Industry Future
1 January 2017 Survey Report

Future State of the Investment Profession

Pursuing better outcomes—for the end investor, the industry, and society

The future of the investment industry is important for the functioning of the global economy, for the approximately 2 million workers it employs, and for the clients and end investors that depend on it to manage around $100 trillion in assets.

This report, which includes findings from a survey of 1,145 industry leaders, addresses the issues that keep investment management executives up at night. Major shifts are underway that will likely result in significant change, and leaders need a better way to think through the implications of these shifts in various combinations—for their clients, the health of the industry overall, and the ongoing sustainability of their own firms. The results? We can do better. A majority of responses ranged from neutral to strongly agree, while only a small percentage disagreed. This may be seen as a setback, but to CFA Institute it’s seen as a challenge to improve. When asked what the impact would be if the profession incorporated higher principles, the respondents who expected a positive impact grew immensely.

Relevant megatrends include fintech and other technological advances, redefined client preferences, new macroeconomic conditions, different regulatory regimes reflecting geopolitical changes, and demographic shifts. The industry’s potential future state is further complicated by important issues that are very specific to investment organizations, such as trends in digitization and commoditization, downward pressure on fees, pressures from sustainability, new tech-centric business models, and other investment innovations. The scenarios and analysis in the pages that follow offer a road map for leaders in their strategic decision making as they seek to chart a course for the future of their firms.

This report also provides insights for professionals interested in becoming future industry leaders by identifying the traits and abilities that will be prized by future investment management organizations. Finally, it suggests ways that the possible future states of the investment industry could be influenced so that the actual future state provides the best possible outcomes, by fulfilling client objectives, serving end investors, and contributing to societal wealth and well-being.

Future State of the Investment Profession View the complete report (PDF)

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