Automation in some areas of the funds industry scores highly. Research by trade body Efama and bank messaging group Swift in 2020 found automation rates among a cohort of transfer agents working in cross-border fund orders stood at 93% in Luxembourg and Ireland.
Yet the usage of fax machines and spreadsheets is still perceived to be a major obstacle in the funds industry’s march towards more automated and efficient operations.
A survey of 600 fund professionals by Funds Europe and Calastone shows as many as 67% of firms still use fax machines. It’s difficult, therefore, to square the industry’s high automation rate, in some areas, with the ubiquity of the fax.
The fax rose to prominence in the 1980s, long after the first patent for the technology was granted in 1843, and some argue it has no place in the asset management market of the near future. Manual processes will not be acceptable to many, says one commentator. The fact that a financial institution might offer pre-millennial technology might even raise reputational concerns.
Nick Fitzpatrick, Group Editor, Funds Europe
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