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Robo-advisors and ‘digital giants’ are biggest threat to asset managers, Misys research unveiled

Investment management professionals fear a threat of disruption in financial services, revealed Misys, the leading financial software company, as it announced the results of recent research undertaken amongst 200 participants at the Misys Connect Forum – London.

In the Investment Management-specific stream of the conference, survey participants were of the opinion that a digital giant entering poses the greatest threat of disruption to the asset management industry (50%); followed by robo-advisors (38%); and client-facing digital disruptors (13%). In terms of asset class/strategy, participants said exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are deemed the highest priority for the next 12-18 months (38%); followed by alternatives (25%); emerging markets (25%); and liability-driven investment (LDI) (13%).

James Pinnington, Head of Investment Management, Northern Europe at Misys commented: “Disruption is rife in financial services, particularly on the retail side – but asset management is the next target for challengers and disruption. While new challengers will likely launch with strong digital distribution models, traditional asset managers will win out with even stronger diversification in asset class coverage. But 75 per cent of asset managers declare that system interoperability is the biggest barrier to asset class diversification. Technology will be the enabler to success for both traditional and start-up asset managers.”

Furio Pietribiasi, CEO of Mediolanum Asset Management also spoke at the conference: “Asset managers focusing on the retail market need to look to more sophisticated strategies, as government bonds are no longer generating attractive yields. Many are turning to equities, which is challenging as the volatility is something that clients are afraid of. We have seen a huge amount of new products in the ‘multi-asset’ space, where sophistication is not simply the diversification of asset classes and instruments, but the way assets are managed.”

The one-day conference was recorded graphically as an Investment Management infographic here:

Misys Connect Forum London IM mindmap