Members will recall that when the joint venture between Lloyds and Schroders was announced a few years ago, we reported that when addressing a group of advisers, one regional manager said: “the hounds will be set free”. He then went on to explain that because there would be less regulatory scrutiny and supervision of the Schroders business by the FCA – with the new business moving from a risk category 1 to a risk category 3 – it could be more creative in the products it produced for customers but more importantly, and this was the real point the regional manager was seeking to make, advisers would be less encumbered by the rules imposed on a bank. Now that almost all of the Lloyds wealth business has been successfully transferred, are the predictions of the past going to become the reality of the future for the Schroders’ staff that are left?
How are the changes announced last week going to affect the culture at Schroders going forward? Is it going to be a different place to work because of the redundancies? Will the fact you are ‘front book’ or ‘back book’ change the way you are managed? To say the redundancy announcement came out of the blue, is a massive understatement. When 25% of the workforce is culled in one announcement, those who are left are rightly concerned about their own futures. Many of the advisers that are leaving still haven’t been told how they were selected, although many, but by no means all, are just happy to be leaving on the agreed severance terms.
Whether it’s ‘Hunters’, ‘Gatherers’, ‘Farmers’ or ‘Trappers’ in the ‘front’ and ‘back books’, does the reorganisation signal that Schroders is going back to the bad old days of targets – however those target metrics are defined – and will we swing back to a more permissive culture? We don’t think it will but, and this is a big but, things are going to get more difficult and uncomfortable for the staff that are left behind. Even if he wanted to, the new Chief Executive of SPW will not be able to go back to the bad old days. Lloyds Banking Group is still the majority shareholder and it won’t want its brand dragged through the mud. Equally, the new Group Chief Executive, Charlie Nunn, who was the global head of personal banking and wealth management for HSBC, may have a different view about how he wants this important part of the business to develop.
We have always maintained that ‘targets’ or ‘personal objectives’ are one thing but it’s how staff are managed that determines the culture of the organisation.
Is performance management going to be binary: either you achieve your performance objectives, or you don’t? If you don’t achieve those objectives, which for most Schroders staff will be about growing their bit of the business, then not only will you not get any bonuses, but the fear is that staff will be managed out of the business altogether. Life is going to get more uncomfortable for a lot of staff and it’s important that members speak to us about any performance issues as soon as possible. We can do more to protect members, if we are involved much earlier than is usually the case.
Members with any questions can contact the Union’s Bedford Office on 01234 262868 (Chose Option 1) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Union membership has never been as important as it is going to be in Schroders. Staff have a choice: join a union that’s seen by Schroders as a soft touch, ineffective and lazy or one that fights for its members tooth and nail. You’ve made the right choice, but we want your colleagues to have the opportunity to do the same. I would be grateful if you could pass this Newsletter to anyone you think might be interested in joining the biggest independent union in Schroders, Lloyds and TSB. (Please click here to join.)