It turns out that technology is not the most important ingredient in a fund manager’s quest for innovation. This quest came up repeatedly at the first European FundTech Lab event, held in London.
For once, there is currently more technology than fund managers could possibly need, given the current legacy-like state of their operating architecture and their steady business philosophy. The danger is that they over-invest in something like artificial intelligence or robotics, which at present may be solutions looking for problems.
The problem for fund managers is the culture and it is not one easily solved. Conservatism is important when you are managing somebody else’s money but it is less attractive to a budding technology developer looking for an employer, or for an artificial intelligence vendor looking for an industry to transform.
It is a question of identity and imagination. Fund managers have to define themselves and their ambitions first and then look not at the technology but at the new business models that they can make possible.
As Karl Marx never said: Fund managers of the world, imagine. You have nothing to lose except your blockchains.
Nicholas Pratt is technology & operations editor at Funds Europe
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