Regulatory pressures and automation dominate asset management in 2018

The rise of automation and the need to become a digitally driven asset manager to cope with regulatory deadlines, were reoccurring themes during this year’s TSAM London event. The increasing demand to fully embrace fintech solutions, cut down on costs and relieve pressure on resources, remain at the heart of issues facing the asset management industry this year.

The annual event, TSAM, looked at approaching regulatory changes and in an open panel discussion on the impact of rising regulations, the audience deemed that the current sentiment on the topic is becoming more of a threat than it is an opportunity to their business. The audience also strongly agreed that aligning regulation across different departments internally is still a challenge.

To meet regulatory deadlines, organisations are turning to automation to help improve the quality of data and remove any data gaps to remain compliant. However, with the notion of automation as a solution to ease regulatory pressure, this also opened up debate around the long-term impact on future job security. Regulation departments and legal practitioners have long been viewed as professions invulnerable to increased automation. Nevertheless, companies looking to reduce costs, increase efficiency and speed up processes are turning towards automation solutions company wide, raising a question mark over what the future workforce may look like.

Outside of regulation and automation, the two-day conference considered wider issues threatening the sustainability of the industry. Gender inequality and diversity in asset management as well as wider macroeconomic and geopolitical events headlined as this year’s keynote panels. Panellists warned the audience of these upcoming themes and the impact they will have on the industry.

Statistics from a TSAM survey revealed during the panel discussion disclosed only 26% of practitioners believe the asset management industry as a whole is “good” or “very good” at implementing gender equality and diversity. The panel argued that there is an underlying gap in the industry’s understanding of the issue which needs to be addressed to ensure its relevancy and longevity.

The panel led by Natixis Asset Management, Manulife Asset Management, GAM and the Official Monetary Forum for Financial Institutions also considered Trump’s administration and the uncertain result of the Italian elections as upcoming issues that should not be overlooked by the industry and their impact on assets.

Jonathan Wiser, Director at Osney Media, said: “As seen in previous years, regulatory pressures and the adaptation to implement long lasting and efficient solutions remained the reoccurring themes during our two-day conference. Yet, we kicked off our keynote panels, focussing on the longer leading issues threatening the industry. It will be interesting to see how the industry evolves over the next year and whether macroeconomic events and the need to diversify our workforce to better reflect clients will become more dominate.”