Lessons from the Great Resignation: A playbook for better fund administrator resourcing.

By Olive Dunphy Senior Project Manager
March 2nd 2022

The Covid-inspired “Great Resignation” may be a short-term response to an extraordinary, temporary situation, but it has long-term implications for the fund administration sector and the wider financial services world.

People quit their jobs at a record rate last year. In most cases, especially in Europe, the Great Resignation has been more transference than exodus, with employees changing positions (typically within the same industry) in search of better pay and/or working conditions. But a sizable chunk simply left their jobs. In the US, many opted for early retirement.

The Covid-related pressures that incited the resignations have fallen disproportionately on parents in the workplace, who have tended to shoulder the burden of juggling jobs, child/parental care along with remote learning for school-age children. That juggling act has eased with the passage of the virus. Still, it speaks to a deep-rooted issue for companies around how to hold on to experienced staff and enhance diversity going forward.

This matters. The Great Resignation – whether it’s people switching roles or actually leaving the industry – denotes a huge loss of talent and knowledge (and the resulting deterioration in performance) for affected firms. That loss further adds to the workload pressures on those staff who remain, potentially sparking a domino effect of resignations.

The Great Retention

How can firms counter this risk? With a twin-track policy.

A people focus, to attract and retain staff in various ways, is one element.

The Covid-induced work from home experiment, while it has limitations, has shown that many staff can be productive working remotely and more flexibly. And there is further potential to build on the experiment.

The pandemic has already accelerated firms’ digitalisation programmes. Those structures can now be refined and better embedded. Committing to more flexible arrangements would help parents maintain a sustainable work-life balance so they can stay in the workforce along with being involved with their families, whether it is doing the school run or taking time to attend after-school activities.

Such flexibility has benefits for staff wellbeing, morale, job satisfaction and, ultimately, retention. Returning to a strict Monday to Friday in-office culture brings costs and risks that firms will need to weigh carefully.

A technology helping hand

The other great (reinforced) lesson to come out of the pandemic has been the power of technology.

Remote working is impossible without a digitalised environment. But more than that, technology-driven automation frees firms from many of their staffing constraints. Tried-and-tested systems can replace the manual-heavy processes that still beleaguer much of the fund administration industry. Automation diminishes firms’ key-person risks and provides a platform for scalable, profitable growth.

Relieved of onerous, often repetitive tasks, staff can focus on more engaging, value-adding activities. Client satisfaction improves, as does that of employees. Because staff are absorbed in more interesting tasks, they are more likely to be attracted to your organisation and want to stay for longer.

 

ABOUT DEEP POOL

At Deep Pool, we go a step further.

For one, we provide the industry-leading investor servicing software that fund administrators need to automate their end-to-end processes. The resulting efficiencies, scalability and client servicing benefits have proven transformative for users’ businesses.

But we also back the technology up with deep consulting expertise.

The Deep Pool team brings together qualified accountants, business analysts and software engineers to create a unique blend of industry know-how and experience. Having been on the client-side, we understand what it’s like. That makes us ideally positioned to deliver the best fixes for administrators’ problems and frustrations.

And where they need it, clients can lean into us for support. By leveraging our consulting services, clients can plug those knowledge gaps that departing staff may leave behind. This is a partnership after all. And we are dedicated to helping our clients maximise their success.

Olive Dunphy
Olive had 20 years of experience in the fund administration industry prior to joining Deep Pool as a Business Analyst 4 years ago. She previously worked in UBS Fund Services (now MUFG Investor Services) as Fund Accounting Manager, specialising in Fund of Funds, & as a Project Manager for internal projects.