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Wealth and asset management firms lead banks in race to embrace new tech, says survey

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Wealth and asset managers in Europe are closer to embracing new technologies than their sell-side counterparts because CEOs in the industry understand the importance of technology within the business, according to over 200 Information Technology (IT) executives working in the financial services sector.

Survey results released today by Excelian, Luxoft Financial Services – the financial services IT consultancy division of Luxoft, a global IT service provider – reveal that 87 per cent of IT executives working for Wealth & Asset Management firms believe their CEOs understand the importance of technology within the business. In contrast, 75 per cent of IT executives working in banking and capital markets are frustrated by a lack of understanding of technology in the boardroom.
On both the buy-side and sell-side, most firms still understandably spend most of their technology budgets on implementing regulatory compliance and cyber-security systems. Despite this, Wealth & Asset Management firms appear to be taking a longer term view about how technology could impact their business. Sixty-five per cent of respondents working on the buy-side believe technology is fundamental to the survival of their business, whereas only 56 per cent of respondents working in banks agree.   
The top priority for technologists working on the buy-side is moving the business onto the cloud – 81 per cent agree this is a strategic priority, whilst 76 per cent also believe improving automation is a high priority.
Whilst both IT departments on the sell-side and buy-side are concerned about a lack of investment in technology, the frustrations are more acute in banks – 86 per cent of respondents working for banks complain about a lack of investment in IT, compared to 77 per cent of those working on the buy-side.  Some buy-side firms are therefore still looking to find a competitive edge, made more crucial given mounting regulatory pressures, the fee squeeze and the stubbornly low interest rates in Europe.
“There is clearly a growing chasm between how those on the sell-side and the buy-side view technology,” says Roman Trachtenberg (pictured), Group Managing Director and Global head of Excelian, Luxoft Financial Services. “Investment banks have been bogged down by regulatory compliance costs for the last ten years, whilst Wealth & Asset Managers have been able to experiment more freely with technology.
“Balancing technology projects that keep the lights on against those that encourage innovation and growth has been more of a strategic priority for buy-side executives. As a result, disrupters are emerging on the buy-side with firms using technologies like Alexa to service investors whilst robo-advice is undercutting traditional business models.”
These latest survey results are part of Excelian, Luxoft Financial Services’ ongoing campaign to understand the frustrations of IT executives in the financial sector.

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