The world of financial services (FS) is changing rapidly and requires new ways of working for organisations to be successful; this depends on innovation and collaboration.

The FS People Innovation Forum, held earlier this February in London, brought together more than two dozen senior HR leaders from leading FS institutions to explore the topic of ‘Digital: The Impact for HR and the Workforce in Financial Services.’

The event, which was hosted by Peter Cheese, Chief Executive for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and Andy Young, Accenture’s FS Talent & Organisation Lead, provided an opportunity for FS leaders to debate and share their experiences with their peers. 

Andy Young spoke about how the world of work and the FS industry has been disrupted by regulation, technology, politics, economics, cost pressures and customer expectations. He emphasised the impact of changing technology on the workplace including the increasing use of robotics and AI, the shift to the cloud, and the rise of analytics and big data. He also described the changing workforce (e.g. having four generations in the workforce at once, consumer expectations entering the workplace, pressures for new digital skills). 

“All these things create a rapidly changing world for HR in financial services and the need for a shared dialogue about how to handle these changes in the best ways for people, business and society,” he said.

Peter Cheese talked about how this was a time for HR in financial services to step up and take the lead and help the business navigate through the disruption. He made it clear that HR needed to make sure that the initiatives and strategies are outcomes focused and backed up by data and hard evidence. 

“At the same time, we need to ensure that we are managing this data appropriately and in a manner that doesn’t break the trust of our employees,” he said, stressing the on-going importance of culture and how this needs to be driven by principles and behaviour, not lengthy policies. 

At the end of an excellent event sparking lots of debate and sharing of experiences, the message was clear that our world is changing rapidly and there has never been a more interesting time to be a HR professional in financial services. 

The next innovation forum will focus on ‘The Impact of Robotics and AI on the Workforce and Enterprise,’ and will be held in London in May. For more information, please contact Carys Foster ( and Jess Sturgeon (

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