Anne Richards is CEO of Fidelity International and thus one of the few top female executives in an international asset management company. On June 17, she was interviewed at the digital Fondsfrauen lunch with Fondsfrau Anne Connelly and Corinna Valentine, COO and Head of Finance for Fidelity International, Germany.

Engineering background
Anne Richards is an electronics engineer by training and was the first female graduate in the close family. After studying engineering and working for the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN, she attended a business school. "Up until then, I had never looked at a business newspaper like the Financial Times," she says, "but sometimes such a lateral entry is also an advantage".

What fascinates her about the financial sector is that it resembles a constant kaleidoscope. "The individual parts are always the same, but someone may have shaken them together overnight." As a curious person, she finds the constantly changing economic and stock market life exciting.

Independence is important to her
In the financial industry, she began as an engineering analyst, then as a portfolio manager, later as CIO and now as CEO of Fidelity International. “When I was sent on a management skills training course for one of my previous employers, I realized that people are motivated by very different things,” she says. "For me, it's self-reliance and independence that count". She learned that other people have completely different motivators, such as titles, money, management of many employees, etc. She advises the audience in the interview: “We each have to find out for ourselves what we like and good, and then simply more of it do."

Thanks to the flexibility of the employees, we got through the Covid-19 crisis well
Fidelity International got relatively well through the Covid-19 crisis. “Maybe that's because we have a lot of employees on site in China. That is why we already dealt with COVID in January 2020. At first we saw it as a regional problem, but when it turned into a global pandemic, we had some training, ”explains Richards. She seems almost a bit astonished at how well everything worked out in the end. “We rolled out Zoom across the company in just two weeks. And when we sent almost all of our employees to work from home, I was impressed by how flexible our employees were. We haven't actually had any failures - we only owe that to the commitment of our people. "

As the head of the company, she doesn't want to lose sight of her strategic agenda despite the pandemic. “We continued our Thank You Days and our plans for extended parental leave. However, it will probably take until the end of 2021 before we can go back to normal, ”says Richards.

More fluid way of working after the corona crisis
But one will probably not come back entirely to the pre-Corona organization. “I also miss traveling, but I don't miss all of them,” explains the mother of two. “And most of the employees are like me. Therefore, we are now experimenting with many models of how things can continue after Corona, with different hybrid models. Some ideas that we try will fail, but then we just have to change a little something and try again with it. It's going to be an iterative process, ”says Richards. “In the end, the result will be a work process that is more flexible and fluid than before,” she is convinced.

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