Asset manager bosses slow to wake up to power of tech spending, PwC finds

Green-Shoots-Emerging-Growth-700.jpgAsset and wealth management chief executives are not prioritising their digital skills, according to PwC’s latest global survey.

The CEO Survey, which interviewed 1,379 chief executives globally, shows 65 per cent of asset managers see technology as the major disruption for competition within five years leading to a reshape of businesses. However just 10 per cent are making a marked effort to improve their digital skills.

Last year, almost two-thirds of asset management chief executives, of a sample of 189 people, saw the speed of technological change as a threat to their business where shifting customer behaviours, cybersecurity and stock market volatility were all cited as potential threats to business growth.

On the new results of the survey, Schroders UK group chief executive Peter Harrison says: “As technology in the workplace increases, it will have a big impact on both people and culture. It’ll change the type of people you employ. It’ll change the culture of delivery within the organisation. It’ll drive us away from applying human thoughts to things which can be automated in a very logical way.”

PwC also shows asset managers are the most confident about the growth of their business for the next year than other bosses in financial services.

This represents 92 per cent of asset and wealth managers interviewed compared to 86 per cent of other FS firms’ bosses.

Other findings include:

●       Fifty-two per cent of CEOs are planning strategic alliances or joint ventures and 41 per cent are planning a merger or acquisition.

●        Sixty-two per cent say it has become more difficult to gain and retain trust in the sector, reflecting a financial services wide concern about falling levels of trust in business.

●        OECD economies are viewed as the most important for the sector’s growth in 2017 with the US as a key market.

●        Focusing on the financial centres that are most important for the sector’s growth, CEOs put New York top.

PwC UK asset and wealth management leader Mark Pugh says: “Confidence is high, but the sector is showing signs of being slow to innovate and adapt – particularly to technology and a changing customer base. The sector demonstrates a dramatic need to drive technology adoption, global expansion, and recruit new talent.

“Their muted responses to issues on technology show some firms are planning on continuing business as usual and it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that some are at real risk of being swept aside by those already taking action.”