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"They're more sensitive and they have more needs."

The ex-JPMorgan VP who says young bankers just need love

Wais Achikzad is on a mission. The former VP in JPMorgan's prime broking business has left banking altogether and is doing something different: he wants to infuse banking with love.

"My mission is to change the industry," says Achikzad. "Financial services has historically been an industry where emotional intelligence is a non-starter." 

Achikzad began his banking career in client services at Morgan Stanley in 2004. He spent 14 years at JPMorgan, where he worked in hedge fund client services and managed teams of 20-30 people. In 2021, he went back to Morgan Stanley as a talent manager, before leaving again just 10 months later. 

During his time in banking, Achikzad worked with young people at the start of their careers. He tells us that today's entry-level financial professionals are very different to yesterday's. "Younger people today are fragile," he says. "They're more sensitive and they have more needs. I inherited a team of people in their 20s and I had to tap into their psyches and connect with them at a deeper level. My strategy has always been to get to know people based on their mental make-up." 

Achikzad has founded Xen Culture Solutions, a company to train people in financial services and beyond in the art of authentic leadership. His intention is to propagate a human-centric leadership program developed by Mohammad Anwar, author of the book "Love as a Business Strategy." 

It's early days for Achikzad's new company, but his time in banking provides examples of the success of his approach. In one team, for example, he encountered someone who had been an associate for two decades. The associate was exceptional at doing the job and was a key repository of knowledge for the team, but because he had a speech impairment had never spoken up for himself or presented his work, he wasn't promoted. "People had been taking advantage of him and taking credit for work he had done," says Achikzad. " I took him aside and informed him that he would be up for promotion at the end of the year given his contributions to the team...Seeing his emotions after hearing this message and knowing how hard he had worked to finally hear such a message truly moved me."

It's a question of managing people differently, says Achikzad. Too often, people in banking are managing teams for their own gain. "But if you use love as a business strategy, if you treat people with compassion, it changes everything."

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
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  • Ro
    Robert Lucas
    17 November 2022

    I worked at Chase managing many departments finally ending up in hr. I agree it's genuinely loving people that catapulted my teams and departments to success. A number of times I was given new departments to manage that were not performing. I was told by upper.managment that I would probably have to fire people to turn my departments around. The exact opposite happened because when I see another human being all that shows up for me possibility.
    Rather than fire I cared about my staff and spent alot of time on the front end coaching and grooming employees for success. Instead of terminations there were fr lots of promotions from entry level to supervisor and manager. I kept repeating this and was promoted frequently eventually ending up in a Sr HR role with no hr experience. I was told upon taking these jobs that this was an unusual career path but the bank was taking notice to the way that I had with people. And there you go the answer is love.

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