Archive for August 2011
The UK’s financial and related professional services have played a critical role in shaping the UK – and indeed the world – for centuries. As a young professional in the sector, it is important to me that the sector not only continues to have influence, but that it does so for the good of society. As an Advisory Board member of One Young World, the summit for young global leaders, I felt this would be a great opportunity to put that ambition into action; to help to nurture and develop the young leaders of tomorrow. That’s why I suggested that TheCityUK developed TheCityUK One Young World challenge, an exciting competition that asked emerging leaders from TheCityUK's member organisations to compete for a place at the 2011 One Young World Summit in Zurich.
One Young World (OYW) is a global Summit for young leaders, known as the ‘junior Davos’. It brings together 1,600 young leaders aged 29 or under, from 190+ countries, to discuss the challenges facing the world, and propose solutions. Great examples of campaigns are the Missing Millennium Development Goal Campaign, which seeks to persuade the UN to add "Interfaith Collaboration" to the existing 8 Millennium Development Goals, and The Schoolbag Campaign, which asks young people in the developed world to send a bag full of school equipment (pens, pencils etc.) to a peer in the developing world.
Employees from TheCityUK member organisations were invited to submit proposals (of no more than 500 words) on how they would contribute to and deliver on an ambition to “harness the UK financial services industry, and the talent within it, to society's interest”. We received a number of excellent entries from young professionals working across the financial and professional services industry. Their interest in, and passion for, using the power of UK financial services – and the talented individuals within it – to better the greater good was compelling and inspiring. After narrowing the entrants to a shortlist of five, Isobel Wallace of Aviva, Shujaat Khan of PwC and I interviewed the finalists. Isobel and Shujaat did a great job, and I’m extremely grateful for their time, thoughts and commitment.
The eventual winner was 25-year-old Oliver Thomas, an associate in the Telecoms & Technology Strategy practice at PwC. Oliver is also a governor at Ambler Primary School in Finsbury Park. His idea for large companies to provide ‘micro-credit’ in the form of small loans of £50-200 to young entrepreneurs and small businesses was recognised by the judges as a practical, deliverable and effective idea – a practical concept that brought financial and professional services closer to local communities and young people to benefit society as a whole. He also suggested that larger companies could allow their employees to be assigned as mentors to these start-ups, providing training and support, as well as reporting back on the progress of the ventures and giving the employees a valuable volunteering opportunity: "a chance to help the community and simultaneously develop entrepreneurial experience of their own", as he put it. Oliver will be a fantastic representative of UK financial and professional services at the One Young World Summit, and I’ll be sure to blog about his progress.
Next Generation Vision
In the coming months, and along with colleagues from across the sector, we will continue the conversation around the future of financial and related professional services as part of the Next Generation Vision. Nominated by the senior management in their companies (all members of TheCityUK), 21 young professionals from across the financial and related professional services have produced their vision for the future of industry – the ‘Next Generation Vision’ – to be launched at an event on 20 October. It sets out a vision for how the industry can be in 10 to 15 years – an engine for economic growth and a source of pride for the whole country. You can find out more at www.nextgenerationvision.co.uk.
I am on holiday and removed from the daily hubbub. Even so, as I read this week’s papers I am struck by the extent to which our sector is vilified and disregarded. Commentary on the sector seems to continue without balance of fact.
The Times today reports on OECD research showing that Britain’s economic revival is heavily dependent on ‘lagging regions’. The article discusses fears around a widening ‘North-South divide’ and a ‘return to a heavy reliance on the City of London’. We often repeat that more than two thirds of jobs in UK financial and professional services are outside London...
New Delhi is not only the economic centre of India, but also one of the favoured tourist destinations in the region. I am here as a tourist, but it is impossible to miss the economic drive in New Delhi, and to reflect on the recent strife in financial markets from the perspective of an Indian economy as it transitions into a global force.
In recent weeks the impact of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and the US has led to similar ‘crisis’ headlines as we saw four years ago, but it’s important to note that a lot has changed since the onset of the credit crunch: markedly so in the attitudes and behaviours of people in the UK towards managing their finances.
Last week, I was pleased to be invited to address a group of business people from Sheffield. Being a fellow Yorkshireman, I was in no doubt that I’d be hearing the unvarnished truth about how manufacturing views financial services.
John Cooke reflects on The Global Services Summit (Washington DC, 20 July 2011).