In today’s investment landscape, a paradigm shift is underway. Economic headwinds, ever-changing financial regulations, and the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and financial technology are transforming the industry.
What clients want is evolving, too. Returns alone are not enough. Clients today are looking for asset managers who can meet a comprehensive set of needs and deliver greater value for their money.
Another key macro development: the demand for scale. The larger a firm grows, the more efficiently it can operate.
Combined, these trends augur a volatile future for markets and the financial industry overall. While they pose myriad challenges, they also present opportunities for financial firms and investment professionals to evolve and grow.
Consider these unfolding dynamics just in the city of Atlanta, which will host the 73rd CFA Institute Annual Conference: Invesco has acquired OppenheimerFunds, SunTrust and BB&T are set to merge, and now the historic Atlanta Society of Finance and Investment Professionals has been rebranded CFA Society Atlanta.
In finance today, change is the new normal.
We’re both seeing an accelerated rate of transformation within our industry. It’s revealing that Investment Professional of the Future, a report from CFA Institute, found that over the next five to 10 years, 43% of professionals anticipate that their current role will change significantly. What’s more, 89% of investment industry leaders surveyed agreed that individuals’ roles will be transformed multiple times during their careers.
What can financial professionals do to stay relevant today and tomorrow? To remain competitive, they need to maintain a balance of technical and soft skills and combine deep subject matter expertise with wider knowledge of the financial ecosystem. They have to enhance their leadership and client-facing abilities so they can articulate a clear vision while managing and influencing others. Upward career mobility requires honing those leadership capabilities. Industry leaders have made it clear: These soft skills are among the most essential — and the most difficult to find.
As fintech grows more important, teams with diverse backgrounds and competencies will be critical to bring together human judgment and technological know-how. Investment professionals must have the tech savvy to navigate and harness continual technological change. And that requires more than just a basic facility. They will have to leverage tech to improve client outcomes and firm performance — and be able to explain it.
And so the successful investment professional of the future will need to take a more hands-on approach to learning and career development. Self-directed lifelong learning will be crucial.
Employers can also offer opportunities to help their personnel evolve. Invesco is investing more in learning and development than ever before. Continuously training its people is vital to remaining competitive, positioning the firm ahead of the shifting business landscape, and helping people grow in their careers.
All considered, in 10 years the investment industry will look markedly different than it does today. Recent changes represent just the tip of the iceberg.
Yet one thing is clear — the financial community is poised to navigate this evolving landscape. The talent it attracts, the human capital it contains, the resources at its disposal, and, most of all, the mission it serves will give it the tools to meet the challenge.
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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.
Image credit: ©Getty Images/©Arvind Balaraman