Kirstie MacGillivray, Head of Multi Asset Dealing & Trading, Aegon Asset Management
My key areas of focus for the desk:
One of my key focuses is moving to a hybrid working model and looking at how to best deliver that. I also would like to develop my team as, due to the pandemic, I haven’t been able to focus on this to the best of my ability. One of the key things about the physical office is the ability to sit, listen, absorb and learn.
Which focus area would you like to see progressed by the end of 2022?
I have a brilliant team and we will be looking at new technologies and improving execution. We will embrace the opportunity to automate more but will still be primarily a high touch desk cross asset class.
We want to keep abreast of new trends in fixed income as there are lots of new venues/ technologies coming through. We try to look at all technology out there and engage with the right ones; this will gather pace in 2022.
On the desk our trade monitoring is good, but we can always improve. TCA in fixed income still has a considerable way to go and I would like to do more on FI pre-trade TCA.
We are currently implementing Blackrock Aladdin, we should go live in the first half of 2022, so that is one of my key focuses.
Our industry as a whole needs to focus on diversity. As an organisation, we have established various working groups covering gender, race, disability, social mobility etc , all of which have a Management Board Sponsor. Improving D&I is one of our key company goals globally and it is exciting to see these initiatives gaining traction.
I am keen to promote social mobility as it is often forgotten about- your background need not define your career opportunities. We are involved in a mentoring programme for school children who are first generation in their families to attend university. We are also involved in a school outreach programme – to promote financial services as a career choice for females. We need to encourage more girls into the industry as a whole; we are poor as an industry in showing the multitude of opportunities available. I do think we need to continue the market hours debate allowing us the potential of attracting new talent with better hours and flexible working.
As an organisation we are passionate about responsible investing and creating sustainable funds. However, we understand we must also behave in a sustainable manner. I am excited to be part of the Sustainable Trading initiative- I am very optimistic about the change we will be able to bring into trading practises with our collective enthusiasm and knowledge.
At Aegon Asset Management we are adapting post lockdown to a different working pattern between home and office. In Scotland, we were slower to return to the office generally but for me social interaction is so important, and we only get that in the office. With SMCR as a manager I have an obligation to check in with my team and see them face to face. Post the pandemic we absolutely want a more flexible way of working, leveraging technology solutions to help that but, ultimately, we must retain face to face interaction. This is still a relationship business and the people in it are what makes it!