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Finance: Manager Or Rocket Scientist?

Significant investments should also be made towards their professional and career development through a robust training and development framework

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Finance has a key role to play in the long-term economic growth and development of a nation. A robust financial system therefore must provide to people and business savings, investments and other financial products and services that are reliable and affordable.

The global financial crisis shook the world of finance and the public’s confidence in it. In its wake, there has been a closer scrutiny of the financial system and debate whether the world of finance needs managers or rocket scientists. It is a debate that will help shape the future of the financial system, restore public trust and improve resilience.

While finance has a role to play in the lives of people and businesses, formal financial services are not accessible to all, which forces outliers to turn to riskier methods that are also expensive. Rocket scientists and managers have an important role to play in this regard, as both work together to develop innovative financial models / products, technologies and services that enable firms to undertake financial inclusion while generating profits and managing risks effectively.
Rocket scientists through their ability to design and implement complex models / products / services enable financial institutions to generate profits and reduce risk. In this era of big data, they are helping companies to recognise the need for better intelligence and insight about their business, thus helping managers to make the best decisions.

In contrast, managers through their understanding of products, customer relationships, desire to go the extra mile and get the job done play a critical role in defining the success of an organisation. Their facility for identifying issues and bottlenecks along with the ability to think out-of-the-box for innovative financial solutions provide the necessary inputs to rocket scientists to work upon and significantly improve their work.

This makes it imperative for financial institutions to build a pool of finance managers and rocket scientists to effectively meet their larger objective of wealth creation for stakeholders and shield the sector from global trends like constant change and evolution. Towards this, firms should strike a balance between the right number of finance managers and rocket scientists. They should also attract best talent with both quantitative and managerial skills; retain them to ensure sustainable growth by following progressive employee-centric policies and practices to effectively meet business needs and individual aspirations.

Significant investments should also be made towards their professional and career development through a robust training and development framework. It can be a blend of classroom, online and on the job training to align them to individual career paths and business needs of an organisation.

These are exciting and challenging times for the world of finance. Many financial institutions are concentrating on ways to improve their game. What the world of finance needs today is professionals with a good blend of quantitative and managerial skills so that s/he could apply these to solve problems facing organisations and help them in achieving their larger objective, which is to create wealth for their stakeholders. And for that reason, finance managers and rocket scientists are not mutually exclusive but complementary to each other.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Rajendra Mehta

The author is head of Human Resource at DHFL

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