Practical analysis for investment professionals
26 November 2019

Opportunities in an Evolving Financial Industry

In today’s investment landscape, a paradigm shift is underway. Economic headwinds, ever-changing financial regulations, and the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and financial technology are transforming the industry. 

What clients want is evolving, too. Returns alone are not enough. Clients today are looking for asset managers who can meet a comprehensive set of needs and deliver greater value for their money.

Another key macro development: the demand for scale. The larger a firm grows, the more efficiently it can operate.

Combined, these trends augur a volatile future for markets and the financial industry overall. While they pose myriad challenges, they also present opportunities for financial firms and investment professionals to evolve and grow.

AI Pioneers in Investment Management

Consider these unfolding dynamics just in the city of Atlanta, which will host the 73rd CFA Institute Annual Conference: Invesco has acquired OppenheimerFunds, SunTrust and BB&T are set to merge, and now the historic Atlanta Society of Finance and Investment Professionals has been rebranded CFA Society Atlanta.

In finance today, change is the new normal.

We’re both seeing an accelerated rate of transformation within our industry. It’s revealing that Investment Professional of the Future, a report from CFA Institute, found that over the next five to 10 years, 43% of professionals anticipate that their current role will change significantly. What’s more, 89% of investment industry leaders surveyed agreed that individuals’ roles will be transformed multiple times during their careers.

What can financial professionals do to stay relevant today and tomorrow? To remain competitive, they need to maintain a balance of technical and soft skills and combine deep subject matter expertise with wider knowledge of the financial ecosystem. They have to enhance their leadership and client-facing abilities so they can articulate a clear vision while managing and influencing others. Upward career mobility requires honing those leadership capabilities. Industry leaders have made it clear: These soft skills are among the most essential — and the most difficult to find.

As fintech grows more important, teams with diverse backgrounds and competencies will be critical to bring together human judgment and technological knowhow. Investment professionals must have the tech savvy to navigate and harness continual technological change. And that requires more than just a basic facility. They will have to leverage tech to improve client outcomes and firm performance — and be able to explain it.

And so the successful investment professional of the future will need to take a more hands-on approach to learning and career development. Self-directed lifelong learning will be crucial.

Employers can also offer opportunities to help their personnel evolve. Invesco is investing more in learning and development than ever before. Continuously training its people is vital to remaining competitive, positioning the firm ahead of the shifting business landscape, and helping people grow in their careers.

All considered, in 10 years the investment industry will look markedly different than it does today. Recent changes represent just the tip of the iceberg.

Yet one thing is clear — the financial community is poised to navigate this evolving landscape. The talent it attracts, the human capital it contains, the resources at its disposal, and, most of all, the mission it serves will give it the tools to meet the challenge.

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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.

Image credit: ©Getty Images/©Arvind Balaraman


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About the Author(s)
Margaret Franklin, CFA

Margaret "Marg" Franklin, CFA, is president and CEO of CFA Institute. She has been a leader in the investment management industry for 28 years, most recently as president of BNY Mellon Wealth Management in Canada and head of International Wealth Management in North America. Her deep practitioner experience has been gained at firms ranging from large, global asset managers to start-ups, including Marret Private Wealth, State Street Global Advisors, and Barclays Global Investors. Her work has included advising individuals, families, pension plans, endowments, foundations and government agencies. In 2011, Franklin served as chair of the Board of Governors of CFA Institute, which is a volunteer position, and is a member of CFA Society Toronto, where she has also served on its board. She is a founding member of the CFA Institute Women in Investment Initiative, a past recipient of its Alfred C. Morley Distinguished Service Award in 2014, and a member of its Future of Finance Content Council.

Martin L. Flanagan, CPA, CFA

Martin L. Flanagan, CPA, CFA, has been a director and president and CEO of Invesco since 2005. He is also a trustee and vice-chairperson of the Invesco Funds (the company’s US open- and closed-end funds). Flanagan joined Invesco from Franklin Resources, Inc., where he was president and co-chief executive officer from 2004 to 2005. Previously, he held numerous positions of increasing responsibility at Franklin — co-president, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, and senior vice president from 1993 to 2003. Flanagan served as director, executive vice president, and chief operating officer of Templeton, Galbraith & Hansberger, Ltd. before its acquisition by Franklin in 1992. Before joining Templeton in 1983, he worked with Arthur Andersen & Co. He serves on the Board of Governors and as a member of the Executive Committee for the Investment Company Institute, and is a former chairperson of the association. He also serves as a member of the executive board at the SMU Cox School of Business and is involved in a number of civic activities in Atlanta. Flanagan is a CFA charterholder and a certified public accountant. He earned a BA and BBA from Southern Methodist University (SMU).

1 thought on “Opportunities in an Evolving Financial Industry”

  1. Stanislav Ladanov, CFA says:

    The article is definitely lacking some insightful thoughts. Just a compilation of general phrases.

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