The ways people work are changing, and some asset management executives are worried the industry won’t be able to keep up.
Asset management executives surveyed by Accenture expressed concerns around changes in technology and permanent adoption of remote work. For instance, 68 percent of respondents answered “yes” when asked if they believed their firm’s culture is resistant to adopt new technologies.
The survey, which included 100 c-suite asset management executives, is expected to be released Thursday. Respondents were largely based in the U.S. and included a range of positions, including chief information officers, chief operating officers, and chief technology officers. Firm types included asset management subsidiaries, alternative asset managers, and standalone asset managers.
The attitudes present in the survey have had a material impact on the volume and quality of tech talent at asset management firms, according to Accenture. In fact, 68 percent of respondents said they have noticed a significant uptick over the past year of firm employees departing for technology firms and noted that their firms have had a difficult time recruiting top software engineering and data science talent.
“Historically, many asset managers, as well as others on the buy-side, have viewed technology as a silo — not as an integrated part of the overall firm,” Laurie McGraw, managing director for North American capital markets at Accenture, said via email. “[Integrating technology] will help them in what is an increasingly competitive market for tech talent and with younger talent who are looking to be in a stimulating and growing environment where they have the opportunity to participate in the development of the business.”
But it’s not just about tech: Asset management executives also expressed reluctance around fully remote work. Although 83 percent of respondents said their firms will move to a permanent flexible/hybrid working arrangement, 78 percent said they believed their firm’s culture would not survive in a remote-only working environment.
Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they believe their firms have lost talent as a result of new return-to-work policies.
“I think most dedicated professionals in asset management feel that a fully remote setting is not conducive to the advancement of the business as regards new ideas, their development and implementation,” McGraw said. “A hybrid work model, with regular time spent interacting with colleagues in the office, would be more likely to help sustain an asset managers’ sense of culture.”
Many asset management executives believed that their employees were looking for something new: Sixty-eight percent of respondents reported a significant uptick in firm employees departing for non-traditional financial services firms over the past year.