It was a strange start to 2016. On the 11th January, a rather famous British pop star passed away. It took me a while to post this, not because it took long to write, because it took a while to surface, to digest, to understand.
Public and personal
When I first heard the news, I didn’t get why it moved me personally. Bowie was a wonderful musician, probably a great guy, but honestly, I’d never met him, I didn’t know him. While I loved his music, that didn’t make me one of his biggest fans. Although, many people who mourned him like I did, didn’t know him either. The same for Alan Rickman. An actor I first saw on the big screen at 10-years old, as the Sherriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood. The perfect baddie. Bowie was, to a lot of people, the proof that you can be yourself while also being supremely successful. Bowie was always, 100%, Bowie, whatever that was, on any given day, or night. I think that’s what I loved about him.
Knowing the famous
Although it’s not quite true that we didn’t know Bowie, or Rickman. We self-evidently do know famous people, a bit. That’s what makes them famous. Sometimes it’s growing up with them, hearing their stories filtered through a million lenses, interviews, shows, lyrics. Or sometimes it’s watching them grow, feeling their artistic progression change with each new album, song, or screen adaptation, we get closer to them. We feel we understand them. We become connected to them because they remind us of our own lives, our own challenges, and fears. They teach us, or show us things under a new light, which broadens our horizons. Through their talents they help us to discover, to define, our own selves. Great artists share their learning through their art. They actually develop us, and themselves through their art too.
Life on Mars?
Elon Musk, the super entrepreneur / inventor was asked how he felt about companies like Instagram in comparison to his own SpaceX and Tesla businesses, businesses which aim to cut global warming or figure out how to land on Mars (just in case we should need to inhabit other planets one day). His response was that even if those companies are doing a little bit of good for people, that’s still great. Not everyone can be a Bowie. Or a Musk. And he’s right.
People always want to work in a useful profession. But is it really fair to say that some are more useful than others? Being a doctor, or working in charity are really good, helpful jobs to have. But not everyone can be that. Who would do all the other jobs that we have? Who would run our shops, look after our kids, or help us with our taxes? And when someone does that job really well, don’t you just notice it? Love it? Doesn’t it make your day? Because honestly, who knows how to do their own taxes, cut their own hair, invest their own money so that they can retire one day?! Even if you’re making a small difference in someone else’s life, that’s not nothing. That’s still doing a job, that’s help that person would not have had without you. You might not be famous, but you’re essential.
Asset Management and Society
Now I’m going to talk a bit more about our own dear industry, the Asset Management Industry. And maybe because I come from the ‘human’ side of it in HR, I am aware that the industry has done a fairly poor show of representing itself with those outside, up to today.
We have allowed journalists to speak for us, educate our target audience, and connect with our audience. Who is our audience? Anyone, and everyone, outside our industry! The papers haven’t been particularly skilled in representing us, and who can blame them, it’s a complicated business. Most people don’t understand who we are and how we work. They think we are in investment banking. Every panel I attend talks about ‘investor education’, but isn’t it our job to do the educating, if it’s our industry? Since moving to Luxembourg, my friends think I am here for tax reasons, the truth is we are the least tax efficient structure ever! No, I am here because for our clients, it’s the fastest, safest, and one of the most cost effective places to launch your fund, probably in the world. But nobody ever tells anyone outside the industry that, shame, don’t you think?
This year on Leap Day, the 29th February, there will be a private screening in Luxembourg for those passionate about asset management’s link to our society, to come together and talk about the impact that asset management can have on our World. We will be launching a new online channel called FundsTV, the link will only be available to you on the day, (please sign up to this blog).
There you will find inspiration, stories, and education from some of the most prominent and promising members of the industry today. Remember, it’s just a start, so don’t expect Khan Academy-type material, but if you come and take a leap with us I promise you will not be disappointed.
We can all be heroes, just for one day.
What d’you say?