The study by enterprise and mobile software specialist Sybase and Financial Insights questioned over 200 broker-dealers, investment banks and hedge funds with capital or assets under management ranging from under $10 billion to over $100 billion.
Two-thirds of buy-side firms said they are "actively planning" to make changes to their business as a result of the financial crisis, as are 80 per cent of sell-side firms.
Investment in some areas of IT is expected to increase as organizations work towards these changes, with moderate increases in spending anticipated from both buy-side and sell-side companies.
Risk was widely seen as a key area for investment, with compliance a key priority for all firms, Sybase said.
Financial Insights analyst Sean O'Dowd said: "While capital markets firms are confronted with an extremely difficult market environment, the study's evidence suggests that they are diligently working to position themselves for future success."
Sybase was established in Berkeley, California in 1984.