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DEC 09, 2021

Challenges our industry faced in 2021

Alexander Cassar

Chief Business Operation Officer

Reading time: 2 min


I believe Objectway is a software company, thus belonging to the IT industry, which always has its own challenges and 2021 was no exception. Technology vendors, however, can never be detached from the businesses they serve. In our case, a strong focus in Private Wealth places us within the challenging orbit of that industry – our clients’ challenges are our own. What is more – our raison d’être is to address their challenges and we are responsible for helping private bankers and wealth managers resolve them


The single word to characterise the outgoing year could be ‘uncertainty’. It manifested everywhere: globally and locally, in business and politics, in all economy sectors and in the financial markets.

Financial markets don’t like uncertainty. Private Bankers and Wealth Managers depend on financial markets to manage the private wealth of their clients. Wealthy clients like uncertainty even less. At the start of the year, it seemed the economies of developed countries were about to overcome the hit they took in 2020 from the effects of COVID-19. But, come the end of 2021, and we are none the wiser about interest rates, scary inflation, or stock market ups and downs. Our reaction to this is to equip Private Bankers and Wealth Managers with better portfolio management solutions, especially better risk management tools to address the higher risks of current times.


Another challenge was the increased risk of cyber-attacks and privacy breaches. It’s a challenge everywhere, we’ve seen attacks on online retailers and energy companies alike, but in the Private Wealth it is more acute, because the sector’s clients have a lot more to lose.

A comprehensive response to this includes tightening regulatory measures, internal company policies, and enhanced, intelligent technology solutions for access control, identity verification, and secure communications.


This year we saw a massive new wave of interest in responsible investment: the ESG trends of previous years culminated in becoming not just mainstream, but a predominant requirement of many private bank and wealth manager clients. Helping technology users answer those needs has also become our priority in portfolio management and advisory solutions. The climate action commitments of world leaders at the recent summit in Scotland mean this trend will only grow.

Another strong trend is the expectation for enhanced customer experiences. Remote operations brought in 2020 by the pandemic were the wake-up call, but by now most clients expect engagement with superb real-time, hyper-personalised interactions on any channel of their choice. And they will not be comparing one bank with another bank but with their experience with Gucci Rolex or Emirate Airlines’ 1st class. Or with some of the digital-only challengers, who are causing incumbent institutions some sleepless nights. Therefore, as a vendor, we have chosen to focus on client engagement, relationship building and exceeding expectations.


Another trend in 2021 was the unusually high attrition and migration of qualified workforces. In Private Wealth it was recognised that, despite advanced intelligent technologies, competitive edge comes from high-quality human staff, be it in professional investment management, or in empathetic customer advice and service. We are seeing frequent poaching by institutions in the sector of the cream of their competitors’ employees, and the ‘new normal’ operating models (optimising the balance of office teamwork and remote operations) means the workforce reshuffle is far from over and will continue well into next year and beyond.

Technology companies, and we are not an exception, also feel the acute need for talent acquisition, both in capacity and in quality and skills. Accelerating digitisation of Private Wealth and the needs of our clients means we have to ramp-up our development and support capabilities and… yes, we are hiring (just check our website for vacancies).


Having successfully navigated through the challenging waters of 2021 we feel well positioned to meet any new challenges next year and, hopefully, capitalise on a stabilisation of the economy and markets as the world exits the pandemic stress. We look forward to 2022 ..  bring it on!