Jane Warren is the CEO of Investec Click & Invest, she runs the business with the passion and drive of a start-up to deliver an online investment management service that is accessible, straightforward and intuitive to the client’s needs.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
“I have over twenty years’ experience within Investec so you could say it’s in my DNA, I have had several roles during my time here. My current role as CEO of Investec Click & Invest involves me being responsible for all aspects of our digital presence and offerings, whether that’s enhancing client experience, driving client acquisition and engagement, or delivering market differentiation and growth. Investec has always given me the space to reinvent myself and reset as I went through different roles. I believe it is extremely important to keep challenging yourself as this will in turn aid your professional development.
“The last few years have been particularly exciting as we built and launched Click & Invest, an actively managed online investment service from Investec Wealth & Investment (IW&I) for individuals with £10,000 or more to invest. As CEO I am in the privileged position of being surrounded by a team of hard working and passionate individuals, you can’t create a business without outstanding people delivering for you. I’m a strong believer in going with my gut instinct and getting my hands dirty with the rest of the team. Our number one aim is to reach as many clients with a service that is accessible, straightforward and intuitive.”
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
“No I didn’t, and having never been to university I didn’t ever really plan to work in the City of London. My original plan was to work in the City for 12 months and 24 years later, I am still here. Over this time I’ve held several positions within IW&I including heading up Investec’s third-party administration business, and then taking on Head of Business Projects where I lead on several major acquisition initiatives for the business.
“I actually started my career at Burberry. When I left school I came down to London and I walked into the Regent Street store to ask for a job and I was lucky enough to be offered one on the spot. I’ve always aimed to keep that drive and determination with me. Whilst at Burberry I learnt the importance of customer service, it really is the secret to success for any brand, it encourages trust which we know is essential. I then took these learnings and applied it to the financial services world. This is something I always keep in mind as we continue to build the Click & Invest brand.”
Have you faced any particular challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?
“In my first management role I was faced with the decision of having to close a whole division, which was very challenging and personally very difficult. The team at the time were brilliant, we got through it and I learnt some invaluable lessons along the way.
“Taking on the responsibility of leading the Click & Invest launch also brought its own unique challenges. Being a disruptor within an established business was extremely difficult, and in some ways more challenging than if we were a complete start-up.
“Fortunately, we had the support and collaboration of the entire Investec business and after considerable hard work from the team we launched in June last year. Celebrating our 1st anniversary was a great reminder of how far we’ve come. It makes me really excited about what we could achieve in the next year and onwards.”
If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?
“I’ve had the honour of meeting many inspirational female leaders from all walks of life throughout my career and I aspire to help facilitate the next generation of leaders.
“For this to happen, there are some areas that must be addressed. A major one is flexibility, something that is essential for not just women but men as well. Young families with working parents need flexibility as they learn to juggle home and work life. I am a firm believer that balance makes lives outside of work much easier, and in turn makes working life so much more pleasurable and productive.
“We’re at a stage where this is an option for many, but not everyone. I believe every company should offer flexible working options for both men and women and at Investec we continue to work hard to help our colleagues whatever their circumstances. This is just one of the changes I’d like to see happen to create a stronger and better workplace and remove any existing barriers to the next generation of leaders.”
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
“I don’t participate in a formal mentoring programme however I believe passionately that we should help our colleagues who are just starting their career journey. I believe it’s important to have someone to turn to when you need advice or support, whether that’s professional advice or more personal. I have often leaned on more senior colleagues throughout my career and without their guidance I wouldn’t be in the position I am today.”
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
“Launching the Investec Click & Invest service after a hugely exciting career so far has been a real highlight. However, the business wasn’t built over-night. It was through years of planning, analysing the fintech and investment industries, and assessing what individuals are really missing out on.
“Part of this process has been building a team from scratch and this search for talent continues with many new and exciting hires. With this team, we have set about building a business and brand within an already established organisation that seeks to deliver on the values and build on the service that has made the Investec Group the success it is today.
“We know this is only the start of the journey and I’m hopeful that more significant achievements are ahead of us as we strive to deliver for our clients and their needs. Our team have the potential to really rewrite the rules with Click & Invest. We’ve started with a good model from our core business and are now trying to bring active investing to a new audience.”
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
“The next challenge is developing and adding new features to Click & Invest. With our core proposition defined, we’re now able to branch out and better service our clients with a more holistic view of their investment journey. We are also excited to be launching a Personal Pension (SIPP) along with some other exciting new features that will enable us to deliver an even better client experience.
“Outside of the business, I want to help build financial literacy, improve people’s understanding of investing and change their financial behaviours. More people need to be aware of the benefits of investing. Part of this is my aim to make investing more accessible to everyone by reducing the jargon that drives fear around investing. Roughly 30% of our customers are women, and while this number is encouraging, it is something I want to see grow and grow.
“As for the long-term future, who knows? I’ve already seen such huge leaps forward in the finance industry, led by tech that I’m hugely optimistic about and open to what else is on the horizon.”