Digital Assets Report


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SEI identifies five key trends in disruptive technology

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The pace of technological change is unrelenting. The Internet of Things and the rise of the gig economy are changing the way that businesses and consumers interact with each other. It is therefore incumbent upon the asset management industry to embrace technological change and reimagine what is a tried and tested business model. More than ever, fund managers are having to innovate to operate more efficiently, more transparently, and in closer harmony with their end investors. 

As this report will show, there are five disruptive technological trends (as defined by five key companies) today that have, over recent years, prompted global businesses to take a step back, pause, and determine new ways of doing business. They include: Amazon, Google, Twitter, Uber and Watson (IBM). 

These trends are helping companies of all shapes and sizes embrace technology to deliver a more inclusive platform experience, become data smart to understand customers more completely than ever before, and communicate in ways that are more tailored and targeted, thereby revolutionising the customer experience. 

Each of the following five chapters illustrates how these trends are shaping our world, and, critically, provides considerations as to how asset managers can incorporate them into their daily businesses to enact change. One of the central themes throughout the report is just how far reaching these trends have become in today’s knowledge-based economy.

Even small changes, such as applying predictive analytics to a fund manager’s reporting process, can reap huge dividends. Learning how investors respond to certain information can give fund managers tremendous insights, giving them a platform with which to develop tailored reporting and communications, as well as product innovation. 

The investment industry has a long and impressive record of success. But this is no time to be complacent – not when the engines of the industry’s growth are slowing, the field of competitors is rapidly widening, and technology is transforming the landscape for every business. 

To stay competitive and take advantage of new opportunities, investment firms will need to think bigger and look beyond incremental improvements. That will take fresh thinking, a conscious shift in mindset and effective leadership at both the corporate and industry level. 

Hopefully the following five chapters will spark debate and encourage fund management teams to think differently as to how to grow their businesses in the gig economy. 

At a time when investor demographics are switching from baby boomers to millennials, the extent to which asset management groups embrace new technology will likely dictate the winners and losers of the future. Those who fail to overcome inertia will be left far behind as the relentless pace of technological innovation marches on. 

We hope you read this thought-leadership document and feel inspired as we head into 2017. 

Cognitive computing 

Cognitive computing and machine learning capabilities are becoming so great that even Elon Musk has raised concerns. 

Speaking recently at Recode’s Code Conference, he said: “I don’t know a lot of people who love the idea of living under a despot,” the inference being that self- awareness super-computers could become a malign force; think creepy-voiced HAL9000 in the seminal movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey. 

Such are the advances in computing power under Moore’s Law that businesses of all shapes and persuasions – not just the asset management industry – are leveraging cognitive computing systems that are becoming smarter and using human speech to carry out instructions; SIRI in the iPhone for example. 

Machine algorithms are imbuing cognitive computing systems and represent the next stage of artificial intelligence; one that harnesses predictive analytic capabilities to not just improve tactical activities such as client service, but overall enhance the way that we live our lives. These are systems that can simulate human thought, while learning as they continuously consume and process vast amounts of data. 

To read the SEI white paper entitled “The upside of disruption – why the future of asset management depends on innovation” in full, please click on the following link: 

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