In the run-up to FundForum International in October, we ask industry actors about conference-related topics, including digitisation and the extension of private equity investing to retail clients.
KLAUS SCHUSTER, CEO, EMEA, PINEBRIDGE INVESTMENTS
Has digital changed fund distribution forever?
The asset management industry has made big strides using digital technology to help clients identify appropriate investment solutions and increase access to real-time information. This trend is only going to increase and will offer opportunities for forward-thinking firms to differentiate themselves in the market.
That said, digital is not a panacea for our industry. Investors are facing an increasingly challenging investment landscape and often have complex requirements and investment objectives. While digital solutions are important, particularly in relation to manager screening, there are downsides. Digital fund distribution can silo investors into ‘off-the-peg’ products that may not fully reflect an investor’s requirements.
Digital can support distribution but cannot replace client service. Clients expect active managers to not just provide outperformance, but to tailor solutions to their unique investment challenges. This relationship should feel like a partnership, with the fund manager providing expertise, advice and intelligence. I am embracing digital, but without losing the importance of human relationships.