Performance issue 15 - September 2014


Performance Magazine - Issue 15

Investment Management - September 2014

“May you live in interesting times” is said to be the English translation of a Chinese curse. Curse or not, these are certainly interesting times for the Investment Management sector. Some of our markets, such as the U.S., UK and China, are returning to strong growth whilst the eurozone and many emerging markets remain under pressure. Macro intervention may be contributing to asset bubbles driving a hunt for yield, whilst pressure on operating models, returns and pricing is leading to restructuring across the sector. Nevertheless, AUM has continued to see strong growth over the last few years and most market participants expect this growth to continue over the medium term.

This, the 15th edition of Performance, addresses some of the interesting challenges facing asset managers. To set the scene, we take a look at how Martin Gilbert, the CEO of Aberdeen Asset Management, grew Aberdeen into what is now Europe’s largest listed fund manager. We later explore the changing investment management landscape in markets such as the UK and Mauritius and sub-sector groups such as securities lending and hedge funds.

If ‘interesting’ is a curse, it is that simply doing what we have always done is no longer good enough. The sector is growing and the outlook is overwhelmingly positive, but competition is also growing and regulators continue to increase the requirements on asset managers. Our view is that we are indeed seeing a seismic shift in the sector and that those market participants who embrace the opportunity to change will emerge on top whilst others will, perhaps, fall by the wayside. It will take innovation and agility to succeed, as well as a laser-like focus on effective execution. We believe the curse is in fact an opportunity and a clear call to action where the ‘winner takes all’. 

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