IIMI survey reveals 70% of members have already returned to the office

by | Jul 22, 2021

A new survey conducted by Independent Investment Management Initiative (IIMI), the boutique asset management think tank formerly known as New City Initiative (NCI), reveals that 70% of its members have already returned to the office in some capacity, with a further 18% intending to do so during the Summer, and 10% by Autumn. 

The full results of the survey, which was conducted among IIMI’s diverse membership to find out about boutique asset managers’ preparations for returning to the office, are included in IIMI’s latest blog “Getting back into the office: Boutiques lead the way”.

Other key highlights include:

Attitudes towards flexible working:

  • 77% of firms said they planned to adopt a flexible working approach; 6% confirmed they would not do so
  • Of the firms which said they would adopt flexible working:
    • 51% plan to let their employees work from home 1-2 days per week
    • 32% said they would allow staff to work from home 2-3 days/week
    • 16% of members are open to letting employees work from home 4-5 days/week
  • Of the firms who are reticent about introducing flexible working:
    • 28% cited productivity concerns as the primary reason for being sceptical
    • 28% warned it could have an adverse impact on training

Attitudes towards vaccinations/testing:

  • 56% of IIMI members said they would not make it mandatory for staff to be either tested and/or vaccinated
  • 20% said staff must be regularly tested but not necessarily vaccinated
  • 7% will insist that employees be regularly tested and fully vaccinated; 2% said they are currently unsure
  • Of those firms which will not require staff to be fully vaccinated or regularly tested:
    • 27% said indirect discrimination risk was an issue
    • 23% said such a policy would pose serious ethical concerns

IIMI will be conducting qualitative interviews with its membership about their post-COVID-19 working practices in the next few weeks. The findings of this more detailed paper will be published in the early Autumn.

Nick Mottram, Chairman of the Independent Investment Management Initiative, comments:

“After 18 months of stop-start lockdown restrictions, financial institutions – including asset managers – are busy assessing the logistics of bringing their staff back into the office once again. Boutique firms appear to be leading the charge here, with 70% of our members saying they have already returned in some capacity.

While the majority of our members have said that they will be adopting some form of flexible working approach, some firms have voiced concern that staff training and the ability to innovate are not as conducive when performed behind a webcam or through intermittent attendance in the office.

What is clear is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution: the process of bringing employees back into the office will not be straightforward, and a number of ethical issues remain unanswered, such as treating vaccinated and unvaccinated staff differently. We will be speaking with our member firms about their post-COVID-19 working practices in the next few weeks, and look forward to communicating our findings in due course.” 

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