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Investment banks need to shake up their culture and bring in new talent. Here's how.

Strange ways investment banks will be attracting talent

Offshoring is old hat. Internal mobility is a lot like hard work. The new thing investment banks need to start doing to bring in talent is ‘excubation’.

If this sounds like a term coined by a management consultant, that’s because it is. A broad ranging report on the future of investment banking by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants suggest that banks need to think about ‘excubation’ as one method to bring about much-needed cultural change.

This “offers the opportunity to benefit from an environment which is more prone to entrepreneurship. We believe that excubation can be implemented towards employees on a part time basis or to specific projects which would otherwise face significant internal hurdles to their development.”

In some ways, this is already happening, but is predictably restricted to technology. Wells Fargo, for example, has an in-house innovation team to work on exciting in-house tech projects, while HSBC has been building its digital team to work on initiatives that are cutting edge but may never make it past the compliance department.

Bringing in the sort of talent that gives banks the sort of agile culture needed to keep up with a rapidly changing landscape is hard. Banks are slow to innovate and internal bureaucracy certainly doesn’t foster an entrepreneurial environment. They need to do something.

Excubation is not the only strategy mentioned in the report, some of which are not great for job prospects. The report also recommends bringing in lateral hires from other industries, ‘proactive nearshoring’ of front office activities (following Deutsche Bank’s lead on Birmingham), reverse monitoring – pairing up executives with tech savvy generation Y employees – and internal mobility for talent-retention purposes and perhaps also for addressing the mercenary attitude in the sector.

AUTHORPaul Clarke

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