Lynn Robbroeckx, secretary general for financial development institution Luxembourg for Finance, pointed to the mismatch between current skills in Luxembourg and what is badly needed.
“Financial services play a crucial role in the world, whether it be the economic consequences of geopolitics, financing business growth, playing a key role in the transition to net zero. There are new innovations developing at an incredible pace of change and it changes the talent we need,” said Robbroeckx.
Michael Fox, head of securities services at JP Morgan, pointed to gaps in the areas of compliance, technology and the understanding of distributed ledger technology.
He also observed the trend that top tier tech companies like Amazon and Google are starting to rival traditional banks in providing payment solutions and asset management either through collaborating or building it out.
For Fox, getting the right people in Luxembourg is not just a demand issue. The supply side can also be given a boost.
“Tax incentives to encourage organisations to place product design and development on the ground [in Luxembourg] so that these roles are considered for Luxembourg rather than elsewhere would make a difference. We can work on the supply side [of offering the right job opportunities].”
Compliance and ESG
The experience in compliance is also relevant for environmental and social governance, said Sinor Chhor, the managing director of Nordea Investment Funds – although with added organisational understanding.
“A few years ago, a general understanding of regulations was necessary, now a deeper understanding of regulations is needed coupled with deep understanding of the organisation’s processes,” said Chhor.
While some skills can be addressed through upskilling, for example, teaching lawyers project management skills to have a more cohesive product offering, it is only part of the picture.
“We can build skills, buy skills [through recruitment] or borrow them [through outsourcing], said Pascal Denis, partner & chief strategy officer at consultancy Deloitte.
But he stressed that it’s the combination of deep technology skills as well as the human leadership skills that are so needed in the financial centre.
“A lawyer or banker must be tech savvy,” he said.
Steve Jacoby, regional managing partner for Continental Europe at Clifford Chance, noted that financial services law has increased exponentially in the past years, requiring technology to iron out processes.
“We now have data analysis for due diligence processes and automation for drafting contracts,” he said. Jacoby also stressed that lawyers do not need to be able to use the financial technology themselves, but need to have a deep enough understanding to fully appreciate the risks and to give legal advice to their financial clients accordingly.”
However, Ala Presenti, head of finance at Luxembourg Fintech Moniflo said one of the challenges of finding distributed ledger technology candidates was a requirement to work in Luxembourg.
“Other companies out there offer fully remote work. If we can’t close that gap people won’t choose to come to Luxembourg,” said Presenti.