Tuesday, March 26, 2019 Stamford, CT USA — The asset management industry is being disrupted by a host of powerful trends ranging from fee compression and consolidation to AI, big data, analytics, and social media. The need to navigate these challenges is forcing managers to reassess their business strategies—and their staffing plans.

A new report from Greenwich Associates, Top Asset Management Talent Will Need to Evolve... or be Replaced, analyzes how changes to the industry are affecting the core business functions of institutional marketing, relationship management, consultant relations, and institutional sales, and explains how employees in these functional areas will be expected to evolve in order for asset management organizations to continue to achieve success in the future.

“Asset managers need to rethink the way they approach hiring in core business functions, as the need for expertise in such areas as data science and digital communications, as an example,  increasingly trumps the benefits of traditionally valued skill sets,” says Sara Sikes, Greenwich Associates Principal and author of the report.

From CEOs to business-line professionals, asset managers and their employees must be prepared to make a monumental shift, demonstrating a willingness to evolve with the times, act fearlessly in the face of uncertainty, and rise to a new, elevated set of industry expectations. 

Institutional Marketing Marketing professionals of the future will have strong data science and/or technology backgrounds, a balance of creative and analytical thinking, and an ability to rally diverse groups of people behind a central message or activity. Top performers will be agile thinkers with a willingness to learn or adopt new platforms and approaches. Product knowledge and industry expertise will help candidates to hit the ground running and make an immediate impact.

Relationship Management As technology alleviates some of the demands of day-to-day relationship management activities, RMs are being charged with the much higher-level task of delivering “value beyond alpha” to clients, and their success requires a unique blend of abilities. They must have the ability to listen to clients and understand their needs, the product and industry knowledge required to have engaging conversations and make relevant recommendations, and a service mentality that allows them to be proactive in exceeding client expectations. 

Consultant Relations Consultant relations professionals have always taken on the critical role of quarterback for some the firm’s most important relationships. Today, these professionals must not only possess the industry knowledge and social/digital media skills to engage with a sophisticated audience, but  they must also have the entrepreneurial spirit required to aggressively identify and cultivate new or innovative opportunities for partnerships in OCIO and other areas. 

Institutional Sales In the future, successful salespeople will be those who embrace data analytics and collaborate with marketing teams to drive smarter and more effective prospecting, making client interactions feel less like sales calls and more like educational sessions that deliver value to institutions in their own right. 

“The comfort zone that has existed in some asset management organizations for the past 10-20 years is disappearing virtually overnight,” says Sara Sikes. “But amid this rapid change, investment managers that embrace new role definitions and success factors, harness technology and motivate employees to adopt new best-in-class practices have an opportunity to gain a sustainable competitive advantage.”