Platform for change

  • 11 December 2020
  • Blog | Professionalism and Ethics | Blog

This year’s Young Banker of the Year competition was quite different to the norm, but entrants stepped up to the challenge and adapted well to the virtual format. Members of the judging panel, including Simone Dettling, Banking Team Lead, United Nations Environment-Finance Initiative, were so impressed by the potential for the finalists’ ideas to drive wider change, that a special event was held on December 8 to showcase finalists’ ideas to a broad, global audience. Simone shares her reasons for introducing the event. 

"I was privileged to be one of the judges at the Young Banker of the Year 2020 final, but the ideas presented were so inspirational, with so much potential for banks around the world, that it was immediately clear that we needed to bring them to the attention of a much wider audience beyond the UK.  

The spread of topics and the different areas of innovation that the finalists’ ideas addressed was impressive. The winner, Tippie Malgwi, a Commercial Banker at Arbuthnot Latham & Co, had an idea to address the issue of serious illness, disability and mental health – something which a lot of banks based in countries with a rapidly ageing population, for example, are facing. It’s an area that’s often overlooked and so a new idea to approach that is particularly interesting.  

Sharing ideas globally 

Other ideas we saw presented in the final covered the topic of gender, climate and engaging SMEs in sustainability, and the notion of green spaces, which is interesting from the point of view of using greener surroundings to encourage a mindset that enables people to make better decisions, both internally and client-focused. Those are all ideas and inspiration we can build upon and because they are so diverse, I think that banks in any part of the world can find guidance in at least one of the four.  

The Institute is to be congratulated on continuing to provide a platform for young people from diverse backgrounds to share ideas that can shape the future of financial services. Showing people, especially young people, that there is space for, and enthusiasm and recognition of, ideas of how to do things differently and better is very important. For any bank around the world those are the kind of ideas that can drive the enthusiasm you need to cultivate if you want to change the way banking works, the culture and the mindset. It’s one of the pillars that supports the Principles for Responsible Banking. Banks are made up of people, and if those people can understand how their decisions relate to the economy, the environment, and feel empowered to have a positive impact, that’s how we can achieve the end goal. 

Harnessing the enthusiasm for change 

Listening to young people, who may lack experience, but can see things with a fresh eye is important in any industry. The finalists we’re showcasing here were all from UK banks, but when I think about the demographics of many of the developing countries we work with, a lot of the bank staff are younger and I’ve heard some quite amazing stories of innovation in what is often a very challenging context. By bringing together their enthusiasm, their local knowledge and their banking experience they can find solutions.  

I hope that through our special event, we will spread inspiration and even perhaps that some of those listening in may feel that some of the ideas resonate with them and could be applicable in their context. If the event can spark ideas, spread inspiration and start conversations, that in itself is quite powerful."

You can listen to the webcast here