Tuesday, June 11, 2019 Stamford, CT USA — Asset managers are competing in an era of unprecedented change—not only in financial markets, but also in the structure and economics of their own industry, and those of their clients. In this environment, the most successful asset managers will be those able to regularly and consistently adapt to change.

These conditions mark a dramatic departure for institutional asset management—an industry that in past decades was slow to change, and one that traditionally rewarded consistency in approach above nearly all else. Today, however, asset managers are forced to contend with a rapid succession of changes ranging from mergers and acquisitions and leadership changes, to the departure of prominent fund managers, major cost reduction programs, and new regulatory requirements. These changes require managers to take action, step forward and do something beyond “business as usual.”

A new report from Greenwich Associates, Rebounding from Change: An Investment Manager’s Toolkit, helps asset managers build a capacity for change management as an ongoing capability.

“Firms that are not able to effectively rebound from change can find themselves at a considerable disadvantage, which may take months or even years to recover from,” says Mark Buckley, Greenwich Associates Principal and author of the report. “Conversely, investment managers who have a set of guiding principles in place before change happens can excel and position their firm for continued success.”

Change Management Toolkit

At a time of any significant change to the marketplace or to the business, an asset manager has four primary goals: 1)Retain clients, 2) Maintain strong relationships with investment consultants and other third parties, 3) Continue to grow the business, and 4) Maintain (and even enhance) brand perceptions.

With these goals in mind, Rebounding from Change: An Investment Manager’s Toolkit presents a series of guiding principles and approaches that collectively form an effective toolkit for managing change. These include:

  • Above all else, maintain trust 
  • Actively involve senior management 
  • Raise communications to supernormal levels—including digital communications and social media 
  • Leverage thought leadership
  • Demonstrate the change—stories and specific examples are best
  • Measure the impact

“One of the biggest risks for an investment manager during a time of change is that they become internally focused,” says Mark Buckley. “Monitoring external perspectives from clients and consultants on an ongoing basis provides the firm with a benchmark, which can be critical when the next round of change comes about.”