UK asset managers more optimistic than rest of financial services as they ready themselves for technological transformation

Jul 11, 2017

Asset and wealth managers in the UK remain more upbeat than their counterparts in other sectors of the financial services industry, but optimism has dipped slightly since the beginning of the year, according to the latest CBI/ PwC Financial Services survey.

Business volumes and overall profitability increased at a robust pace in the three months to June, but are expected to fall over the next quarter.

Employment numbers and investment in IT continues to be strong, as companies look to recruit and train specialist staff to help implement new business strategies and support growth. There is an acknowledgement that emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) will bring benefits to the sector, but asset managers on the whole say they won’t be investing in these areas for another two to three years.

Mark Pugh, UK asset and wealth management at PwC, commented:

“Over the past year our survey has shown that the UK’s asset managers tend to underestimate how well they will perform. This shows there is significant underlying caution in the sector, driven by ongoing geopolitical and macroeconomic factors but companies continue to perform well regardless.

“Investment in technology is a priority for asset managers, with large amounts of money invested in updating and replacing systems. They appear to be behind the banks and insurers in embracing emerging technologies like artificial intelligence but are focused on fixing the basics in preparation for further transformation. Whilst this a sensible approach, some players with direct access to their customers are undoubtedly in more of a hurry to implement customer friendly technologies such as robo advice and chatbots, underpinned by AI and data analytics.”

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Notes for editors.

Mark Pugh is available for interview. Please contact Ellie Raven on ellie.raven@pwc.com or +44 (0) 207 804 3663

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