Main Interview Findings
We interviewed 27 senior figures from 21 IMA member firms and asked them a range of questions about the evolution in client needs, products and market conditions.
The predominant industry theme remains one of seeking better to serve specific client objectives. Client needs are changing due to a combination of factors including recent financial market conditions, regulation and accounting rules, and the evolution of the pension delivery architecture internationally.
A greater focus on investor trust is evident across the industry, and firms report significant efforts to change the nature of their interaction with end-investors, both in the institutional and retail space. Much of this is about communication and has multiple levels from better disclosure to a more innovative use of media channels.
There is increasing interest in the long-term finance debate, with firms generally positive about the opportunities arising from investors, asset managers and Government working together in areas such as infrastructure. However, there is considerable caution about some of the ramifications, particularly any political pressure to influence the direction of investment flows.
Adaptation to regulatory change presents an ongoing challenge. In the context of the UK’s Retail Distribution Review, firms are concerned about the implications of less accessible advice, both for overall saving behaviour and for product development for an unadvised market.