Advisers must adapt to survive

While investors increasingly seek to do no harm with their investments, tomorrow’s investment professional will be expected to manage portfolios not only with an eye on financial returns, but with a clear view of both how climate change can impact their holdings and on how companies are succeeding in minimising their environmental impact.

MBA students at the world’s leading business schools can now take classes on sustainable finance, and today’s working financial professionals must develop expertise in this topic as well.

Going private

The continued growth of private market investing – and the concurrent shrinkage of the public markets – offers opportunities for investment professionals in another arena.

By broadening our definition of active management to incorporate non-listed investments we can see that active investing is alive and well, as institutional investors look to the private markets for higher returns.

Professionals with the expertise and flexibility that can extend to evaluating these asset types, even in the absence of public sector benchmarks, will find a place for their skills.

In the context of so much change, ongoing learning across the arc of one’s career is increasingly important.

No true end-point exists when it comes to learning over the course of one’s working life, and investment professionals must put real energy into their careers and embrace a growth mindset that drives them to continue to learn.

One consultancy, Opimas, estimates that more than 90,000 roles in the fund management industry globally will be eliminated within the next decade due to the adoption of artificial intelligence.

Somewhat more optimistically, we see growth coming elsewhere, particularly in wealth management, the emerging markets, and – longer term – the evolution of private markets as a vehicle for the long-term retail investor.

One thing is certain: as the investment industry is transformed by change at an unprecedented pace, investment professionals must adapt and embrace new challenges and opportunities for career success.

While core investment competencies will remain essential, the ability to navigate disruption will be vital.

Gary Baker is managing director of EMEA, and industry and policy research at CFA Institute