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Digital technologies are changing the world in which asset managers compete

Asset managers' views on the benefits of 'going digital' are wide-ranging, but broadly they are seen under the following 3 target outcomes:

  • Improving client engagement
  • Improving efficiency and controls
  • Improving business management

Where are the digital dollars being spent? How are digital programs being resourced? It's not just about how programs are being resourced but how they are being led.

Global outlook, Canadian perspective

Our recent global survey, Getting digital ready, found that most organizations are focusing their digital efforts in the front office, specifically in marketing, sales and distribution, as well as investments, and using a combination of in-house resources and multiple third-party providers to deliver on these digital programs.

Similar to their global counterparts, Canadian asset managers are keen to pursue external partnerships to integrate technology innovation effectively. In contrast, Canadian asset managers are focusing their technology efforts in the back office to achieve the most value and cost savings, specifically in product support and data analytics.

69%

of Canadian asset managers are investing in or exploring partnerships to integrate technology innovation into their business model/strategy

  

45%

are implementing tech in their back office to achieve the most value and cost savings (29% front office / 26% middle office)

  

The way forward for Canadian asset managers

With asset managers poised to devote significant funds to their digitization efforts in the next 12 months, it's time to make bold decisions about the right way forward.

To succeed in the digital world, Canadian asset managers must not only provide superior experiences for consumers, customers and employees, but deliver their brand promise in a more secure and nimble way. The opportunities are immense, but the challenges of going digital are not to be underestimated.  

Canadian asset management firms need to be resilient against budgetary and resource pressures from the regulatory change agenda and/or shifting organizational priorities. Undoubtedly, those successful at doing this will serve to separate digital winners from losers. The risk of waning commitment can be mitigated partially when benefits and outcomes are clearly articulated and broadly understood.

From what we see in the marketplace, the asset managers that are gaining the most from their digital investments have made it a central element of their firm's culture. Going digital is embedded in all their strategic and operational plans. Their leaders have a clear sense of the benefits and prioritize investments accordingly. Digital is woven into people's roles and daily work, so it becomes an inseparable and central component of a firm's culture — these firms just are digital.

We can help your business go digital. Whether it's a strategic reset, designing a digital client experience or creating the data and analytics capability to drive sophisticated client segmentation and targeting strategies, we'll work with you to help achieve your goals.

It's decision time.

Let's do this.

In an era of digital revolutions, crowded markets, and regulation creep, now is not the time for complacency.

James Loewen,
Partner and National Sector Lead for Asset Management,
KPMG in Canada