In developing the Reframe Capital business plan, I thoroughly enjoyed thinking about what kind of name and brand best represents what we do, how we do it, who we are, what we represent to the market and what values we seek to embody.
As a business with investment solutions at the core, we needed a name that was distinctive but also descriptive. Reframing is the technique or strategy, used in psychology, to help create or prompt a different way of looking at a given situation or relationship by changing its meaning.
This strategy has direct application in the asset management industry, by enabling firms and their executives to visualise a new, and better, way of tackling an issue, of shaping their organisation, of engaging with their clients or developing their business.
What do we really stand for?
Now, 20 years ago, if you sought to express your firm’s values or mission statement, others would have criticised you for a soft side that has no place in the Darwinian world of high finance.
Fast forward to today, and values represent the standards that you should, and others most certainly will make you accountable to, uphold and rightly represent a fundamental aspect of any due diligence selection process.
“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ’em all over everything you do”.
At Reframe Capital, we believe it’s our responsibility to act upon the firm’s values, to prove them, to be a shining example of them. And it’s for this very reason I want to share what we believe in and what we want the business to stand for.
Supporting, enriching and empowering our clients and people
We operate in a relational industry, where our clients will look to us to empathise and understand their organisation as well as their needs, to bring new perspective in how those needs can be met, and then to lay out a roadmap, a vision for how to get there. That is critical to our success. Without trust and confidence in our ability to deliver first-class results, those who we serve will neither be prepared to adopt that vision nor motivated to work towards it.
But this same approach must equally apply to those within our organisation. They too have needs, hopes and ambition which must be nurtured through training, experience and a working culture that develops their confidence, their skills and provides opportunities for them to learn and succeed, which can only better equip them to serve our business and clients.
Respecting the opinions, perspectives and contributions of each individual
I recently saw the quote “Great moments are the work of many.” inscribed on the side of a London bus. Whilst one man or woman can be a central figure in historic events (in that case, Neil Armstrong famously stepping onto the moon’s surface), so many contribute to the achievement.
The recent launch of Reframe Capital was a momentous occasion for me, but there are so many who have generously offered their time, wise counsel and support in bringing the business to life. It has already been the work of many…and we’re just getting started.
And it’s that ability to see the value which each person contributes that informs our approach to doing business. That each client has a different view of where they are and where they want to go, that each team member has an idea of how to deliver on that vision (whether they’re the junior assistant or a partner), and only by acknowledging, assimilating and trusting those views can you add the greatest value.
Challenging conventional views, wisdom and direction
It’s easy to develop a jaded perspective of industry after 20 years operating within it. 20 years of unrelenting regulatory change, 20 years of policy implementation, red tape, politics, 20 years of gruelling battles with stakeholders who just nonchalantly tell you, “Sorry, the answer’s no. Why? I’m afraid it’s always just been that way.”
But escaping such a mindset, and natural prejudice, is the essence of entrepreneurial thought. Breaking with conventional views, seeing your own argument from the other side, being prepared to do things differently must be within the DNA of any business that aims at being a valued solutions provider.
Acting with honesty, integrity and transparency in pursuit of common goals
As a business, we strive for perfection but settle for excellence. But that excellence is more than just timely delivery on a project. It’s about maintaining a standard of conduct, recognising the importance of how our work is done, not just achieving results at any cost.
This is yet another value that represents not just how we work with clients, but also how we operate as a team. One is not truly possible without the other.
Imperfection means we won’t always get it right first time, but we’ll always accept responsibility for our actions, learn from them and come back better, stronger and wiser.
Recognising leadership and influence as both a privilege and responsibility
Reframe Capital is founded on the principle of servant leadership. We offer direction, but in sole pursuit of your aspirations. To be trusted to support your goals, help guide decisions about your future is recognised as it should be – with a sense of purpose, privilege and opportunity.
Upholding and celebrating equality, diversity and inclusion in every aspect of our business
This year, for me personally, has been a time for reflection and acknowledgment of the privileges and opportunities I’ve had as a middle-class white male. I’ve not had to strive to be listened to, to be accepted, to be treated fairly, to be paid equally, to fight against prejudice and be in fear of injustice. Many people I deeply respect, care for, have worked with and supported, have faced such battles their whole lives, and done so with great dignity, pride and resolution.
We will play our part, recognising the power of diversity in our industry, maintaining principles and policies that are built on respect and fairness for everyone, supporting initiatives that break down barriers, tackling prejudice and exclusion. But we will also listen, keep an open mind, actively engage with issues and people, accepting that there is always more to learn.
Sharing success with those less privileged than ourselves
Today, the asset management industry, somewhat inspired by the ESG revolution, accepts it has a broader responsibility, beyond financial results. It must serve as a provider of economic capital, and as a contributor towards social enterprise.
It’s with that sense of duty that we will serve community groups, pledge resources where they’re most needed, raise awareness of issues that our skills and capital can address, inspire others, all to achieve transformation, not just in our industry but also in society.
If we’re fortunate to have you as a client, I’m excited about what we can achieve together.