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Asset managers’ top priorities for 2014 revealed

Attendees at Investit’s 19th Intelligence Conference held on 12th March identified their key priorities for 2014. The conference focused on delivering Investit’s industry leading research on Effective Change Management in Investment Management and the Current State of Automation in the Front and Middle Office.

The top three priorities for member firms are:

  • 93%: regulatory change projects
  • 66%: data management
  • 52%: front office systems

There is renewed interest in front office systems as firms look to consolidate systems for greater efficiencies and to resolve data inconsistencies between systems. A major driver is to improve support for multi-asset strategies. Catherine Doherty, Investit CEO commented: ‘We have been working with firms to design and support multi-asset products. After the UK Budget announcement that Defined Contribution pension savers will no longer be required to buy annuities there is a great opportunity for fund managers to provide retirement income products. We expect a lot more work to go into supporting large scale multi-asset processes to meet this potential demand’.

Data management has been a consistent priority for the Intelligence membership for many years with the focus now turning to improved data governance to resolve data quality problems. The message from Investit’s Jerry Slason: ‘Too many firms have tried to tackle data with IT. It is necessary, but without thoughtful governance it is just not sufficient.’

Regulatory change projects being the top priority came as no surprise. A poll of the delegates showed that 64% had Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) as the regulatory activity causing most concern. This was followed by Central Clearing (EMIR & Dodd Drank) 41% and Dear CEO: Managing Operational Risk of Outsourcing (36%). Investit will be running a client forum on fund governance aspects of AIFMD while the FCA is already focusing on the conflicts of interest inherent in fund structures, such as the use of equity commission.

The conference was attended by more than 60 senior management delegates from 24 top-tier investment managers and investment operations service providers.