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The Online Bank That Wants To Reshape Work And Money

Shifts in benefits and investing are here to stay, says TS Anil, global chief executive of Monzo Bank.

By Chip Cutter
Mon, Jun 6, 2022Grey Clock 5 min

If the pandemic changed the way people view their jobs, it may have also ushered in a new challenge for managers: how to keep reshaping work for years to come.

The desire for flexibility and a rethinking of workers’ relationships with their employers are likely to remain well into the future, putting pressure on employers to respond, says TS Anil, global chief executive of Monzo Bank. The online bank based in London officially launched U.S. operations earlier this year; it employs more than 2,500 people globally. Monzo doesn’t have physical banks but instead is based on a digital app that consolidates a user’s financial information and has tools like bots that can direct money into certain categories–say, saving for a future home.

Born in India, Mr. Anil has worked around the world at companies including Standard Chartered, Citigroup and Capital One. He was global head of payment products and platforms at Visa before joining Monzo in 2020.

He says he has spent much time in recent months considering where work is headed and how the financial-technology company’s own workplace policies should evolve. Monzo this year rolled out a three-month paid-sabbatical program for staffers who have been at the company four years or more. Such efforts reflect a desire to find ways to better support employees, Mr. Anil says.

The company is also aiming to stay ahead of changes in the ways consumers manage their finances while competing with its larger bank rivals. Mr. Anil spoke with The Wall Street Journal about what he’s focused on next.

The job market right now is tight–workers have more leverage, and employers have responded. Five years from now, will employees have as much power as they do today?

What has continued to change slowly over the last several years—but then Covid quite possibly accelerated—is the shift in mindset about what it means to work. People, increasingly, don’t want their jobs to just be about, “I go do this, and I get a paycheck.” People want meaning from their work, people want the ability to work in ways that work around their lives effectively. That shift creates opportunity for companies like us who are leading the way in terms of understanding what employees want and are willing to not be anchored to a historical way of doing things. So, yeah, I don’t think things go back in five years; this is an important cultural shift, and it’s a welcome cultural shift.

What are the new benefits companies will need to offer in the future to get employees to stay?

It’s hard to speculate on specific benefits. At Monzo, we’ve always been about our values. One is this idea that you help everyone belong. And it means we come up with ways that we can institutionalize policy to make everyone get that sense of what works best for them. We announced additional paid leave for colleagues of ours who suffer pregnancy loss, or who are undergoing fertility treatments.This is one of those where it feels like this should have always been offered by companies around the world.

What was it that prompted you to start offering paid sabbaticals?

We’re now going on seven years old, and building a bank—or really any kind of tech company—and scaling it is a marathon not a sprint. And we’re at the stage where enough of our employees have put in a few years of incredibly hard work. As we built it out, it felt like a good time to give people the ability to take a break, recharge, come back with even more energy to continue this marathon that we’re all excited to be on.

What has the response been like—how many people have signed up for a sabbatical?

I don’t have the numbers that add up how many we’ve already done since we’ve announced it, but lots of people have queued it up in terms of what they want to do in a few months, at the end of the year, early next year, and so on. So the response has been amazing.

When you look at banking, what’s the biggest change you expect to see in the industry in the next 10 years?

The biggest thing that I hope we see is making money work for everyone, which means really giving people the tools to make great decisions for themselves, to help them understand and make sense of their money. It’s still amazing and sad how little customers around the world are supported in all decisions related to their money. It’s such a source of anxiety for customers, that I’m hoping that, in the next decade, as an industry, we’ve solved that problem.

Is there a specific shift you foresee in how people will manage their money?

What I aspire to for us is that across all of your financial needs—whether it’s spending, paying, transacting borrowing, saving, investing—all of that happens in a single place. So as an individual trying to make sense of my money, I can see it all in one place; I can visualize it, I can analyze it.

What are the challenges you feel the company will need to overcome to fulfil this vision?

It’s important for us that we continue to evolve our culture for the scale that we’re growing into. That’s probably the single biggest one, to make sure that you preserve the best aspects of your culture—what we internally describe as the golden threads. Keep the golden threads, let go of the stuff that’s not working and keep evolving it. If you can get that right, then you can continue to scale and continue to have impact.

What will your job or industry look like in 2030?

It is making money work: taking the anxiety out of it for [customers] and replacing it with a sense of control and the sense that their money is working. It’s this idea of a single financial control centre—it’s in one place, they get in there, and they understand across the financial needs what the best choices are and they’re able to make them. The fundamental job of CEO is to enable the team to do the best work of their lives, and do it in a context of creating better and better outcomes for customers and for the company as a whole. So the fundamentals don’t change; that will remain the job of the CEO.

OK, five years from now, will people be working in offices more or less than today?

We joke inside the company that, what people talk about as the future of work, we talk about the now of work. Even before Covid-19, we were remote enabled; hybrid work was a reality for us anyway. Technology enables remoteness, but the human need for connection is just as real. The interplay between these two forces, I think, is what the future will be informed by. I’ve never thought of the future as being sort of homogenous, just like the present is not homogenous, right? Even in the same country, in the same company, people have different realities. The future will not be different.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: May 6, 2022.

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In the year to May, an additional 497 markets joined the million-dollar club.

By Kanebridge News
Tue, Jun 28, 2022 2 min

A record number of Australians spent $1 million or more to purchase a home in the past 12 months according to CoreLogic’s annual Million Dollar Markets report.

Over the year to March 2022, CoreLogic collected 596,733 sales nationally up 19.8% from the 497,923 recorded over the previous year. Of those sold this year, 23.8% sold for $1 million or more.

In the year to May, an additional 497 markets 450 houses and 37 unit markets) joined the million-dollar club bringing the total markets to 1367 or 30.4% of house and unit markets analysed in May to a median value of $1 million or more.

“High consumer sentiment, tight advertised supply, and low-interest rates fuelled strong home value growth throughout 2021, resulting in a new record high annual growth rate of 22.4% over the 12 months to January,” said CoreLogic Research Analyst Kaytlin Ezzy.

“Despite values having risen across all capital cities and rest of state areas annually, we have seen a divergence in growth conditions across markets over the year to date.

“Since January, dwelling values across Sydney and Melbourne have started to decline, while values have continued to rise across South Australia and Queensland. More recently, Canberra, which had previously recorded many months of consecutive growth, recorded its first falls in dwelling values in some years in May.”

Sydney suburbs made up 26.3% of the new million-dollar markets with more than half of all Sydney sales over the 123 months to May transacting at or above $1 million.

In Sydney, 448 house and 104 unit markets have a current median value of $1 million dollars or higher, an increase of 26.6% from the previous year.  The new million-dollar markets are largely concentrated in the city’s South West (30) and Outer South West (15) as well as the Central Coast region (20).

In the year to May, 51.9% of transactions in Sydney sold for $1 million or more. Bellevue Hill in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs is the most expensive house market, both across Sydney and nationally, with a current median value of $8,024,682.

Elsewhere, in Melbourne 212 house and 11 unit markets had a median value at or above $1 million in May majority of which are located in Melbourne’s Inner (39), Inner South (42), Inner East (30) and Outer East (30).

30 metres of water frontage across a 1733sqm block.

By Kanebridge News
Fri, Jun 24, 2022 < 1 min

With views up the coastline to the NSW central coast comes this magnificent double oceanfront block — a rare setting for the ultimate family holiday retreat.

Boasting level lawns that spill down to 30-metre of ocean frontage, the 1733sqm plot plays host to a three-level 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom, 2-car garage home in one of Whale Beach’s most tightly held cul-de-sacs.

A contemporary masterclass in style, the home showcases free-flowing spaces with glass-wrapped interiors in a layout that accommodates family and friends.

Within the main living spaces comes a state-of-the-art kitchen with Calacatta marble and stainless-steel benchtops accompanied by a full suite of Gaggenau appliances and a separate walk-in cool room.

Other living zones found on the ground level include a games room and sun-drenched terrace with its own Miele appointed kitchen.

Outside sees a 15-metre resort style pool to soak up the sun and watery views, while the poolside studio is fully self-contained and perfect for extra weekend guests.

Accommodation is comprised of three luxurious ensuite bedrooms — of which several open directly to the terraces. The master bedroom has access to the home office, large walk-in-robe and cellar or store room.

Further luxurious additions to the home include a gym, jacuzzi, pizza oven, BBQ and Ecosmart fireplace.

The listing is with LJ Hooker Palm Beach’s David Edwards 0415 440 044 with the POA. palmbeach.ljhooker.com.au

It comes as falling volumes and declining prices reflected a weakness likely to continue in the established homes market.

By Kanebridge News
Wed, Jun 22, 2022 < 1 min

The nation’s housing sales fell by $8 billion in the three months to March when compared to the previous quarter according to data provider CoreLogic’s quarterly Pain & Gain report.

It comes as falling volumes and declining prices reflected a weakness likely to continue in the established homes market.

The fall in nominal profits from $38 billion in December echoed the decline in loss-making sales to $261 million from $355 million. Declines in housing values only kicked in after the March quarter, with the extent of loss-making sales predicted to increase.

CoreLogic’s analysis of 106,000 establish home sales in the March quarter showed the proportion of profit-making sales fell to 92.7% from the December quarter’s 94% peak figure.

The March quarter saw the first time profitable housing sales fell in a year and a half — unit profitability declining faster than houses.

The pandemic was the last cause of such a decline, in the three months to August 2020.

The major markets of Sydney and Melbourne are the cities most at risk due to higher interest rates, and therefore made the biggest contribution to loss-making sales over the quarter — the rate of unprofitable sales in both cities rising to 4.8%.

 Hobart was the city with the highest proportion of profit-making sales for the 15th straight quarter. Just 1 per cent of the Tasmanian capital’s sales made a loss in the March quarter, down from 1.6 per cent in December. 

Further the report fleshes out the different pace of growth between houses and apartments that has made units more affordable into the March quarter. Between the onset of Covid-19 in March 20202 and this year’s March quarter, combined capital city house values rose 25.8% compared to units at 10.6%.