Top priority for asset managers in 2017: technology systems

New research reveals that technology systems and client reporting improvements are key business priorities for asset managers in 2017.

The report, which is being launched at TSAM London tomorrow, reveals that technology systems improvements are a key priority for 75% of asset management companies surveyed.

A similar proportion (74%) said that client reporting was in focus for them with one in three (33%) expressing dissatisfaction with their current client reporting capabilities.

The survey, by Osney Media and BackBay Communications, found that currently less than half (49%) of the asset managers surveyed provide real-time reporting, e-reporting or mobile reporting capabilities for their clients.

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“Institutional and retail investors have greater choice and expect greater control over their investments than ever before,” said Jonathan Wiser, director at Osney Media, which commissioned the study and organises TSAM London.

“Their behaviour and needs have changed as a result and asset managers have to make sure they are able to meet these needs. Our research reveals fairly widespread dissatisfaction with current client communications and it’s no surprise that client reporting, with a focus on digital, is firmly in focus as firms look to provide the information their clients need and in the format they want in order to improve the overall experience.”

Data management improvements could play a significant role in this. While data management practices are seen to be well utilised in some parts of the business, such as investment decision-making where 75% say it is well used, satisfaction is lower when it comes to its usage in client reporting and marketing. Only 45% believe data is well used for marketing purposes; this increases to just over half (54%) for client reporting.

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Bill Haynes, CEO and founder of BackBay Communications, the financial services marketing and communications consultancy that conducted the research, said: “The way investors consume information has changed radically over recent years, particularly with the growth of digital communications, and asset managers need to make sure they don’t get left behind. The survey shows that social media, content marketing and e-marketing are all widely recognised as effective channels for communicating with clients and prospects but that only about half think their efforts are currently well integrated. Making better use of data, along with closer integration with sales and client service teams, is key to ensuring communications are relevant and consistent.”

Other findings from the report, which explores operational issues across all aspects of asset management, reveal that environmental, social and corporate governance issues are becoming a more important part of the investment decision-making process, with 73% saying that these considerations are playing a greater role.

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The survey also found that artificial intelligence is seen as having the greatest disruptive potential for the industry in the coming years with nearly half (49%) identifying it. By comparison, only 12% said that blockchain would be the leading disruptive technology.

Asset managers also seem to be more sanguine about the impact of Brexit. When asked about the effects of the EU referendum on their business back in September 2016, 29% reported that they had been negatively affected.

In this latest research, the proportion had fallen to 11% with 79% now saying it has had no effect on their company.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...