Fund Operator Summit Europe – Day One recap
The volatile market is creating a new level of challenges, say several of the fund management’s most notable Chief Operating Officers.
Fund Operator Editor POSTED ON 11/15/2022 12:28:15 PM
The market is in flux, and the fact that some large digital assets and crypto firms are failing is just one sign, along with geopolitics and regulation inconsistencies. This is creating market volatility that is set to continue.
This view from senior market leaders kicked off day one of Fund Operator Summit Europe today in London. “The credibility problem is about creating holistic products for our clients,” said Marie Dzanis, Head of Asset Management, EMEA for Northern Trust. “Conversations on credibility are about solving holistic problems for our clients - we need to be involved in the dialogue shaping regulations,” she added.
"“Digitisation is key – there are so many ways to use technology for a digital future. We can use technology to better understand behavioural indicators without typical biases.”
Dzanis gave the opening keynote, where she focused on the industry’s most pressing issues. Her keynote covered three main themes. The first was generational impact, which included how to manage clients, service providers, and employees from a different generation. Dzanis said that operations managers must think differently about how they approach their teams. Other themes included operations today and the digital world, key issues for the future.
Day one of the event focused on operations for fund operators, with Dzanis saying that the industry needed to be more holistic, which means being involved with processes from start to finish and learning to cope with change as the norm. She also highlighted digitisation as one of the most important aspects. “Digitisation is key – there are so many ways to use technology for a digital future. We can use technology to better understand behavioural indicators without typical biases.”
She also warned on the issues that this flux and volatility were causing – particularly with employee wellbeing and hybrid working.
“We cannot be running in sprints and cannot continue at an untenable pace -- there’s a completely unusual dynamic created in hybrid work situations. Employees are not engaged. The industry hasn’t gotten hybrid working right yet. We need to do a better job of talking about this,” said Dzanis. She said she viewed this phenomenon as part of the post-pandemic flux that included failing at implementing hybrid work at a meaningful level. This issue included, Dzanis explained, the compartmentalisation of working from home and issues around burnout, so-called “quiet quitting”, and mental health.
"There’s a need for technology to assist with capabilities around data – but it’s changing.”
This theme was also highlighted in the first panel discussion of the event, which included Davina Goodall-Smith, Chief Operating Officer -- EMEA, Nikko Asset Management Group, Stephen Millar, VP, Head Of EMEA, Baron Capital Management, Kate McClellan, Chief Operating Officer, Aviva Investors, and Frank Glock, Managing Director, SimCorp, speaking about the drivers for change, especially around fee pressures.
“Fee pressures are not new,” said McClellan. “There’s a need for technology to assist with capabilities around data – but it’s changing.”
This was emphasised by a wide-ranging set of topics that included data, ESG, cultural change, post-pandemic talent management as well as remuneration and issues from the so-called “great resignation”.
“We need agile, simple operating models in order to adapt quickly to changes,” said Goodall-Smith, discussing the way the industry was changing and what it needed to learn. She added she was seeing a renewed emphasis on efficiencies for operations.
McClellan said she was seeing more focus on outsourcing and that her organisation had new policies in place to outsource higher up the value chain.
In their closing remarks, all the panellists said they see no sign of this volatility slowing down and that 2023 was likely to be as changeable.
The event will continue tomorrow and Thursday.
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