Digital transformation is reshaping the investment industry. The last 12 months have had a huge and lasting impact on how we advise, distribute and market investment products. The adoption of new digital tools and channels has been unprecedented and rendered old ways of working obsolete. Will these changes be lasting? Will the new habits stick and how do fund groups thrive within these new ways of working?
In the final series of webinars hosted during FE fundinfo’s ‘Better Connected’ Client Conference, industry professionals from Europe, the UK and Asia took part to answer these questions and gain a better understanding of how fund groups can build their digital brands, hearing insight from Practical Futurist and TEDx speaker, Andrew Grill. Andrew also provided tips on how groups can adapt to a new distributed way of marketing and selling, while a panel discussion chaired by Suki Thompson, founder of transformation agency Let’s Reset and panellists Pascal Duval from Amundi Asset Management and Dominic Traynor of BNY Mellon Asset Management discussed their own companies’ approaches.
Additionally, sessions from across Italy and Spain also looked at the international M&A landscape in asset management and its future evolution, how ESG can be a driver for future growth in the fund industry, competition and pressures on margins in Spain and how insurers can contribute to the consolidation process that is likely to accelerate in the coming years.
Are you digitally curious? This was the primary question posed to the audience at the beginning by keynote speaker Andrew Grill. Having a digitally curious approach is essential within any business, particularly in a world where consumer buying habits have changed beyond all recognition. Where consumers are becoming ever more comfortable with digital marketing and selling, every business – and not just those in the global funds industry – must fast forward their digital tools now, or risk being left behind. As Andrew said,
“B2B buyers have gotten a taste of the digital marketplace and things are not going to go back to normal.”
Disruption will be a key theme for many sectors and the funds industry will be no exception. Attracted by high profits, new technologies and new client demands, digital disruptors are becoming more prevalent across every facet of the financial services industry and in an environment where speed, transparency and expertise are paramount, the most successful digital marketeers will be those who are willing and able to share content which builds awareness, establishes thought leadership, which in turn forms the foundation of credibility and trust and solidifies value.
So what does all that mean for organisations in the fund management industry? To get a sense of the challenges and opportunity, we can look towards the success of other industries. The insurance industry for example, which has similarly high value, if complicated products which are heavily regulated, has seen the more innovative and disruptive companies utilising AI, chatbots and mobile apps (among others) which are encouraging companies to consider how they can use and share their data more effectively. If this seems like the distant future for the relatively slow-paced funds industry, then it should be remembered, that it doesn’t matter if this change is happening in other sectors now, as it will ultimately impact on every sector in the very near future.
The last 12 months has shown everyone in the funds industry that we can work differently, and that the dial has been tweaked on a major barrier to change, which is human habitual behaviour and a natural resistance to change. The key, as Andrew reminded the audience, is everyone, from Chief Executive to Graduate Trainee is to be digitally curious.
FE fundinfo’s ‘Better Connected’ conference ran throughout the first quarter of 2021 and looked at a variety of issues affecting the industry, including forthcoming regulatory changes and the future of fund data exchange.
With ESG hitting the mainstream over the past 18 months, new regulations geared towards ethical investing, such as the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) have come into effect. This presents both data and regulatory challenges to fund groups across Europe. At a time when many fund groups are continuing to grapple with the transition from UCITS KID reporting to the forthcoming PRIIPs regulation, the burden of regulation is ever-present, this webinar looks at how fund groups are responding to the latest regulatory developments.
Data has often been described as ‘the new oil’, and in the funds industry this has never rung truer as its importance continues to grow. Data and data exchange, its accuracy and quality affects both the ‘upstream’ (those fund groups who create and manage data) and the ‘downstream’ (banks, insurers and others) aspects of the industry who use it to market funds to the end investor. Find out how data is impacting on fund group operations across the industry.
To find out more and to hear the panel discussions, see our show case and visit the ‘Better Connected’ hub.