Performance issue 18 - October 2015

Article

Performance Magazine - Issue 18

Asset Management - September 2015

Asset Management – a Profession with Identity

We speak, and analyse and work a lot with the term asset management – sometimes investment management (is there a difference and if so which?) – and yet we are generally concerned with its effects, its outcomes, its facets rather than its essence per se. That we are concerned with outcomes is only right, one of the signs of asset management coming of age is that it starts to sell solutions and not products.

On the downside, it clearly is not held in high esteem by the general public as a whole. In surveys, asset managers are considered lower in the eyes of those responding than bankers or more or less any other profession. It is slightly hard to understand this poor ranking given that it is more than probable that few if any of that same general public could readily define what an asset manager is or what she or he does. So dire is this perception of the profession that some industry professionals themselves have publicly stated that there is little if any hope of improving that image, a view not shared by all thankfully. Nevertheless seeking to redress the balance is likely to be an uphill task.

We have always sought to look ahead in Performance, but in this edition we have taken a step further down that path. We consider asset management, in its broadest form, in the context of pension investing, of insurance investing, as a part of the global market and a tool for geo-political change. We consider the inter-relationship between core investment management and those services it needs to function, and we look at those initiatives that are likely to come to further shape the future of the profession whether we like them or not.

Asset management has its role to play; it may never be cherished in the hearts of the greater public but its practitioners will be satisfied if using the tools at their disposal, and their skill and judgement they can in future years look back on how the issues that are looming, issues of retirement provision and pensions, issues of funding long term economic growth through wealth creation, have been addressed and conclude “job done” .

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