Calastone, the largest global funds network, has released its Global Funds Automation Report, revealing that manual processes and antiquated technology like fax machines remain the backbone of many asset managers’ operations, despite the industry’s desire to transform.
UK asset managers who are not embracing technology are being held back from achieving their priorities (including enhanced customer service and profitability) and are at serious risk of losing out to the competition.
Key findings from the research reveal a stark gap in the perception of automation:
- Just 41% of UK asset managers believe their organisation to be mostly or fully automated, with 62% admitting to still using fax machines, revealing that there are still many manual areas of the transaction chain that require attention as they can create unnecessary costs and increase risk for the industry.
- The continued use of legacy technology, and inefficient and costly manual processes contradicts the priorities of UK asset managers, who identified client service (80%), operational cost reduction (75%), and regulation (53%) as the key drivers of their automation strategies.
- The UK’s highest technology priorities to help deliver automation included the use of digital forms (49%) and business processes and workplace management (45%), highlighting the industry’s understanding of the value in automating simple but time-consuming tasks in the name of efficiency.
These technologies, however, only scratch the surface in terms of what is available to help asset managers in their digital transformation programs. In contrast to the UK, Singaporean asset management firms cited more advanced technologies including DLT (46%) and machine learning & AI (54%) as most important in their automation strategies.
In this new era of frictionless fund management, automation, immediacy and personalisation will be at the forefront of the investor experience and the inefficiencies associated with manual processes will not be acceptable to many – especially with a new generation of tech-first investors entering the space. There are many technologies available for fund firms to leverage; it will be critical for all market participants to utilise the entire array of technologies in order to achieve a full digital transformation and for the UK asset management industry to stay competitive.