Monthly Archives: August 2013

Category: Client Forum

An Original Thought Leader

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Old BooksOne of the more widely referenced concepts in the Finance industry is “Thought Leadership”. By providing “Thought Leadership” to existing and potential clients, firms seek to expand areas of differentiation beyond more traditional means, such as product or service.

While Thought Leadership is not a new concept, the growth of the internet and electronic communication has provided firms an opportunity to efficiently disseminate topical information to target audiences. At Boston Financial, our “Perspectives” series highlights areas where we have insight or expertise on a particular topic of interest.

Long before the concept came into vogue, someone who was a thought leader for our industry was Robert Pozen, former Chairman of MFS Investment Management and Vice Chairman of Fidelity Investments. For nearly every significant topic roiling the mutual fund industry during the past twenty years, Bob has consistently been at the forefront of the discussion.

Bob, now a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and a senior fellow at Brookings Institute, has published dozens of articles, books, and opinion/editorials on subjects such as Money Market Reform, Social Security Reform, Corporate Board Oversight, and the bailouts of the financial institutions. His works have been widely praised for their originality of thought and for focusing on solutions that carry a long-term benefit versus simply patching up a problem.

Most recently, Bob has published “Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours”.  As the title suggests, the book provides guidance, based on Bob’s forty years of industry experience, on how to optimize productivity without “living” at the office.

Boston Financial was delighted when Bob agreed to speak at our 2013 Client Forum regarding his book and the key concepts gleaned from his lifetime in our industry.

Earlier this summer (in the aftermath of the Bruins losing the Stanley Cup), I had the opportunity to read Bob’s book. Based on this read, I can confidently submit that anyone who reads the book will come away with significant knowledge to apply to both their daily routine and longer term career aspirations. After completing the book, my initial area of focus has been applying the OHIO principle (especially to email). While I found that changing my existing habits was a challenge, I have definitely made progress in this area during the past few months.

As Boston Financial celebrates our 40th year, it seems appropriate that Bob Pozen, who has been an industry leader for much of our corporate existence, joins us for part of the celebration. We are looking forward to hearing Bob’s thoughts on productivity based on his vast industry experience at the 2013 Client Forum.

Category: Associate Development and Engagement

Another Reason I am Sad About the End of Summer

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It’s that time of year when our summer interns are packing up and getting ready to go back to school. They are cleaning out their desks and smiling more. I know the end is near and it’s sad.

Boston Financial has opened their doors to both formal – Year Up and Boston Private Industry Council – and informal – “hey my kid is looking for a job this summer” – internships. And, we have benefited greatly from both types of internships.

From my employer viewpoint, there are two key benefits to summer internships:

  • Gaining access to recent academic experience and research and
  • Resources to accelerate projects.

Here are a few practical examples of how our interns helped us take our ideas to implementation.

Our corporate marketing intern, Rebekah Darsch, helped us with the implementation of our internal and external social media program. She developed, designed and delivered a Twitter training program for our executives – highlighting the value of Twitter in today’s social world and setting up their accounts.

Kevin Narine, our web development intern, has been with us for two summers. For our annual client conference, he supported the implementation of a conference app.  Of course, he made the whole process look very easy because it was for him!

What’s Their Perspective?

This is what they told me.

RebekahRebekah Darsch: Corporate Marketing Intern – Emerson College Class of 2014

Although learning from textbooks and lectures is beneficial, some of the most important skills are learned outside of the classroom. My internship has given me the opportunity to experience working in a professional setting. As a Communication major, there are various career routes I can take and this internship has allowed me to test drive a potential option. This opportunity will undoubtedly lead me in the right direction and contribute to my success in the future.”

KevinKevin Narine – Web Development Intern – Northeastern University

“As someone who has always learned by doing, my time at Boston Financial has proved to be most rewarding. I gained great insight into the complex and evolving business world, insight that will without a doubt help me along my path to higher learning. This type of hands on experience will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

Making it Work for You and Them

  1. You Probably Can’t Do it Alone. Engage your team and it will provide a diversity of experience and perspective, as well as spreading the responsibility amongst the team.
  2. Set the Ground Rules. Interns need to take responsibility and accountability for their work. They also need to bring a good work ethic to the assignment. Challenge them: “If they work hard and bring ideas to your organization, what will they get in return?”

Knock Knock, Who’s There?

The next time someone knocks on your door looking for an internship opportunity open the door; you never know who will be there. You may learn something and you may progress a project that you have been excited about but has been sitting idly due to resources. Although I am sad summer is coming to a close, I am looking forward to next summer to see who might be knocking on my door.

What are your ideas for a successful internship?

Category: Client Forum, Technology

Innovation – Hot Topic at the 2013 Client Forum

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Innovation Street SignAs we get geared up for the Boston Financial Client Forum, I have been asked to moderate a panel on technology, innovation, and hot topics of the day. Innovation is a new focus for the mutual fund industry and we’re rolling it into our client forum to bring awareness to how the industry is embracing it. C-level leaders are not only seeing innovation as a priority, but recognizing it as a tool to survival.

Innovation will be a big topic on our Client Forum technology panel. One of the panelists is John Refford from Natixis Global Asset Management. John is a technologist at heart, but blends technology with marketing to, in his words, “make marketing more awesome.” Before the Client Forum I would encourage you to take a look at some of his blog posts on technology, innovation, and more as they may give you some great ways to work with technology within your organization.

Category: Associate Development and Engagement

School is Back in Session

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GLP PicThis summer has flown by! Here in the U.S., it is once again time for kids to head back to school. Not having kids myself, I know it is coming because of the newly minted billboards and hundreds of TV advertisements for school supplies. They’re everywhere! I didn’t know that a Wii game system could actually be considered a back to school necessity! But for seven of us “GLPers,” our semester is just wrapping up, with a 4,500 word paper no less!

GLP is short for Global Leadership Program, or if you are from the U.K., Global Leadership Programme. The program is designed for aspiring future leaders. The aim is to allow us to obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to translate strategy and move the organization forward. One of the ways this is accomplished is through Guided Learning Hours. On July 8 through 12, all seven delegates representing BFDS, IFDS Canada, IFDS UK and IFDS Percana, came to Boston Financial’s Quincy and Canton facilities for a week of learning about “What Leaders Do”. This was the second phase, or semester as I like to call it, of the five phase program. In each phase we spend time learning about the nuances of the particular “DS” we are visiting through interactions with their leadership team. Additionally, we focus dedicated classroom time on particular topics. As you probably guessed, our week in July was dedicated to Leaders and Culture.

We had a wonderful kick-off to the session by having Alison Quirk, executive vice president at State Street Corporation in charge of human resources and corporate citizenship, come in for an informal lunch session. Alison brought the discussion from theoretical to practical by talking about her own experiences on her way to a top leadership position at one of the largest, most prestigious (and I am not saying that just because they are one of our parents) financial services firms. She reflected on her time here at Boston Financial, what she learned while actually working herself out of a job during a corporate merger, and the importance of mentors and champions. I would be remiss if I did not mention her thoughts on women and leadership. It was truly an inspirational way to begin the week.

The program is intended to be equivalent to an Executive MBA caliber studies. Therefore, it must be benchmarked against an external professional qualification. We are expected to demonstrate high levels of knowledge, judgment and practical application. In order to do this in a tangible, evidenced fashion, there are four individual assignments and one group dissertation. You heard me right, four 4,500 word papers and one 15,000 word group paper!

The first paper was a reflection on my own development plan while in the program. This second one is a team assessment. I spent time in Canada learning about the IFDS Client Experience Team. Right now I am in the throes of writing 20 pages about what I learned, how it applies to team and leader theories, and what recommendations I would have to improve the team. Even though I curse these papers every time I am doing them, I have to admit, I get a lot out of them when they are done.

So, with only a few days left for the second assignment, I am back to it. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Category: Corporate Citizenship

Giving Back with Cradles to Crayons

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C2CWhile back to school signifies the end of summer and pick-up wiffle ball games in the backyard, preparing for the first day of school can be an exciting experience full of tradition that leave lifelong memories. I have vivid memories of shopping for the latest colors of Levis corduroy pants and Jordache jeans then combing through every shoe store in the mall to find the perfect pair of shoes that fit just right. Ah, nothing says “back to school” quite like Staples’ classic TV ad, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Every child should have a back to school experience to look forward to, but in reality many won’t and that makes back to school anything but the most wonderful time of the year.

Twenty Boston Financial associates recently volunteered at the Cradles to Crayons 7th Annual Backpack-a-thon at City Hall Plaza in Boston. While over two inches of rain fell outside, tents were packed with volunteers, supplies, and energy. Intensity was high as we worked together to assemble 30,000 backpacks with new school supplies in under three hours. The backpacks will give local children the chance to start the new school year ready and prepared for all of the yet to be discovered wonders ahead. The start of a new school year brings hope and that day we were able to bring hope to 30,000 local children during the course of a couple short hours.

Cradles to Crayons provides children living in homeless or low income situations with the items they need at home, at school and at play. They provide numerous volunteer opportunities throughout the year.