Norman Alex is a leading international executive search and consulting firm specialized in the financial services sector. Established in Europe in 1997 we have offices in London, Geneva, Monaco, Luxembourg, Paris and Miami covering front office and support positions in wealth management, asset management, private equity, corporate finance and trading.

The longevity and international nature of our operations give us a unique insight into changes within the financial sector whether they be regulatory, commercial, operational or technological. It’s our belief that the most radical changes will be caused by technology and that the impact of this is only at a very embryonic stage. The current holy grail of innovative companies is to discover “disruptive” technology and the financial services sector is one of the main targets.

However disruptive technology affects not only companies but also the employees of those companies. The reality about companies such as Uber is that they risk putting traditional transport companies out of business but above all that they threaten the livelihoods of the drivers and other employees who work for those structures. And only a small proportion of the jobs lost will be replaced by Uber and its competitors. Indeed the ultimate objective of Uber is to create driverless vehicles managed by an automated platform which will necessitate the minimum number of workers. “Uberisation” is not a term to describe a different way of working but rather a euphemism to describe a way of working with the lowest possible labour costs.

The taxi business is a relatively simple one and new business models can be implemented relatively cheaply. The financial services sector is far more complicated and regulated so the paradigm changes will take a bit longer for the effects to be felt. But all people working in this sector who believes that these changes won’t occur are deluding themselves. The question is not “if” but “when” and “how quickly”. Already platforms exist which enable foreign exchange transfers much more cheaply than banks, which put private lenders and borrowers in contact more efficiently, which use portfolio management algorithms more effectively, to name but a few.

In the past, banks and other financial instititions offered long-term and well-planned career paths. Such paths will still exist for certain people but they will become rarer and more uncertain. If you work in the financial sector and are worried about all these changes and the impact that they will have on your professional future, please contact Norman Alex for advice about how best to develop your career within your current organization or elsewhere. Our Career Advice & Coaching department can’t modify the technological landscape but we can help you navigate the waves of change to maximize your chances of professional success.