Investit Intelligence, the research forum dedicated to the operational issues of the investment management industry, has revealed the UK’s largest investment management companies’ and third party administrators’ top priorities for spend and focus in the coming year.
The 35 investment management companies and third party administrators attending the firm’s Winter Conference, held on 24 January, highlighted OTC derivatives, supporting alternative assets including private equity and property, MiFID and change management as the key areas they would be spending and focusing on in 2007.
The operational and technology challenges associated with OTC derivatives continue to top fund managers’ agendas, according to Investit. To meet member requirements, the firm has run workshops on ‘OTC derivative governance and education programmes’, ‘OTC derivative pricing, valuation and data’ and ‘OTC derivative systems infrastructures’. Investit is planning to run more workshops this year.
Alternative assets continue to grow in popularity as institutional clients look for more diversified returns. However, many investment management firms’ systems and operational processes cannot properly support, or report on, these assets, the firm found.
MiFID continues to be a key area for investment managers, as they have to be compliant by November this year. Only one of the investment management companies attending the Winter Conference said that they had already got MiFID sorted. Investit’s clients are finding MiFID compliance less of a problem than at first feared. They have been able to incorporate MiFID into other business-as-usual projects.
Change management has been recently recognised as an individual and essential discipline, reflecting the growing maturity of investment management businesses, the firm says. The Winter Conference also revealed some lesser concerns for managers. Only 39% of managers are prioritising merger and acquisitions, although this has risen from 25% at the Intelligence Summer Conference in July 2006. Only 41% of managers are currently considering increasing headcount.