Can Technology Transform the Investment Management Industry?

Since 2008, technology has levelled the playing field. The sell side has access to the buy side, lenders are replacing banks that are more capital constrained and we’ve even seen changes in the peer-to-peer lending arena, with new online financial lending/ crowd funding communities sprouting up. Financial institutions are embracing digital technology and driving disruptive innovation. This has lowered the cost of access and changed the financial services landscape, providing easier access to capital, expertise and distribution. By embracing digital technology, from end-to-end product management, cloud computing, data management, mobile and even social media, financial institutions are better able to compete in an increasingly global, complex and regulated market place. They are also better placed to improve the customer experience of increasingly, discerning, digitally savvy customers and shareholders.

Financial services institutions are however, challenged to streamline operations and improve efficiencies to meet profound regulatory and infrastructure changes (eg the Dodd Frank Act, EMIR, Target 2 Securities and CSDR). Many institutions, in particular securities services firms active in clearing and asset servicing, still rely on manual processing, especially in non-transactional domains such as product development and management. The biggest securities services providers span multiple continents, making it a requisite to service clients not only across time zones but with local nuances in regulation and market practice, all of which are subject to change. Some say, due to these types of challenges, the only way forward, is for all participants to embrace technological innovation in order to for the Investment Management Industry to survive.

Philippe Ruault, Head of Clearing and Settlement at BNP Paribas Securities Services comments,

Philippe Ruault, BNP Paribas Securities ServicesIt is no surprise that innovation has become a key differentiator in our industry. Being the first to market with new products and solutions is often the difference between success and failure.

We have found a wealth of value in comparing the way we handle the complexities of the financial services industry with similar methods in, for example aerospace and industrial processes.” Ruault continues, “Take for example the design of an A380 Airbus which combines millions of components and 100,000 processes, integrates new technologies, and meets very high security constraints and so on. A surprising value can be found in applying similar innovation techniques to product development in both processes.”

This is why Dassault Systèmes, the 3DEXPERIENCE company, with a history of over 30 years of industry know-how in product life cycle management, collaboration and social intelligence applications has moved into Financial Services.

Kevin Pleiter, Dassault SystèmesBy combining the power of our 3DEXPERIENCE business platform with finance-industry best practices, we are empowering innovation and enabling financial institutions to replace many ad hoc, manual methods with automated processes,”

says Kevin Pleiter, Global Head of Financial Services, Dassault Systèmes.

Innovation is not only about generating new ideas, but efficiently converting ideas into marketable outcomes and services. It’s also about managing product initiatives and product portfolios in correlation with an overall business strategy.

Dassault Systèmes believes the time is right for it to help drive innovation in Financial Services, and specifically, in the Investment Management Industry. While some institutions have made a real effort to ingrain innovation into their corporate culture and taken encouraging steps, Dassault Systèmes believes it can bring value to the Industry by leveraging successes and innovation associated with product lifecycle management tools used in industries such as transportation, industrial equipment and consumer goods which are often as complex, as global and as regulated environments as financial services. Its solutions

As Professor Amin Rajan, CEO CREATE- Research stated in his 2013 asset management market study, “Future innovation success requires a rebalance: great emphasis is needed in the industry on skills and processes, coupled with client engagement” have helped businesses like Johnson & Johnson and Boeing increase digitization, drive collaboration globally and regionally and increase corporate memory. This has resulted in eliminating silos across teams, increased operational efficiencies, improved governance and automated operations and faster time to market. The knock on value means freeing up time for innovative thinking while reducing costs, improving organisational transparency and governance which also better places the organisation to meet regulatory requirements. This is why BNP Paribas Securities Services has partnered with Dassault Systèmes to implement Innovation Factory, designed to help organisations maximize efficiencies and empower innovation. The solution will be the catalyst for collaboration and innovation to help BNP Paribas accelerate time to market of innovative customer-centric solutions and strenghten their ability to meet regulatory changes.

Figure below shows that while directing the innovation effort at meeting client needs, asset managers need to strike a balance between two opposing forces:

  • Product push – where product success mainly rests on the prevailing market sentiment and deft marketing (southwest box)
  • Product pull – where success rests mainly on knowing the client’s needs and the quality of skills and processes aimed at meeting them (north east box). Since 2008 and the extreme market volatility, product push has exceeded product. According to Professor Rajan, when markets have headed south, many investors have left the money on the table and gone after the next fad. On asset managers’ part, the innovation disciplines needed to promote product pull are taking time to embed into the corporate culture.

Current approaches to current innovation lack balance - click to enlarge

Click on the picture to enlarge. Source: CREATE-Research Upping the Innovation Game in a Winner Takes All World, 2013

Dassault Systèmes is also spearheading innovation in Financial Services through its technology challenge, 3D FinTech Challenge.  In its second year, and currently focused on business problems in the Investment Management industry, the Challenge specifically looks at how to empower the investment customer through technology innovation. The 7 week programme brings together entrepreneurial, young FinTech businesses with experienced industry mentors and domain experts.  It showcases how technology innovation has the revolutionary potential to increase operational efficiencies and transform the entire investment journey for all stakeholders.

By embracing technology, the investment industry has the potential to build respect and trust where it has for too long, been broken.  By delivering diversity and personalization to an increasingly demanding customer base, technology will improve the customer experience. And by leveraging the full potential of technological innovation, we can help to demystify the art of investment, enabling the end customer to be master of their own financial destiny.

Sibos 2014 Boston


To find out more, join Dassault Systemes and BNP Paribas Securities Services at Sibos 2014 on Thursday 2nd October at 10.45-11.15, Open Theatre 2.