Why we’ve launched ’31 Reasons to be Excited for the Future’

As Global Custodian invites you to submit a nomination for something the industry should look forward to in the future, our editor Jonathan Watkins, explains the thinking behind the launch.

If there was ever a time to inject some optimism into the world it is now. Along with worries about the actual coronavirus itself, for many of us the transition to remote working paired with the restrictions on travel, socialising and seeing friends and family has been a difficult one. Of the people I’ve spoken to, however, there have been many who have seen positives to this crisis, like spending more time with their children, pets or wine collections. “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn the light on,” as Albus Dumbledore once said.

The asset servicing business seems to have done a splendid job in coming through for their clients during a tough period, passing the test of a lifetime – or at least this decade. In a non-financially-related financial crisis, the world is looking to banks and service providers, who have faced their fair share of criticism in the past. The crisis has shown us that teams have been able to work remotely, business continuity plans were in place and some of the regulatory-mandated changes that followed 2008 may have put the industry in a better position to handle this new crisis.

Concepts such as environmental, social and governance (ESG) appear to be proving their worth during the turbulent market environment, while some will be reaping the rewards of shifts to cloud technologies and automation, along with robust cyber security safeguards. Much of which was absent in 2008. Outsourcing is set for a boom, while the need for new technologies maybe be more apparent than ever. Talk of a ‘new normal’ could mean a whole new way of working, meaning securities services firms will have to adapt, something they’ve been quick to recognise in the past when it comes to their business models.

The end of the first quarter – and probably the entirety of the second – will have proved challenging, but the overwhelming positivity we felt when speaking to people across the securities services world in recent weeks gave us the idea to launch the ’31 Reasons to be Excited for the Future’. We wanted to follow up our ’30 People to Shape the Future’ initiative in some form, after the positive feedback we received, and we couldn’t be happier to launch this search in our 31st year.

We have some ideas of our own for this list, but we’re keen to hear from you on what you think the best things are in our future as a securities services industry. We’ve suggested these nominations fall under either projects, collaborations, events, technologies, products or companies, but you can suggest reasons which fall into different categories. The form shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to fill out and we’ll publish the list in our summer magazine, due to hit desks in early July.

Much like you, Global Custodian has tried to adapt during this time in the absence of travel, networking and industry events. We’ve launched new video series, podcasts and digital magazines, while hosting a number of webinars, which we hope you’ve found insightful. All of this has been born out of the conversations and feedback we’ve had from you – our audience – and your enthusiasm and positivity has been the catalyst for these launches. As always stay in touch, and do nominate something you feel extremely positive about in our ’31 Reasons to be Excited for the Future’ campaign.