Although we could not celebrate in person, the Investment Week virtual awards season was in full swing at the end of last year.
Thanks again to our awards judges, drawn from across the investment industry, for offering their time and expertise.
It is always fascinating to listen to them debate which entries should triumph in often closely-fought categories, while they also provide unique insights into how the sector is evolving.
Which individuals or companies are trailblazers and who is just following the herd? What do they consider best practice? Who is really walking the walk and not just talking the talk?
Noticeably in 2020, the judges wanted to see detailed evidence of an entrant's impact, whether through a new diversity initiative or holding companies to account on ESG, for example.
They were also interested in hearing how nominees plan to develop their propositions in the future, in terms of products, team structures, embracing new technologies and educational programmes.
Understandably, how individuals and groups dealt with the huge upheaval caused by the Covid-19 pandemic played a key role in judging considerations last year.
However, although it was a sharp learning curve, there were some key takeaways to bring to what is already a challenging 2021 including interactive client communication, supporting colleagues remotely and embracing a longer-term legacy of flexible working.
So what would our judges like to see now from the industry in 2021 and beyond? The judges for the Women in Investment Awards called for a greater focus on the 'I' in 'D&I' and creating an equal culture, including normalising remote working.
They believe the asset management industry also has more to do to become a "deliberate career consideration for the many", in the words of Rathbones' Madhu Kalia.
Meanwhile, CFA Society UK CEO Will Goodhart predicts "we now need to see clients and fund selectors being more aware themselves of the importance of D&I and the extent to which a company's embrace of D&I reflects a great deal about the culture and ethos of the organisation and, very likely, about its future success".
Finally, our judges for the Sustainable and ESG Investment Awards identified 2020 as a "pivotal year" for sustainable investing, which has moved rapidly to become an integral part of the investment process.
According to Julia Dreblow, there will now be an increased focus on impact and helping rebuild for the future. She provides a welcome note of optimism for our first issue back at the start of what promises to be an eventful 2021!