Things are looking up for the investment management industry, or so our survey suggests. Players are moving off the life-support systems that kept them ticking over six months ago, and have now entered a recovery phase.
The top priority for nearly half of investment managers is growth through successful transactions. As banks and other financial conglomerates spin out their asset management businesses, investment managers are looking to snap up acquisitions as they come to market.
Strangely though, looking for growth in the emerging markets now occupies ninth place in the priority stakes for investment managers, down from sixth place in 2011.
This is further reflected in the hypothesis we put to sector respondents about Asia being the saviour of the European investment manager. Just 18 percent share that view, with 39 percent voicing disagreement.
Nonetheless, I am convinced that the emerging markets are critical to the growth agenda. Firms that are sufficiently bold and optimistic are pushing into Asia and Latin America.
They are setting up in countries that are experiencing good economic growth in order to capitalize on opportunities to direct regional wealth into new assets and funds.
Regulatory change is still an important issue on the boardroom agenda. Three quarters of respondents think that there is still a risk of over regulation. If the pendulum swings too far, the net result will be stifled innovation, reduced investor choice and increased costs.
The majority of sector respondents are keen to work proactively with regulators to develop new regulatory rules rather than merely react to regulations that are imposed.
The sector is complicated by multiple industry groups, trade associations and national bodies. With better organization and a degree of consolidation, such bodies would be better equipped to influence and streamline regulatory policy-making.
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