Experience Platform (LXP), should be deeply integrated with a job position, and directly useful to the learner.

LXPs work because they are good at offering modern workplace learning methods likemicrolearning, games, quizzes and videos, as well as social and collaborative features. For Bourquenoud, “[Our learners] appreciate this new way of learning with the digital learning platform; they have a large number of videos on different subjects at their disposal, they can start battles and answer quizzes.”

 The reason this approach is so effective is that linking learning with a fun experience is a good way of encouraging the development and practice of soft skills. Play and learning are both based on the desire to progress, to collaborate and to engage in a social experience.Neuroscience, for example, has shown us that play stimulates curiosity and the desire to progress, so engaging employees’ emotions will both capture their interest, and help them retain more information.

 Another financial services customer, BNP Paribas Asset Management, is another example of how new learning techniques, including pedagogical videos, online learning modules and games on a digital platform, can be used effectively and are easily adaptable for dynamic market environments, which are experienced by the financial services industry.

In this company’s case, BNP Paribas Asset Management has deployed the LXP approach across its entire global network to update the skills of its 12,000 strong workforce. Feedback from employees has been extremely positive, and the approach has been seen as much more user friendly than traditional online learning.

And finally another LXP convert is training firm Knightsbridge Trading Academy, which in association with the London Stock Exchange Group Academy, has developed a programme designed to improve investment strategy of trading floor executives. It uses an LXP approach to improve the quality of the professional education available to financial traders. Its CEO, James Lawrence, comments, “It’s a great concept, and allows users to digest smaller content in their own time, either during or after work hours. By using flipped pedagogy, learners start with the questions, so if they know, they pass the question, if they don’t, they access the video lesson. The fun and social aspect of the course also allows learners to access knowledge in a more engaging way, by competing with their peers on the different types of asset class, for example.”

The conclusion has to be that to build the kind of skilled global teams that can embrace and adapt to change at 21st century pace, financial services companies will need to put more emphasis on soft skills training as well as modern workplace learning technology and techniques.

Otherwise, they may lose out to disruptive companies who understand the coming power of a human approach in the digital marketplace.

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 1

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its market capitalisation cross $1 trillion a day earlier.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to an record $56,620, taking its weekly gain to 18%. It has surged more than 92% this year.

Bitcoin’s gains have been fuelled by evidence it is gaining acceptance among mainstream investors and companies, such as Tesla Inc, Mastercard Inc and BNY Mellon.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and daily volume, hit a record $2,040.62, for a weekly gain of about 12%.

Ether is the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.

Ether futures contracts launched on derivatives exchange CME earlier this month.

(Reporting by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by William Mallard)

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 2

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing with drug makers, and is pushing manufacturers to be more open about where doses are headed, as it races to get more vaccines to poor countries, the bank’s president said on Friday.

World Bank President David Malpass told Reuters he expected the bank’s board to have approved $1.6 billion in vaccine funding for 12 countries, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Ethiopia, by the end of March, with 30 more to follow shortly thereafter.

The bank is working with local governments to identify and fill gaps in distribution capacity, after they purchase vaccines under a $12 billion World Bank program, and also to standardize the contracts they are signing with manufacturers, he said.

The bank’s International Finance Corp, its private financing arm, has $4 billion to invest in expanding existing production plants or building new ones, including in developed countries, but needs more data on where current production is headed, he said.

“We are eager to be investing in new capacity, but it’s hard to do because you don’t know how much of the existing capacity is already committed to the various off-takers,” Malpass said in an interview with Reuters. New or expanded plants could be used to produce other types of vaccinations in the future, he said.

The bank’s funds could be used to expand plants in advanced economies, if the production was earmarked for developing nations, he said.

Malpass welcomed Friday’s pledge by the Group of Seven rich countries to intensify cooperation on the pandemic, saying it could help jump-start deliveries of vaccines to poorer countries, which are lagging far behind rich countries in getting shots in arms.

Data compiled by Our World In Data, a scientific online publication, showed Israel was leading the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, with nearly 82 of 100 people vaccinated, while India and Bangladesh reported less than one person per 100, Many African countries have not started at all.

Malpass said he was heartened by news about new vaccines coming down the road, and about Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE seeking permission to store their vaccine at higher temperatures, which would ease another obstacle to deliveries in lower-income countries.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Leslie Adler)

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 3

By Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team diversity and inclusion starting this year, the company said on Friday in one of several responses to concerns about its treatment of a Black scientist.

Timnit Gebru, co-leader of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence research team, said in December that Google abruptly fired her after she criticized its diversity efforts and threatened to resign.

Alphabet and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai ordered a review of the situation. While Google declined to share specific findings, the company announced on Friday it will engage human resources specialists during sensitive employee departures.

Pichai in June said that by 2025, Google aims to have 30% more of its leaders come from underrepresented groups, with a focus on Black, Latinx and Native American leaders in the United States and female technical leaders globally. About 96% of Google’s U.S. leaders at the time were white or Asian, and 73% globally were men.

As a result of the investigation, the company also expanded a commitment announced in June to devote more resources to retaining and promoting existing employees, including by expanding a team addressing disputes among workers and their managers.

The diversity component of executive performance reviews was not previously announced, and the company did not immediately share details about what would be measured and how pay would be affected.

Alphabet for years had rejected proposals from shareholders and employees to set diversity goals and tie executive pay to them.

Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who advocated for one such proposal at a 2018 shareholder meeting, said on Friday, “I am pleased that they met our demand from 2018, which was a bare minimum that should have been easy to do immediately.”

Evaluating managers on diversity goals is becoming more commonplace. McDonald’s Corp on Thursday tied executive bonuses to diversity.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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