Anshita Joshi is Head of Tax at the Investment Association (the IA). A former Senior Manager at PWC in the Investment Management Tax team, Anshita has become centrally placed within the asset management tax network. Her remit is broad, strategically focused and involves routinely liaising with ‘Heads of’ and policymakers alike to advising on cutting-edge tax developments for an entire industry. See below Anshita’s recent ’60 seconds’ with Jay Sky, talking on the IA, the challenges of investment management tax, and career advice more generally.
For anyone who isn't aware, what is the purpose of the IA, and what's it like working there?
The Investment Association is a trade body and an industry voice for the UK's investment management sector. Our members range from large international investment managers to small independent UK investment firms and together manage £7.7 trillion assets under management. We act as their voice to policymakers and regulators and also support members through training and development initiatives.
The IA is a relatively small organisation in size, yet sitting at the heart of the industry we have the benefit of working with a large number of member firms, so effectively it's the best of both worlds. Unlike other trade bodies, the IA also runs its own Fintech accelerator, as well as a grassroots careers service, Investment20/20, which aims to increase diversity within the industry. Given everything we do, the atmosphere is constantly abuzz with thoughts and ideas (and lots of cakes!).
What does your role actually involve, and what keeps it interesting?
Anything and everything to do with tax really. It could be a domestic tax issue or an international initiative, affecting funds, investors or the asset management firms themselves and everything in between. It is this broad range of tax issues that forever keeps me on my toes and makes the role so much more interesting.
What's the culture like at the IA, and how might it differ from working in practice or an asset manager?
The IA is a very collaborative organisation and we work closely with colleagues making us a very close-knit group of people. The diversity of people working at the IA in all aspects including expertise, background and education makes it a fantastic place to be.
The access to and interaction with senior policymakers both domestically and internationally, with support from the incredible expertise of our member firms is something that is unique to the IA. The fact that you can influence policy and work with so many others in the industry to deliver a common purpose is extremely fulfilling and rewarding.
The nature of your role means you need to go beyond just 'up to date' - you need to be strategic to champion industry interests and influence policy. So you are in the prime position to tell our readers - what are the cutting-edge issues in investment management tax?
I think that most important, above all else, is the need to have a tax regime that is competitive, stable and predictable, particularly in this current period of uncertainty. Any tax initiatives have to be tested against this measure. Looking beyond Brexit, which may seem difficult to do at the moment, focus has to be on the horizon to prepare for the raft of regulatory and tax changes that the industry is facing.
What challenges do you think the next generation of in-house tax professionals face in this industry?
One of the biggest challenges is keeping up with the constant changes resulting from an increased focus on transparency by the government, regulatory and investors making tax a reputational issue.
What events are upcoming with the IA which offer tax professionals the chance to learn more about the industry and develop their commercial knowledge?
The Annual Investment Association Tax Conference on 25 November is our flagship event that brings together an influential speaker line up and audience of senior figures from investment management firms, business leaders and tax practitioners. The conference will reflect on the challenges and opportunities for investment management businesses across a number of areas from tax risk governance, tax transparency, VAT and operational taxes to international initiatives such as the OECD's work on digitalisation of the economy.
What defining career moments have there been for you so far, and what career advice would you give yourself when you were younger, if you could?
There have been a few, with the most recent one being the move to the Investment Association. As for advice for myself or indeed others at an early stage of their career, it'd have to be to embrace new challenges and take a leap of faith to do something outside one’s comfort zone.
Your career is very interesting in that you've left the Big 4 at a fairly senior level and gone a step further than just going in-house - you've actually moved right into the very heart of in-house asset management tax with the IA. Where do you see your own development heading from here?
At the moment, I am thriving on the challenges of this amazing role that has given me incredible opportunities and exposure to policymakers and members. There couldn't be a better time to be here at the IA at the heart of the industry as you say. With the variety of different issues that the industry faces, I believe that there is so much more to achieve here.
What kind of person would you keep an eye out for at the IA, and what advice would you give to someone who wants to be part of your team?
Being a diverse and inclusive place to work means that we access a broad talent pool. In addition to recruiting more experienced hires, we also offer unique opportunities to school leavers and graduates looking for traineeship roles at the IA through Investment 20/20. In fact, we have recently hired two extremely bright and talented trainees in our team.
As for what we look for, two main attributes are key: strong communication skills and the ability to work collaboratively. Everything else can be learnt on the job.