Michael Henry, Managing Partner of Massey Henry, recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media for a discussion on the firm’s approach to executive search, and trends in the Canadian market, including an emphasis on digital transformation leaders, across the broader financial services sector.

Key Takeaways


Growing Emphasis on Digital Transformation in Financial Services
  • There continues to be an emphasis on digital transformation across the industry, with a focus on identifying executives who are able to further drive digital transformation initiatives
  • Trends of increasing investment in digital upskilling initiatives will continue
Prominence of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Efforts
  • Degree of commitment and progress varies across organizations, sectors, and regions, but there is a general trend toward prioritizing DEI initiatives
  • Recognizing the value of tapping into a wide range of perspectives and talents to foster innovation and serve diverse customer bases is critical for organizations
Importance and Significance of Bilingualism
  • Depending on the specific job, industry, and location, the importance of bilingualism in French and English varies, but it continues to be a significant asset in many professional contexts

Michael, explain Massey Henry’s approach to filling senior positions.


As specialists in financial services executive search for organizations across North America, our approach is guided by our nuanced understanding of the industry, as well as the deep network and functional expertise we have established for key senior level mandates at the VP, C-suite, and board levels.

We also leverage the unique network and insights of our esteemed advisory board, made up of distinguished leaders in the financial services sector. When conducting a senior executive engagement, we emphasize client collaboration, which includes frequent updates on candidate progression, detailed screening and interviewing processes, and a high touch communication approach.

We supplement this with in-house psychometric assessment services customized to develop a data-driven understanding of how a candidate demonstrates the values and leadership competencies sought for the position. Lastly, to further ensure a diverse slate of candidates, we leverage key partnerships with equity-seeking organizations to reach an extended network of contacts.


Does the firm use AI at all, if so, how it is used?


Yes, we leverage a collaborative and transparent engagement process that uses enhanced digital tools to identify skilled candidates with the right organizational fit.

This includes being able to search for candidates based on key skillsets and functions. We also provide clients with the option to integrate their decision team into a customized workspace dedicated to the executive recruitment process, augmented by an AI-enabled CRM search engine.


What are some current trends within the financial services sector in Canada that you are seeing?


Alternative providers of capital will play a critical role in the evolution of the industry, which will result in executive challenges in the areas of distribution, asset allocation and regulation.

There continues to be an emphasis on digital transformation across the industry, and the importance of identifying executives who are able to further drive this initiative with key skills in areas such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, and risk management. The ability to navigate the workforce of the future – both in hiring practices, and in preparing for its demands – will be critical. As a result of this, the industry will continue to see increased investment in digital upskilling initiatives.


How important in Canada is it for candidates to speak both English and French?


The importance of being bilingual in French and English can vary depending on the specific job, industry, and location. However, bilingualism in these languages can be a significant asset in many professional contexts.

The significance of bilingualism is dependent on factors such as industry (e.g., financial regulators in government), function, and geographic reach of the role (e.g., a position with oversight of French-speaking regions).


How are strong are DEI efforts for Canadian organizations?


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts in Canadian organizations have gained prominence in recent years, reflecting a growing recognition of the importance of fostering diverse and inclusive workplaces. While the level of commitment and progress can vary across different organizations, sectors, and regions, there is a general trend toward prioritizing DEI initiatives, in alignment with global industry trends.

However, as organizations face financial challenges given current economic conditions, it will be important for them to continue recognizing the value of tapping into a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and talents to foster innovation and serve diverse customer bases.


How do you go about providing a diverse slate of candidates when conducting searches?


With more than 65 percent of our placed candidates identifying as women and/or BIPOC individuals, and typically 50 percent of our shortlists for an executive search made up of equity-seeking groups, we are one of the leading executive search firms in Canada in ensuring representation for our clients.

While our approach to ensuring a diverse slate varies based on the individual factors of a search, we typically incorporate processes that: ensure accessibility; limit unconscious bias in the assessment process; leverage inclusive language and processes; supports self-disclosure; leverage key strategic partnerships with equity-seeking organizations; and ensures geographic and bilingual representation.


What are some industries that are currently keeping Massey Henry busy today?


Within financial services, Massey Henry continues to see a sustained interest in succession planning mandates at the C-suite level, as well as a focus on hiring executives for key functions such as risk, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and customer experience.

About Hunt Scanlon

Hunt Scanlon Media informs and conects the talent management community.

Hunt Scanlon Media has helped define and inform the senior talent management sector for over 30 years, and produces daily newswires, annual leadership and reports, market intelligence sector briefings, and their annual newsletter, Executive Search Review.

About Massey Henry

Executive Search, Coaching, Assessment, and Advisory Services

Massey Henry is one of North America’s leading executive search and board advisory firms exclusively serving the financial services sector.

With an experienced team of former industry leaders and talent management specialists, the firm combines innovative technology with in-depth sector expertise to provide clients with full-scope executive search, talent assessment, coaching, and leadership advisory services.

Michael Henry

Michael Henry

Managing Partner, Massey Henry

Alex Bunyan

Alex Bunyan

Partner & Co-Head, Leadership Practice

Elaine Lajeunesse

Elaine Lajeunesse

Partner & Co-Head, Leadership Practice

John Sanders

John Sanders

Senior Partner, Board & CEO Services

Charlotte Berry

Charlotte Berry