Life started to feel normal in May. A couple of trips into the City to meet contacts provided the inspiration which had been so lacking during lockdown. Wandering around the Square Mile made me think of the challenges posed by the new world of hybrid work and inspired this article. With the pandemic starting to recede, I was galvanised into writing the first chapter of series examining the impact of Brexit on financial services. And I also started an array of articles aiming to resolve the confusion surrounding sustainable investing. The arrival of the sun over the Bank Holiday bolstered my sense of well-being and drove my enthusiasm for future projects.

Welcome to the hybrid workplace

As the pandemic recedes, professional and financial service firms are planning a new hybrid world of work where employees will combine working from home with days in the office. This post examines four key challenges and trends. The video conference is here to stay as it makes meetings more democratic and inclusive. The nature of the working day will change depending on whether workers are at home in the office. It’s uncertain whether allowing staff to choose which days they are in the office or creating rota will prove to be more effective at ensuring staff can maximise relationships. Managing a hybrid workforce could also prove challenging.

Brexit and financial services

While plenty of column inches have been written about the effect of leaving the EU on goods trade, less attention has been paid to the impact on financial services. This series aims to examine the impact on the key sectors – asset management, banking and insurance. But before delving into the nitty gritty, this piece sets the scene by explaining how three out of the four freedoms are essential for the single market in services to function and how services need to be defined before they are sold. These definitions require a regulatory framework which then allows products to be passported around the EEA.

What is sustainable investing?

Whenever a new investment trend emerges, asset managers can be relied on to develop a terminology which hinders rather than aids understanding. Sustainable investing is no exception. This article aims to provide greater clarity. It starts by looking at how investing to benefit people and the planet combines two previously mutually exclusive goals – generating returns and philanthropy. These two unrelated targets have now been turned into a spectrum of capital, covering a range of different investing options and philosophies. The piece also explains the tools available to asset managers to achieve these goals.

Summer plans

I’m looking forward to spending my summer arranging more face-to-face meetings with contacts who I haven’t seen for more than a year. I will also be continuing my Brexit and financial services series as well as explaining more about the intricacies and challenges of sustainable investing. If you would like to catch up for a coffee or talk about a project you have been mulling, please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

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