A steady stream of new regulations are making the industry more vulnerable, says PA Consulting's innovation and fintech expert Lan-Ling Fredell in Realtime's summer series. Ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections, she hopes that politicians will take a break from imposing new regulations.
What have you prioritized in your professional role in the first half of the year?
- To work out how I can best support the teams I am responsible for. Apart from that, of course, the business value I deliver to the customer and to my employer is central. As a leader, it is important to have a strategy and to keep track of risks and needs that continuously arise in my team's delivery work. But given that most people are still working from home, providing emotional support such as showing appreciation for the team has been more important than ever. In practice, it is about being there for everyone but also showing examples of their own vulnerability to encourage an open and humane climate at work.
Something that surprised you, person or event - and how?
- The financial market crash of 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic did not surprise me at all, but on the other hand, the subsequent recovery was a big surprise. The second surprise is how long some of the more irrational behaviour has stuck in the financial market - to such an extent that I even questioned whether the behaviour is irrational or not.
How do you see the current market situation? What were the biggest pleasures and worries during the first half of the year?
- I actually mostly liked working from home. It was so convenient to be able to get out of bed late, check my work schedule on the way to the shower and then be "at work" in my dining room with a cup of coffee 15 minutes later. The negative was that I was worried about how long the pandemic would last, which among other things showed in the way I was almost obsessed with keeping track of the vaccination statistics.
What will be the biggest pleasures and worries in the coming six months?
- I feel hopeful now that the rollout of vaccinations has taken off at the same time as various places have opened up and life is starting to return to normal. However I’m still quite worried about dealing with the pandemic and its after effects.
What is the most important thing you learned during the pandemic?
- A reminder of what is most important in life - family and friends. But also the importance of keeping a balance by maintaining their social network. Also the need to relax as it has a huge impact on your well-being.
What do you think exists after the pandemic (changed ways of working, working tools, ways of thinking)?
- I hope that the benefits of working remotely will open up greater flexibility around giving people the choice to work from home or from the office in the future. But at the same time, I think many people missed the office and the sense of community that a workplace still creates. Ultimately, human relationships are something we all long for, even if the need is different for different individuals.
There is a year and a half left until the next parliamentary election: which political issue will have the greatest significance for the financial industry and for your business?
- My hope is that politicians take a break from developing new regulations that affect financial market players. The financial industry is one of the most regulated in the world and for good reasons. But unfortunately, a steady stream of new regulations makes the industry more vulnerable. The banks have difficulty in keeping up with and implementing the new regulatory requirements and are, in some cases, forced to come up with quick and less well-thought-out solutions. What banks need today is a respite from all that to give them the opportunity to prioritise strategic decisions, including around outdated technology that forms the backbone of the business.
How are you relaxing this summer?
-I fly to San Francisco to be with my family who live there. I hope that my children will be vaccinated, to eat good food and hug my family and friends as much as possible.
I have just finished two really good books that provided a context and inspiration for how I can help my clients with their digital journey: Enterprise Architecture as Strategy, by Ross, Weill and Robertson. The title is very dry but it is about how you can integrate technology in your company, in your business model and in your way of working. It is based on extensive data in research and case studies that provide examples. The Technology Fallacy by Kane, Phillips, Copulsky and Andrus. A book that highlights that successful digitalisation is more about people and their way of thinking and less about technology itself. Business executives and the C-Suite should definitely read these!
What is the best book / non-fiction book of all time that has helped you in your profession or leadership?
- There are too many fantastic books that deal with different aspects of the things that I work with, so why choose just one?
How are you preparing for the autumn of 2021? Which issues will be the most important in your role during the autumn? For your business?
- I try to focus on the things that never change - leadership, strategy, monitoring market trends and all aspects of learning. That way I am ready to react when things change and that is the same advice I give my customers.