A research study published last week by London-based think tank Create Research deserves a closer look. Amin Rajan, who is both CEO of Create and an early mentor to Closir, conducted a study into how digitisation, and the intrusion of internet and mobile players, looks set to reshape the asset management industry during the coming months.
Fund managers themselves have been slow to embrace technological innovation, although in the last 12 months a number of global trends have started to help the process along:
- An exponential growth in number of affluent investors
- An increasingly tech-savvy population
- Greater flexibility in pension contributions and longer life expectancy
- Increasing demand for transparency and synchronisation from regulators
- Growth of geographically ‘portable’ investment products such as ETFs
- The popularity of social media channels spilling over into the finance community
The report outlines the emergence of several new models:
In the evolving marketplace, virtual advisors offer the mass affluent market a streamlined communication process through mobile and digital media, enabling them to take advantage of technology while retaining some of the personal touch.
Online advice platforms, or ‘robo advisors’ as they are being called by some, have already started to offer retail clients the chance to build personalised portfolios using proprietary algorithms.
Fund consolidation portals will help them to aggregate and manage investible funds across multiple platforms.
Given the obvious opportunities these trends present for ambitious and resourceful technology players, it’s unsurprising to hear Google and Apple mentioned as potential disruptors. Create’s report suggests mobile phone providers may also be well positioned to enter the fray.
Although industry players have been losing sleep over the tech giants for some time, there are obvious hurdles for data-sharing social technology companies in an industry which is defined by a strong risk culture, regulatory oversight and the importance of data security.
Strategic partnership with finance players may be a good option for technology and mobile companies, as it offers them a way to mitigate these concerns while making the most of complementary skill sets. There have already been some high-profile collaborations, with Aberdeen Asset Management forming an alliance with Google and Canadian mobile provider Rogers Communications partnering with Canadian bank CIBC.
Change may be gradual in an industry traditionally resistant to technology. Create points to the airline industry as a successful model, where both customers and providers quickly adapted to the increased efficiency offered by technology as concerns over security proved to be exaggerated.
Source: Create Research