The asset management industry has a reputation for long days and a working week based around the trading hours of global stock markets.
When the Bank of England's chief economist Andy Haldane, speaking at an event in June, said the UK was on track to be working a four-day week by 2050, there was a noticeable silence from the industry.
The concept of the four-day week may sound fairly radical. But many industries, including financial services, are already offering flexible working policies to their employees.
Can the asset management industry adapt to this new shorter working week?
Alix Ainsley and Charlotte Cherry, co-directors of talent and culture at Quilter, think so: "Adoption of flexible working patterns are already emerging to be increasingly commonplace in the asset management industry so, over time, it's sensible to assume the industry could equally adapt well to the four-day working week.
"Technology would clearly be an enabler here too, along with positive leadership attitudes to flexible working."
According to Iain Barnes, head of portfolio management at Netwealth, a four-day week certainly makes sense. He pointed out it would be a continuation of a longer-term, established trend, with annual hours worked per person employed havinxg been in decline for some time (see chart below).
"Like in any industry, asset management will eventually evolve to what makes it most efficient, as technology nudges it in new directions. There's no reason why asset management should prove more resistant to change than other areas," Barnes added.
Implications for productivity
"The concept of a four-day working week is an interesting one and has gained traction after Haldane's recent comments," said Jenny Yoe, head of UK institutional at State Street Global Advisors.
"The immediate concern for many - should the measure be implemented - would be the impact on UK economic growth, particularly in the face of stubbornly low productivity figures over the last decade and a challenging near-term economic outlook, still dominated by Brexit-related uncertainty."
Productivity in the UK has stalled in recent years and is now at historically low levels. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) calls it a "productivity puzzle".
Its latest report shows labour productivity in the first three months of this year decreased by 0.2% compared to the same quarter a year earlier, and is the third consecutive quarter
According to the ONS, countries with strong labour productivity growth tend to benefit from high rates of growth and low inflation.
Of the recent productivity trend, the ONS stated: "This sustained period of declining labour productivity represents a continuation of the UK's 'productivity puzzle', with productivity since the economic downturn in 2008 growing more slowly than during the long period prior to downturn."