Lifestyle

Corporate Menswear Relaxes Its Dress Code, As Corporations Aim To Attract New Talent

Reasons For Raising The Bar In Dressing For Success:

People who take pride in dressing well have a lot in common with companies who understand brand culture. Both are able to determine the importance of dressing for success and the positive results which can ensue for a financial company. In fact, over the last 10 years, menswear has transitioned to an astonishing number of style changes that has become synonymous in a shared reverence during office hours.

When speaking of the benefits to curate a dress-code for American men in 2022, a corporation’s style mission builds a sense of trust with its partners as well as a community around its perspective. More to the point, dressing appropriately is a mutual appreciation and an understanding of what each firm is bringing to the table. But times are changing. As Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan other banks announce that they will expand their dress codes for employees. In fact, an abundant number of firms have already relaxed clothing requirements for those working in its digital and technology divisions. This new expansion code has attracted sales training coaches such as Adrian Bo. In fact, Bo’s industry and training sessions have seen great acceleration amongst the younger millennials and Gen Z demographics. Andrian is most popular in speaking & coaching in business advisory & virtual sales.

Nowadays, in the digital arena, professional trading is performed digitally. Therefore, firms are more interested in an employee’s performance rather than the way they present themselves to others. Nevertheless, new luxury menswear brands such as Canali and Zegna are taking note of the new codes in menswear aiming to focus on Gen Z and their rise to corporate ascension in business.

Style Trends In Finance and Professional Trading:

When American men think of what the idiom “dressing for success” means today, they are curious to see what’s going to happen this year as well as the remainder of the decade. As financial firms loosen their approach to office attire, a more flexible dress code is developing to be consistent with your clients’ expectations. But although the demotion-of-suits has been consistent since the early 2000’s, a fresh approach to menswear has developed to recruit new talent. And that new talent is none other than Gen Z. The good news is that new dress codes bring new opportunities and ways to express status and personality. I suggest that if you consistently exercise good judgment in this regard, you will achieve even stronger results in job performance.

What to Wear For A Flexible Dress Code:

I do not like the expression that states that “there are no rules anymore.” If there were no rules, chaos would ensue. An abundant number of American trading firms are adopting a more casual dress code. Many see it as a bid to attract Gen Z talent and project a cooler image that mirrors that of some of the most innovative companies in the world. In short, the work uniform of 2022 may be more casual, but I can assure you as a day is long; menswear style status will not disappear. And for the record; high-end luxury watches will become even more important markers of success as we lean forward into 2022.

Trends in Professional Trading With Style:

As US financial regulators consider their next moves on the hot topics of artificial intelligence and payment-for-order flow, I spoke to the CEO of a professional trading firm about key trends happening in the industry.

The recent news that The European Commission is planning to ban payment-for-order-flow (PFOF) has heightened the debate in the US about how the SEC might act upon the findings contained in the report. PFOF enables brokerages like Robinhood to sell customers’ buy and sell orders to wholesalers, such as Citadel. This in turn allows a firm to generate revenue without charging commissions for trades.

For Daniel Schlaepfer, the CEO of Select Vantage Inc (SVI), a professional trading firm which prioritizes human insight over artificial intelligence – engaging over 2,500 traders around the world – the underlying source of the ‘gamification’ problem with free-trading apps is not the AI software but the business models that they employ.

“Access fees would become transparent and so properly factored into trading decisions, and the fact of incurring this cost would likely deter small retail investors from indulging in risky gamification, so a more sustainable equilibrium might be reached in the long-term.” says Schlaepfer.

The Costs of Regulation

Even more pressing than the hidden costs of retail trading are the hidden costs of financial regulation itself. In his words, regulations designed to force “too big to fail” firms to toe-the-line— have had the effect of consolidating the status quo, and made many smaller firms “too small to comply”. Schlaepfer’s own firm is not small, but the need to supervise so many traders comes at a cost.

Diversity & Inclusion

He continues “Diversity and inclusion is an important part of the discussion of course, as it has become in every industry.”

“It’s true that our firm has many more male traders than female traders, but this isn’t a result of our policies or preferences. I think the fact that the industry has a reputation for being male dominated reduces the number of women who apply, so it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy sadly. We encourage anyone to apply and are actively aiming to diversify our network of traders.”

I recently had the time to interview Daniel Schlaepfer CEO of Select Vantage Inc (SVI about why he believes banning PFOF would strike at the heart of the ‘gamification’ problem, why he encourages diversify within the network of traders and why his firm does not place much positive emphasis on the importance of dressing for success.

Joseph DeAcetis: As CEO of a professional trading firm, talk to Forbes about why Artificial Intelligence and Payment-For-Order-Flow (PFOF) are key components of business strategies in the industry?

Many electronic market-making firms use AI to model their trading strategies. My firm, Select Vantage Inc. (SVI), instead prioritizes human insight. We engage over 2,500 traders in 264 offices in 39 countries around the world. Payment for Order Flow (PFOF) is the practice that enables brokerages like Robinhood to sell customers’ buy and sell orders to wholesalers. This allows the firms to generate revenue without charging commissions for trades, thereby giving rise to so-called ‘free trading’. SVI by contrast is a proprietary trading firm, which means our traders are professionals who only trade the firm’s capital, not their own.

Joseph DeAcetis: In your words, what is Payment for Order Flow (PFOF) and why is it a hot topic of discussion? 

I’ve argued that PFOF is really a way to surreptitiously finance the illusion of free trading. The reality is that there is no such thing as free trading. What many retail investors appear to have failed to realize is that free trading is possible only because they themselves have become the product. The practice came to public attention following the so-called “meme-stock” trading saga which unfolded this time last year. Last October the SEC released a report on those events. It was rumored that the report would recommend banning PFOF, but it stopped short of doing so. However, shortly after the EU announced it would ban the practice, so there is every chance the US might still follow suit.

Joseph DeAcetis:Talk to Forbes about the impact today by gamification, robo-advisors and artificial intelligence and why it is a growing concern amongst investors and regulators alike?

I understand why the SEC report highlighted the risks of AI and robo-advisors on the free trading platforms, but I think the underlying business models are the real problem. In my view banning PFOF would strike at the heart of the ‘gamification’ problem. Access fees would become transparent and so properly factored into trading decisions, and the fact of incurring this cost would likely deter small retail investors from indulging in risky gamification, so a more sustainable equilibrium might be reached in the long-term.

Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to Forbes about your recent experience with financial regulators?

In 2016 I decided to sue the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for defamation. I learnt that they had communicated unfounded suspicions to other market participants that traders at my firm had engaged in market manipulation, which damaged our business. The judge found that I had been defamed, but defensively so. In other words, it was found that no market manipulation had taken place, and that in retrospect the regulator acted wrongly, but that they had the right to act as they did at the time in light of their ultimately ill-founded suspicions. For me that constitutes a moral victory, so it was worthwhile. The judgement stated that, although the appeal outcome didn’t go my way, I was successful on most issues, including the vindication of my reputation.

For me the experience represented a fundamental breakdown in communications between market participants and regulators which had to be highlighted and confronted.I currently sit on the Ontario Securities Commission’s Market Structure Advisory Committee (MSAC), which is designed to promote better dialogue and understanding across the industry.

Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to Forbes about how women have been underrepresented in the financial world; moving forward, what is your strategy with respect to diversity and inclusion? 

Historically, women have been underrepresented at all levels of the global financial world, from depositors to regulators, but the trading industry remains particularly male-dominated. It’s true that our firm has many more male traders than female traders, but this isn’t a result of our policies or preferences. We encourage anyone to apply and are actively aiming to diversify our network of traders. Professional trading can be a great career for women, and that it is skill, dedication and results that matter – rather than gender – in determining an individual’s success.

Joseph DeAcetis: As business platforms are changing at a rapid pace these days, so is the way men dress for office hours. What would you describe as dressing for success in your industry? Details please? 

Our office environment is very relaxed – people more or less wear what they want, within reason. Trading can be intensive and high-pressured, so it’s important that people feel they can dress comfortably.

Joseph DeAcetis: As American men return to the office, the new men’s office attire is on trend thanks to its lightweight fabrics, great resiliency and ultra-comfort. As luxury menswear brands such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Canali and Ralph Lauren race to update product offerings to adhere to consumer demand; how important is this exciting time in menswear to you (as a CEO) and to your staff? 

If I’m honest, I would have to say that I don’t dress well at all! I’m most happy in whatever is comfortable. I’m sure it’s more important for some of our traders, but as a whole I think it’s fair to say that the trading sector of finance is not as self-conscious as other sectors in the industry, especially those which are more client-facing. As proprietary traders we don’t have clients, so there is less pressure to dress well. The emphasis is on performance. If someone wore a tie to the office, I would probably cut it off. I have a lot of friends and industry colleagues who make much more of an effort in this sphere, and I imagine those are the types of brands they wear.

Joseph DeAcetis: I am often underwhelmed by the attention American businessmen pay to the importance of dressing and grooming in aiming to achieve corporate ascension. As CEO of your firm, how do you (if at all) set an example for your employees to follow? Do you have a dress code for the office? If so, what is it? 

It’s definitely crucial in some areas of business, but even in those places where it matters, the culture has become more relaxed. Expectations also change as you progress in your career. In fact, the more successful you are nowadays the less it seems to matter. If you’re a Silicon Valley billionaire, it’s pretty much compulsory to wear a hoodie.

Joseph DeAcetis: What does being well dressed for work mean to you?

I’d say that if nobody notices what you’re wearing, then you’re probably dressed appropriately for whatever your environment is at that time.

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