March 2020: The Power of Purpose

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in Newsletters

Recently BCG offered an interesting insight into harnessing the Power of Purpose, and we considered this an area that many companies within financial services have focused on over the past decade. Nowhere has the power of purpose been harnessed as effectively as the Australian superannuation industry. Within the rapidly growing Australian asset owner industry there has been a strong focus on creating a powerful brand identity with each of the super funds. Each brand identity is hinged to a macro ‘purpose’, that is historically linked to their founding member groups. This connection to purpose allows these funds to define their mission, vision and purpose. This creates investment alignment and helps the firm to broaden away from their traditional member base to attract other customers and corporates to their brand and purpose alignment. Each super fund is seeking to define their brand and purpose. Further, they are seeking to align their investment philosophy, corporate partnerships, and especially their internal staffing philosophy back to this core purpose and brand identity. From HESTA to AustralianSuper to Cbus, each Australian superannuation fund is pursuing brand identity and harnessing the power of purpose, in their own way.

If we review the power of purpose, we could also consider that the investment banking community suitably reviewed and recalibrated their ‘purpose’ post-GFC. Indeed, governments and regulators forced this recalibration away from profit as the primary motivator. This led to a realignment of values from the major IBs and a consideration of ‘purpose’ from 2009 onwards. Wealth management firms for many years have focused on increased alignment with clients goals, and in a way this has enabled firms to create purpose through fulfilment of client goals. Further, private wealth clients are increasingly seeking firms with a sense of purpose, and this is reflected in strong brand identity within wealth management with an element of purpose as the focus. We can also clearly view the increased focus on philanthropy with leading private wealth firms as an obvious sign that a focus on purpose helps to attract and engage private wealth clients.

Purpose is logically a powerful motivator for staff, and an important consideration for us in a recruitment context, in engaging with our clients and candidates. Firms with strong brand identity, including an engaging corporate purpose, are better able to hire, retain and motivate staff to reach higher levels of performance. In a world of increased corporate social responsibility, those firms that are better able to harness the power of purpose will succeed.

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