TSAM Europe is the leading event for companies in the investment management sector. Held annually, the conference brings together strategic business leaders and operational team managers within asset management, fund management, investment management, private wealth and hedge fund firms.
TSAM Europe 2015, held yesterday, consisted of hundreds of industry delegates, expert speakers, case studies and six in-depth streams focused on areas such as technology and operational risk, client reporting, communications and OTC derivative for fund management and for the first time ever, a data management stream.
From the opening discussions it was evident to all those in attendance that asset managers are facing the same regulatory challenges that other firms within the finance sector are combating at the moment. In the opening speech by Uday Singh (CEO, Osney Buy-Side) he said that there is a huge opportunity at the moment for firms to move forward because of the digital and data revolution, however, with opportunities come challenges and threats, which are presented in the form of more demanding investors and regulatory pressure for greater transparency and the threat from non-traditional asset management companies.
During the ‘The horizon of the regulatory landscape in asset management’, panellists discussed what regulators are going to require from asset managers in the future. William Amos, Director, Wholesale Banking and Investment Management, FCA said that regulators are going to be accessing how investors are acting on behalf of their clients, identifying if their costs are transparent enough and determining if asset managers are firstly considering risks and then making an effort to monitor and manage these risks.
According to Susan Wright, Regulatory and Compliance Specialist, The Investment Association, firms are currently taking the opportunity to consider where they want to be in five years’ time and due to completion in the market, there is a realisation that “firms cannot be everything to everyone.” Regulations such as Solvency II, which requires insurers to rethink their investment strategies, will have an impact on asset managers because a huge proportion of their business comes from insurers.
There was a huge emphasis on data management at TSAM Europe this year, with data playing a vital part for both regulators and asset managers. Data management is becoming increasingly hard for firms to manage which is why they are considering how best to tackle and report on their data. “Data can be helpful and useful,” said Amos, “there are things that data can provide such as leading indicators on where we may want to spend resources.”
‘The future of the industry – opportunities and threats’ panel discussion focused on where the industry is heading, and Rakesh Vengayill Chief Operating Officer, Asia Pacific and Emerging Markets, BNP Paribas Investment Partners believes that over the next few years there will be significant consolidation and because global asset managers are entering emerging markets there will be a wider landscape in the future for global investment.
Srivathsa Gopinath, Global Co-head of Client Operations, Goldman Sachs Asset Management said that transparency is a big issue at the moment and so is having the right team in place to support restructure processes.
According to Neil Smyth, Marketing and Technology Director, Statpro Group (who provide asset valuation services and portfolio analysis solutions for the global asset management industry) they are seeing three key elements that asset management clients are struggling with:
1. Data management: firms are struggling to control the data they have over lots of separate systems. Firms want to know how they can consolidate this data and be consistent.
2. Compliance: It is costing the industry a lot of money and firms want to know how they can comply in a more cost effective way.
3. Client service: Firms want to know how they can better serve their clients and differentiate themselves from competition by responding to reporting requests and distribute their information in digital ways.
TSAM Europe highlighted that asset managers need to invest in technology and treat data as an asset. Firms were advised to create data strategies featuring tier systems, in which data and IT professional work closely together. Smyth advises firms that are considering replacing their current legacy system to not just replace it, but to replace it with something better. “If you are looking to replace a stream engine, don’t replace it with another steam engine, replace it with a bullet train.”