Money managers like to say that finance is a "people business." The best deals get done in person over lunch or hashing out details around a conference table. The relationship building that happens over client dinners or during site visits can determine who is the first call for a new piece of business.
The pandemic upended all that and for the past 15 months, the faces of finance have mainly only been seen via Zoom. Now, with vaccines widely available and lower transmission rates of COVID-19 — at least in the U.S. — money managers are deciding how much face time is really necessary. It's early yet, but a consensus is building around continuing work from home. A recent survey from the CFA Institute reported that 81% of finance employees want to work from home at least part of the time.
When money managers shifted to remote work in response to the pandemic, it wasn't easy. There were business continuity considerations, cybersecurity issues and technology needs that all came into play. Some firms had already experimented with virtual teams and flexible work environments. The lessons learned from those trials informed plans that eventually became the day-to-day playbook for remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For others, it was a trial by fire. Now, more than a year in, firms have gotten into a routine and few employees are willing to give it up to go back to eating a $16 salad in Midtown five days a week.