The asset management industry, in line with all other industries worldwide, has entered the fourth industrial age, also referred to as Industry 4.0—an age in which processes that have traditionally been undertaken manually are becoming automated and positively disrupted and transformed through different technological means such as robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), culminating in intelligent automation.
The arrival of digital transformation is not new. In 2016, research showed a considerable discrepancy between companies understanding that digital transformation will disrupt their industry and those that were not prepared for this disruption. Accelerated by the global pandemic, this gap narrowed recently; however, with digital transformation tools and technologies becoming more available and accessible to more organizations, digitally transforming is more important than ever. We recently spoke on AIMA’s The Long-Short podcast about technology trends we’ve seen in the industry, the main drivers of automation adoption, and where we see the industry heading as these technologies continue to advance.
Intelligent automation allows organizations to reimagine the operating model, enable and augment the workforce and gain business agility. Business agility is typically associated more with startup firms rather than large organizations, so technology that provides agility to larger firms can make those firms more competitive.
However, RPA is not intelligent on its own. It simply automates a process and makes it faster. It’s a great tool for automating labor-intensive processes that don’t require much thought, like copying and pasting from emails into a spreadsheet or database or sending automated emails. By combining RPA with artificial intelligence, you create intelligent automation. These new technologies have been particularly impactful in the area of fund administration and hedge fund spaces, where automation can facilitate the speed of new account opening and speed to market, improve compliance checks, improve productivity and accuracy of reporting, improve risk analysis and more.
Digital workers are another growing trend in the industry, as intelligent automation provides organizations with an alternative labor source. These digital workers can operate 24/7 with a high level of accuracy, speed and productivity. Technology advances at an exponential speed rather than linear, so it’s hard to predict what the industry will look like in five years, but current trends are expected to continue to grow.