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2017 and Beyond: How Asset Managers are Preparing for the Digital Future

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Combine the low interest environment with the current digital tsunami, shifting demographics, the move from active to passive and new well-funded players in fintech, and it is clear the asset management industry is witnessing unprecedented levels of change. That’s not to mention rising competition from new players such as robo-advisory firms. That means personalization and customer engagement will be one key to ensure growth in the future. Indeed, Bob Reynolds, President and CEO of Putnam Investments, believes it’s not about active or passive investing but how to make investment goals personal to a client and personalize them for a customer, according to the Roubini Thoughtlab report on Wealth and Asset Management 2021.

Technology has the ability to shape the client experience for the industry as well. With more palatable advisory fees and other cost-effective services across commoditized asset classes, technology can increase the global reach of wealth management firms as wealth is redistributed across global and emerging markets.

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2017 and Beyond: How Asset Managers are Preparing for the Digital Future

  1. 1. DAVID DONOVAN How Asset Managers are Preparing for the Digital Future 2017 AND BEYOND:
  2. 2. Combine the low interest environment with the current digital tsunami, shifting demographics, the move from active to passive and new well- funded players in fintech, and it is clear the asset management industry is witnessing unprecedented levels of change. That’s not to mention rising competition from new players such as robo-advisory firms. That means personalization and customer engagement will be one key to ensure growth in the future. Indeed, Bob Reynolds, President and CEO of Putnam Investments, believes it’s not about active or passive investing but how to make investment goals personal to a client and personalize them for a customer, according to the Roubini Thoughtlab report on Wealth and Asset Management 2021. Technology has the ability to shape the client experience for the industry as well. With more palatable advisory fees and other cost-effective services across commoditized asset classes, technology can increase the global reach of wealth management firms as wealth is redistributed across global and emerging markets. PATH TO DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION In 2017, as senior asset management leaders examine their strategies and budgets to fund the path to digital transformation, one consistent point of emphasis will hold; that one size does not fit all for any digital strategy. However, there are some universal themes that should be looked at as you plan for 2017 and beyond. Establish a governance framework for enterprise digital transformation—One key to success is the development of an enterprise strategic plan for digital transformation. Each business unit, department and division within your company might be engaged in everything from mobile to cloud to creating a customer experience. However, if there isn’t an overarching governance framework tying those digital strategies with your organization’s overall goals, you could have small short-term wins without meaningful long-term transformation. 1
  3. 3. Place the customer at the center of transformation—What you do for the customer is vital for digital success. Doing digital for the sake of it (“I can build a mobile app for this”) without putting the customer at the center of your strategy will lead to minimal return on value. Develop an omni-channel approach—As an asset manager you should be able to seamlessly meet your customer needs whenever and wherever the customer desires across multiple channels. These channels are not all digital, but you need a consistent, integrated experience from mobile to websites and down through to your call centers in order to drive loyalty. That includes self-service, the ability to review portfolio holdings or instantly speak with an advisor. This is not only a generational requirement (“I will target the millennials”) but for customers across all demographics. Support the SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) Stack—Asset managers, unlike some of the large retail and commercial banks, have less legacy technology and infrastructure. Moving from legacy, on-premise architecture to an architecture that is open (open APIs), modular and agile to leverage the SMAC stack can offer the flexibility you need to deliver sustainable engagement. Identify your own unique path—“Technology is making customization easier and cheaper each day,” says Alexa von Tobel, Founder and CEO of LearnVest. The path to digital transformation is not the same for every institution. You have to look beyond the market noise and hype about what a competitor is doing to see what fits with your specific strategic goals and objectives. Define a talent acquisition strategy—Asset managers have different strategies to target talent. For example, UBS has decided to build talent in house and create “digital garages.” Others are looking at third party partners and startups to find scarce talent, while some are tapping into academia to build a pipeline of the future. GREATER COMPETITION LIES AHEAD Digital is leveling the playing field for asset managers with lower barriers to entry that empower new, nimble competitors to take market share. At the same time, client demands are changing as they expect similar experiences when they interact with the rest of the digital world. For traditional firms, going digital is not without challenges, but doing nothing is not an option. Welcome to 2017. Another year of constant change and disruption. 2 3 4 5 6
  4. 4. Sapient Global Markets, a division of Sapient® (NASDAQ: SAPE), is a leading provider of services to today’s evolving financial and commodity markets. We provide a full range of capabilities to help our clients grow and enhance their businesses, create robust and transparent infrastructure,  manage operating costs, and foster innovation throughout their organizations. We offer services across Advisory, Analytics, Technology, and Process, as well as unique methodologies in program management, technology  development, and process outsourcing. Sapient Global Markets operates in key financial and commodity centers worldwide, including Boston, Chicago, Houston, New York, Calgary, Toronto, London, Amsterdam, Düsseldorf,  Geneva, Munich, Zurich, and Singapore, as well as in large technology development and operations outsourcing centers in Bangalore, Delhi, and Noida, India. For more information, visit www.sapientglobalmarkets.com. SapientNitro® , an active element of Publicis.Sapient, is a trusted advisor to clients looking to imagine new business models, new services and new possibilities for the age of the customer – driven by the power of technology. Our capabilities across brand and marketing; sales and service; technology and operations and deep industry expertise allows us to drive measurable business impact for today’s leading brands by putting customer experience at the heart of their organization. For more information, visit www.sapientnitro.com. AUTHORS CONTACT David Donovan – Senior Vice President David Donovan is a Vice President and Global Portfolio Lead across Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. He specializes in developing innovative solutions for our financial services clients, as well as establishing and managing relationships with top global investment banks. Since joining Sapient in 2005, David has been involved in a number of key strategic initiatives designed to help banks optimize operations, meet industrialization goals and leverage global resources in order to reduce costs and increase revenue. Prior to joining Sapient in 2005, he spent 13 years at Fidelity Investments as a Senior Trader. For more thinking from David Donovan follow his posts on LinkedIn or view his blog on Finextra. FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES: Geoff Whitehouse gwhitehouse@sapient.com +44 (0) 207 456 6550 FOR GENERAL INQUIRIES: Reach out to info@sapient.com

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