Upskilling Wealth and Financial Managers to the Digital Age

PwC’s survey of CEOs in the financial services industry suggests that there’s a skill shortage when it comes to digital technology — 54% of respondents said skills shortages get in the way of their firms’ ability to innovate. On the other side of the workplace coin, 68% of employees said they’re dissatisfied with technology offerings at their workplaces. Financial firms need upskilled workers, and their employees want education and growth. 

Clearly, there is opportunity here. 

As financial firms respond to fee compression, increased competition and client attrition influenced by wealth transfer, more are adopting financial technology solutions, which come with the need to add skills to their workforces. In order to attract and retain talent, firms need to embrace technology and provide training for the hard and soft skills that employees want and need. 

Benefits of Upskilling Employees

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 7% growth in demand for jobs in financial services over the next decade, which is faster than average expected growth across all industries ( The BLS attributes the growth to the economic health in the U.S. in particular, as well as increasingly complex compliance issues, and — thanks to fintech influence — growing need for people who understand data. 

So, in a hiring environment that is intensely competing for top talent, your firm needs to stand out as a workplace that fosters education and career growth. You also need to show that you’ve future-proofed your business so your workforce can grow, rather than become obsolete.     

What is Upskilling in the Financial Sector?

Upskilling means not only adding skills to your existing workforce, but also providing ongoing training for existing and new employees so they can build on their existing skills and experiences. Sometimes upskilling is used interchangeably with reskilling, which, technically, is different. Reskilling is adding new knowledge and experience. 

HR firm Robert Half says these five areas of technology will have the biggest impact on how people work: automation, artificial intelligence, augmented/virtual/mixed reality, cloud computing and the Internet of Things. 

Upskilling (or reskilling) in the financial sector includes:

  • Cybersecurity training for front, middle and back-office operations
  • Technical training to work alongside robo advisors, artificial intelligence and machine learning to use data gathered from those tools to make decisions on behalf of investors
  • Analytic and strategic training to work with virtual data warehouses, extract data, build models and make data-driven business decisions
  • Building soft skills, such as communications skills, diversity sensitivity, leadership skills and relationship-building, which are key to job growth because these skills can’t be assumed by machines (at least, not yet) 

Interestingly, the Robert Half survey of managers in the U.S. and Canada suggests that business leaders don’t see technology as making human resources obsolete. When asked how they see technology affecting jobs, these were among their top responses:

  • Employees will need to acquire new skills.
  • Technology will enhance worker productivity.
  • Technology will also allow teams to focus more on strategic areas.
  • It will create new opportunities for staff and replace routine activities. 

How to Upskill — Best Sources for Financial Firms

As soon as you start searching for upskilling content, you’ll likely be inundated by information from universities, web-based education platforms and tech firms who are vying for your corporate training dollars. 

We bucket education partners into three types — technology partners, higher education partners and online course-based partners. 

Technology partners for upskilling

First and foremost, your technology partner should provide you and your employees with training on their software or platform. For example, our Design-Perform-Manage methodology includes a commitment to our clients that we help build trust and embrace technology throughout their entire organization. How does this happen? Through education, training and inclusion throughout the technology innovation experience.

Higher education partners

Many universities and colleges have executive education, corporate training and certificate programs in financial technology. Some offer out-of-the-box solutions that your employees can sign up for and complete at their own pace, while others offer custom solutions or blends of boxed-custom curricula. 

For example, Wharton (University of Pennsylvania)  offers an online four-part course on fintech, while eCornell (Cornell University) offers a variety of online certificate programs for things like data analytics, blockchain essentials and fintech. Purdue University Global offers financial services employee training that combines classroom curriculum with custom-developed training sessions tailored to specific organizations. 

These are just a few examples of well-known universities that offer online training for financial services firms. Empaxis doesn’t endorse any — we recommend that you review several, compare their offerings, read the reviews, narrow your list to two or three and then ask to see demos of the learning platforms.

MOOCs: Massive open online course providers

Edx, Coursera, Lynda/LinkedIn Learning, and Udemy are some of the largest massive open online course (MOOC) providers. MOOCs are all over the internet, and some are better than others. Some are free, while others are fee-based. In our experience, you get what you pay for — do your homework, read user reviews and ask lots of questions before you sign your firm up for a MOOC partnership. 

  • edX has 2,500 and growing free and fee-based online courses from 140+ universities, including Harvard, UC Berkeley, MIT and more. You can take courses a la carte or customize course offerings for your business.
  • Coursera and edX are direct competitors with very similar, if not identical offerings from many well-respected universities and brands that include Google and IBM. They offer limited free courses, as well as monthly subscriptions, certificate programs and online degrees.
  • is now part of LinkedIn Learning, which is based on a monthly subscription that offers unlimited access to course content. Their content library is large — you’ll find more than 150 courses on spreadsheets alone. You can let employees select their own courses, or you can create structured programs customized to career paths.
  • Udemy offers over 100,000 video courses on a slew of topics that include fintech. Their courses start at $12.99, and they also offer partnership opportunities for businesses. 

Barriers to Upskilling

When asked what gets in the way of upskilling or retraining teams to learn new technologies, managers in the U.S. and Canada said (1) their teams are resistant to change, (2) new technologies are difficult to integrate with legacy systems and processes, (3) cost, and (4) insufficient training for employees (RobertHalf).

A turnkey asset management platform is so named because it addresses all of those concerns — once your team sees how user-friendly it is and how well it integrates with or replaces existing systems, their objects are moot.

Download our eBook, “Why move from client-server portfolio accounting software to a TAMP,” to learn more about ditching legacy software and opting for PaaS solutions.

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