Asset Management Takeaways from TSAM London 2019

Last week, TSAM held its annual summit in London, geared towards educating and connecting the leaders of the Asset Management industry. We enjoyed some uncharacteristically warm weather for February in the UK and left with a great understanding of the industry’s latest trends and strategic imperatives with 500 fellow attendees and sponsors. Following are some key themes I took away from TSAM London 2019.

1.     Becoming Data-Driven Organizations

2019 will be the year that Asset Management firms must be able to get to know each customer, not just their demographics and past behavior. This should happen through the right combinations of tracking and optimizing customer experiences, and leveraging the right data and technology. Gone are the days of following hunches instead of numbers, or only portions of a firm using data to drive decision-making. Firms must lead with data across all functions, from Marketing to Compliance.

2.     Personalization is Key

In Adrian Swinscoe’s presentation about personalization, we learned that 75% of consumers expect a personalized experience at every touchpoint with a firm, and 98% of marketers agree that a personalized experience is imperative for success. Yet personalization falls short when it isn’t driven by data. When a firm’s marketing team can gather information about a customer’s preferences, behavior and buying history, it can use this information to drive personalized experiences throughout the entire buying journey, not just in isolated campaigns. While most consumers expect a personalized experience, around half still express concerns about data privacy, so it’s imperative that firms use this data for good and adhere to all industry regulations to build trust with clients over time.

3.     Driving Client Engagement

A TSAM presentation given by Seismic’s own Bill Finnegan discussed how to modernize content processes for better client engagement. When data is driving the personalization of each client interaction, Asset Management firms can provide individualized yet scalable client experiences. Firms that can use data to personalize the content, interactions and product offerings for each buyer are the ones that will be able to proactively and productively engage with clients, fostering increased retention and cross-sell opportunities over time.

4.     Fostering Change Management

In a panel discussion at TSAM about the power of personalization, all panelists agreed that implementing the technology that drives personalized client engagement requires cross-functional collaboration and a change management plan. Asset Management firms are traditionally change-averse, so overcoming this resistance to change necessitates a true alliance built with leaders across all business functions of the organization. Achieving cultural commitment and the mindset to get buy-in from all stakeholders must be done in a clear and unambiguous way. This includes agreeing on the scope of the technology evaluation, integration of pre-existing systems, and a perceived timeline for firmwide implementation. Getting buy-in for technology across the firm ensures the technology can be successful if each constituent is held accountable for driving adoption. Ultimately, it results in a win-win for all involved.

Building the future of Asset Management

Asset Management sales and marketing teams face a new challenge in 2019: being pressured to increase productivity while also cutting costs. This challenge is exacerbated by an increasingly volatile market and downward pressure on fees. I participated on a panel at TSAM titled Enabling & Energizing Sales through Effective Digitization in Marketing, which looked at how technology is changing the way that Marketing and Sales are integrated at Asset Management firms. Many firms today feel threatened by technology and the idea that it could jeopardize traditional sales and marketing roles. But my panelists and I agreed that good technology, when planned and implemented cross-functionally, can be complementary and even revolutionary for sales and marketing success. Firms that embrace change and see the benefits that technology can bring to Sales and Marketing are the ones that will win the uphill battle against regulatory change, fee compression and volatile markets.

Overall, TSAM London proved to be an engaging, educational and enjoyable day for all involved, and I’m looking forward to attending in the future!

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