By Theo Williams, Managing Director at UpSlide
The investment banking industry is renowned for the long hours and often challenging workloads that justify the high salaries. But this doesn’t represent the full picture.
On a daily basis, bankers are inundated with spreadsheets, presentations and pitchbooks, each being meticulously produced and put through several levels of approval before being signed-off and sent to other departments or clients.
With speed and accuracy being of vital importance, junior bankers often find themselves needing to work through the night, to meet tight deadlines.
Junior bankers therefore, have a need for tools to help automate many of the repetitive tasks involved, but it’s often not seen as a top priority for IT teams.
Adopting an ‘if it isn’t broken, it doesn’t need fixing’ approach and choosing to remain with legacy processes could be holding some firms back. Addressing any disconnect between IT and delivery teams could be key to firms delivering higher value work for their clients.
With many hours being spent on documents and spreadsheets, automating manual processes can free up time for bankers to focus on higher-value tasks such as industry research or improving financial models. Not only that, but working long hours and late nights can have an impact on overall productivity due to fatigue and stress.
Additionally, different senior figures tend to like their documents styled and formatted in their own way. This means junior bankers will need to manually alter each report, model, and pitchbook to fit the style of each banker. Although this is a necessary and easy task, it’s a manual and lengthy one for juniors whose time could potentially be better spent developing higher value skills which have a bigger impact on clients.
It’s a time-consuming process but by automating some of the tasks, bankers can produce a higher volume and quality of documents, ultimately providing a welcome boost to the bank’s bottom line.
After working hard to secure the opportunity to work in investment banking, junior bankers are determined to develop their industry knowledge and skills, something that can be achieved with a healthy balance of responsibilities.
Whilst aware of the need to start at the bottom, earning the trust of their seniors, these capable graduates likely aspire to be involved in more strategic processes within the organisation helping to deliver added value to clients and making a difference in their role.
With tradition lying at the foundation of the investment banking industry, some senior bankers understandably have certain expectations of those new to the firm based on their own experiences in the early days of their careers. There is often a view that junior bankers must go through the ‘rite of passage’ as there was no fast-track process for those who have already progressed to senior positions.
Open to new ideas – a more productive future
In many cases, internal IT teams are responsible for the creation and management of existing tools and processes in place to help delivery teams do their jobs effectively. Suggesting new solutions can therefore be a difficult conversation to have given the resource and effort required to introduce any new software on a large scale.
The belief that the current infrastructure has worked for years, coupled with the fact it would take a mammoth effort to make wholesale changes, mean IT teams are often happy to accept a set-up that isn’t exactly what the end-users would need.
In recent years, employees have largely become more aware of alternate roles as perceptions of work-life balance and job satisfaction have shifted as a result of the pandemic. Therefore, productivity and employee wellbeing must be put at the forefront of the decisions made by leadership teams if they are to attract and retain the very best talent.
Changes for the better are happening in investment banking. With IT and delivery teams all pulling together in the same direction and recognising the roles they play in delivering value, it’s an industry more than capable of further improvements.