Are we ready for major changes in the investment and asset management industry?


Being open-minded in a fast changing industry: the best way to transform our models and stimulate collective energy.

After a period of uncertainty, let’s address the future! 

Autumn is always a good time to think about the future of our industry. Back from summer vacation, full of energy, we develop strategic plans and investment schemes for the coming years. We also attend key events in our industry. And, in my opinion, all speakers and leaders of the industry come to the same conclusion: After years of regulatory uncertainty, we now have a better understanding of potentially winning future business models, we are better at measuring the real impact of newcomers (Fintechs, Regtechs, GAFAs and BAXT) and we are highly conscious of the major transformations our industry is going through

The key reasons for the ongoing changes are mostly a result of technological progress, i.e. enhanced capabilities provided by a combination of Big Data, Cloud Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Smart automation, Blockchain, powerful smartphones, smart user interfaces, 5G networks and the Internet of Things. We know that the B2C market was the first to be impacted, with dramatic changes in industries such as entertainment, automotive, travel or libraries. New platforms and players such as Netflix, Apple, Uber, Facebook, Amazon or Alibaba play a major role in our daily lives as individuals today. 

Until now, we could say that the financial industry and major banking operators had not suffered as much from these transformations, as investors and asset managers tend to remain cautious about the way they manage their business and operating models. This is not true anymore! 

The major change is not only technical, it is also human & behavioural 

Change is happening now: Open Banking, APIs1, RPA2, deep learning and other technical features are starting to have a dramatic impact on our value chains. This can be seen in the ways we manage data, cooperate on market infrastructures and interact with our customers, our partners, as well as within our companies. The Millennial generation is entering the market with new expectations and a greater awareness of environmental challenges and scarce resources, and an entirely renewed relationship with the economy in general. The challenge for our industry is not only the profitability of our respective businesses, it is now more about our brand and the way we strengthen its innovative image on the market

Our relationship to time and space is changing dramatically, frontiers between work time and personal space are getting thinner, a growing number of people are getting to enjoy remote work and the ability to handle highly complex projects with teams located all around the world. 

As managers, being inspired and open-minded 

So here comes the key question for us, as market leaders and managers: are we ready for this change? What are the key skills of today’s leaders? How do we collaborate with our teams, our customers and even our former competitors to create tomorrow’s offers and leverage available technologies and agile methods? 

When most standard processes have been automated, and part of the human factor has been replaced by learning machines, where will the value to generate and preserve lie? SIBOS chose “Thriving in a hyper-connected world” as a motto for its 2019 edition in London, thus encouraging FinTechs and RegTechs to collaborate with traditional banks. 

Our concerns will not be technical at all, they will be related to the human factor, a deep transformation of our mindset and our collective approach to the future. Oliver Rees, keynote speaker at the European Investor Summit, provides us with useful keys to change mindsets and stimulate disruptive strategies3. He provides 48 cards to better understand our environment and establish new ways of thinking: being open, gaining value from experiences, building multi-disciplinary teams to tackle the challenges of our industry and answer customers’ requirements. We strongly recommend that you listen and follow his advice. 

Today, what we got is not money. What we got is the trust from the people.

To illustrate what an inspirational leader might be, take Jack Ma, 55, former manager of Alibaba for 20 years, a self-made man able to attract USD 25 billion during Alibaba’s IPO, the biggest in Wall Street’s history. He had no experience with computers or coding, but he was captivated by the internet when he used it for the first time and understood how he could create disruptive models. After Alibaba’s IPO, he said “Today, what we got is not money. What we got is the trust from the people”. And as bankers or asset managers, our customers’ TRUST remains the key value to leverage. 

Remaining “open-minded people” in an industry undergoing a major transformation is the best way to transform our models and stimulate collective energy.  


(1) Application Programming Interface.  
(2) Robotic Process Automation. 
(3) Oliver Rees:

Discover the best of video with the highlights of the 2019 European Investor Summit held in Paris