How do you sum up a year like 2020? I would say it’s been a roller coaster, no question. A global pandemic, environmental, geopolitical and social disruption, and many new risks. And that’s to say nothing yet of pressures closer to home in the asset management industry, ranging from margin pressure and complex new regulations, to intense competition.
When I began writing this blog, I first thought that last year’s version would be outdated. After all, so much has changed in just 12 months. But when I re-read my thoughts on 2020, a lot of my recommendations rang just as true today as they did then. The big difference? The scope, scale and pace of change. To call it immense is an understatement.
To succeed in 2021, I believe that asset managers must face new realities, manage new risks and, crucially, think differently. Winners will craft alternative pathways while simultaneously building agility into their business model to remain competitive long into the future.
So, what are the priorities that need to be at the heart of your 2021 strategy?
Drawing on input from my conversations with many clients, my colleagues across various parts of Accenture and some industry partners around the world with whom we work, I compiled what I believe are the top-five trends currently shaping conditions for asset managers. Based on this, hopefully these strategic imperatives will give asset managers a sense of what they should watch and plan for over the next year:
- Achieve sustainable cost reduction
- Be ready to embrace new forms of product innovation
- Improve the agility of your infrastructure
- Enable advanced technologies with a stronger data foundation
- Create and support a transformation culture
Yes, they’re big asks. But certainly not insurmountable, nor do I think they are optional. These are all foundational ways of working and capabilities that will likely drive differentiation and profitability in the future.