The CEOs of global asset- and wealth-management (AWM) companies are generally optimistic about the industry’s growth prospects, but also see risks stemming from regulation, technology, and shifting consumer demand, according to a new survey from accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC.)
AWM CEOs are “very confident” about their growth prospects in the coming year, according to the survey. PwC reports that 87% of CEOs are confident about revenue growth in 2018, 79% anticipate organic growth during the year, and 57% are expecting to expand their workforce.
PwC estimates that global assets under management will grow from US$84.9 trillion in 2016 to US$145.4 trillion by 2025. However, major changes to the industry’s fees, products, distribution, regulation, technology and workforce, mean in won’t be business as usual for the industry, PwC says in news release.
Although a majority of industry CEOs are expecting to expand their workforces, the survey finds that 39% intend to cut costs in the year ahead. CEOs also anticipate further industry consolidation, with 43% planning mergers and acquisitions in 2018, and 48% intending to embark on either strategic alliances or joint ventures.
Industry CEOs are also keen on international expansion, particularly to markets such as the U.S. and China.
The biggest concerns of CEOs, according to the survey, are regulation, such as MiFID II in Europe and fiduciary rules in the U.S., geopolitical uncertainty, and changing tax policy, including measures that aim to improve tax compliance through increased cross-border information sharing. Additionally, 73% of CEO are also “somewhat, or extremely” concerned about cybersecurity, the survey finds.
Concerning technology, 70% of AWM CEOs believe changes in core technologies will prove “disruptive or very disruptive” to the industry over the next five years, while just 38% believe that robotics and artificial intelligence can improve the consumer experience.
As a consequence, many CEOs are also worried about the availability of digital talent. According to the survey, 63% of CEOs are worried about the lack of digital skills throughout the industry generally, particularly among senior leadership.