Fenergo surveyed the opinions of 174 senior decision-makers at Asset Management firms across EMEA, North America and APAC. Research showed that while most firms feel that it’s important to have a digital transformation strategy, just over one-third have reported completion (37%).
Presently 44% are implementing artificial intelligence (AI) into their customer experience and over the next two years, half (53%) of asset managers expect to introduce robotics processing automation (RPA) and blockchain (47%). Two-thirds (60%) of firms globally have not completed their cloud readiness strategy and 58% of firms are prioritizing investment for cloud technology within the next year.
The survey highlighted that the majority (84%) of asset managers have lost investors to digital-first disruptive competitors in the previous 12 months. Firms globally reported that an average 26% of investor applications were abandoned during onboarding due to inefficiencies in the previous year. In addition, asset managers (72%) see increased regulation due to the rise in financial crime as the biggest threat to their organization.
A key driver of transformation for most asset managers surveyed (67%) is the need to improve operational efficiencies, especially among those surveyed (82%) in APAC. The second biggest driver for change amongst firms globally is “increased competition from digital-first firms” (63%).
When it comes to barriers towards digital transformation, the research found that asset managers (70%) cite “poor planning and preparation” as the biggest barrier to implementing digital transformation in their organizations. Asset managers also cited a “lack of accountability from the executive team” (67%) and a “resistance to change” (56%) as other barriers too.
“Our research shows that while asset management firms are committed to digital strategies, they are clearly finding implementation a challenge, largely from a lack of accountability from the top and poor planning. Firms recognize how important it is to provide the optimal customer experience in an extremely competitive marketplace compounded by the pandemic and geopolitical uncertainty,” said Kevin O’Neill, global head of Asset Management and Asset Servicing and head of EMEA Sales at Fenergo, in a statement.
“Prior to the pandemic, asset managers were already faced with challenges around operational inefficiencies, increased regulatory scrutiny and the lure of digital-first competitors to younger investors. The research highlights that asset managers are losing investors and revenue opportunities due to inefficiencies. In today’s trading environment where operations mostly take place remotely, the need to digitally transform and streamline investor and product onboarding is critical.”