There is an old joke in Ireland where a tourist lost in the countryside of county Kerry stops to ask a local farmer for directions. “Well, I wouldn’t start from here,” comes the response.
It is the kind of answer that funds firms’ operational heads must be tempted to give when pressed about digital transformation.
For decades the industry has limped on with systems weighed down by a succession of short-term fixes and patches that have been added on with sticky tape, creating some kind of horrific, overweight Frankenstein of an infrastructure.
So it is welcome to hear Universal-Investment’s new head of innovation (see page 10) talk about building a new system from scratch. It is surely what most operational heads would love to do, given the resources and the backing of the board and staff.
We are currently living in extraordinary political times, which could inspire asset managers and other players to make radical plans of their own. But this same political volatility could yet have a significant, recessionary effect on the global economy, sending executives back into their operational shells and any digital transformation plans into the back of a very large and difficult-to-find filing cabinet.
Nicholas Pratt, technology & operations editor, Funds Europe
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