Executives in financial services and superannuation funds  are “chronically stressed” and internal teams are showing wear and tear according to Kamal Sarma, a consultant and personal coach.

“We’re seeing people struggle to keep up with level of intensity required of them. A lot of people are overwhelmed by it,” said Sarma, who provides coaching seminars through his company Rezilium.

He is seeing higher levels of stress in the wake of increased work levels since the global financial crisis (GFC), which has come at the cost of both work and personal relationships.

“A lot of people in the industry are struggling in their personal relationships, and that’s having ramifications at work. That ties into the trend we’re seeing of people being able to deal with acute and short term external issues, but struggling to resolve longer term, chronic issues,” he says.

His findings show internal teams undermined by poor communication, particularly colleagues failing to address issues with one another sooner and in clear and concise language.

“Issues get bigger and bigger without being resolved and undermine the entire team. We refer findings from a group called R U OK?, showing that 49 per cent of people would rather leave their job than have those difficult conversations, so it’s something worth spending the time on.”

Sarma, who is presenting at FEAL’s national conference held in Sydney on August 7, is introducing executive teams to techniques that involve established frameworks for conversations and shared vocabulary. He says these tactics can unveil the deeper and often interpersonal issues rarely talked about.

“This industry is unique in that it’s so information intensive, it’s easy to get stimulus overload from having to be across so many industries and moving parts of the economy.  But you can’t control those factors, whereas you are much closer to your team and have much more potential to control that.”

One comment on “Stress endemic among super executive teams”
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    Not surprising. Resourcing levels tend to be lower in Australia compared with the ambitions of their boards. The Canadians who undertake full-scale in sourced investment teams typically back up their effort with comprehensive back, middle and support teams as well as quality in-house legal teams, not to mention experienced investment professionals rather than just buying in ex asset consultant theoreticians or calling their erstwhile fund administrator a “CIO”. The industry has changed in complexity and scope – Boards should understand the implications of their ambitions and funds should think very carefully about adequate resourcing both in terms of number and quality (and the cost trade off must be conscious and make sense). It’s other people’s money…. You have a duty of care.

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