COVID-19, quiet quitting, talent shortages and sourcing, ghosting, revenue pressures, cost cutting, and global economic and political uncertainties, to name just a few of the factors managers need to juggle in these modern times. Disruptors in and of themselves, are exhausting to solve but make no mistake, asset managers do need to solve them. Layer in increasingly complex and often manually labor-intensive operating environments and overcoming these challenges becomes all the more daunting—and costly. In the end, and as different as they are topically, they all share one commonality; they have a significant impact on a manager’s ability to focus on their core remit—to produce favorable economic results for their clients.
For better or worse, today’s workplace and financial services as a whole are more dynamic than they have ever been, and the pressures being placed on managers by their investors have never been more intense. We all know that pronounced challenges give rise to pronounced creativity, but the manager’s fiduciary responsibility must remain front and center. Remote workers, hybrid work environments, video calls and the “kitchen table conference room”—now all too common in the “new norm” for financial services—can be attributable to this creativity, as can the acceleration of the move into outsourcing as managers jettison those functions no longer deemed core. Without question, outsourcing has always been a staple of financial services; but make no mistake, things are different now and the traditional drivers of change have shifted. Never before has the industry experienced such a dramatic convergence of so many detrimental variables coupled with the historical reasons for outsourcing (increased efficiencies, access to specialized expertise, etc.).
With increasing acceptance, asset managers are truly (and some would suggest, finally) re-defining their core competencies scrutinizing processes previously viewed as an additive to the investment process, outsourcing those that are deemed outliers to a provider whose core competency is financial services (ultimately freeing up increasingly hard-to-retain talent to focus on more meaningful duties, enriching the employee experience). Further, the “value” (an oft-overused and misunderstood concept) providers deliver to the ecosystem is taking on much more widespread and meaningful recognition by managers; those providers who are able to deliver leading-edge technology, backed by a support model that adds intellect to information will become more desirable and become even more valuable.
While the “one-size-fits-all” solution will remain a unicorn, one thing is certain; the elegant, if not artful, seamless integration of people and technology will lead the way and the managers who embrace these disruptors and are truly able to reimagine their operating environment will emerge as the winners and be able to quiet the noise and deliver for their investors.
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Written by Brian K. Fitzgerald
Senior Business Development Executive