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How to Stay Ahead of the Change: Takeaways from NICSA Strategic Leadership Forum 2019

How to Stay Ahead of the Change: Takeaways from NICSA Strategic Leadership Forum 2019

We recently returned from sunny Florida, where Delta Data sponsored, exhibited, and spoke at NICSA’s 2019 Strategic Leadership Forum, and we thoroughly enjoyed the event. From disruptive technologies to gender diversity in asset management, to fraud prevention, there were many engaging topics discussed at the conference. However, the main thread woven throughout the sessions was how to adapt to change in our industry to increase productivity and streamline go-to-market strategies.

This idea was highlighted in a panel that featured our CEO Whitfield Athey. The discussion, titled “The Principles of Product,” assessed the mutual fund product landscape. The conversation covered a lot of ground, including the products being launched, how they’re being rationalized on dealer platforms, and cost justification. I may be biased, but I thought having a representative from the technology & operations world brought a fresh perspective. One of Whitfield’s contributions to the debate was questioning whether asset managers should be seeding products and trying to grow them to $1 billion, as well as how to evaluate the ROI. Whitfield argued that there are leaders in niche areas with specific funds, so why not buy the strategy with a mature fund in place and leverage your advantage of scale, marketing, and shelf space? These questions brought forth some great insights from the asset managers about how their data is being used to make these important product decisions.

Other speakers and presenters throughout the day emphasized the type of forward-thinking required to successfully launch new products. At Delta Data, our mission is to help our clients stay ahead of the change. That said,  we always incorporate the latest business opportunities and challenges in our strategy to solve the pain points that are bogging down our customers’ advancement. During the conference, there was a lot of talk on how distribution firms are making quick and frequent changes, thus making it difficult for asset management firms to keep up. This discussion underscored the importance of the work we’ve been doing with FundBlast to ensure that asset managers and their distribution network have the proper data and tools in place to stay in alignment with the ever-changing dealer landscape coming their way.

Additionally, companies are constantly looking at ways to differentiate themselves and create value for their clients. Firms need to look for ways to cut through the noise, effectively engage with their clients, and offer solutions that are pertinent and impactful to their client’s bottom line.

One of these differentiators was technology. One session in particular, “Artificial Intelligence: Transforming the Asset Management Industry,” explored how AI is transforming the way asset managers manage portfolios, distribute products, and service customers. This idea of technology optimizing the customer experience was also examined in the “Fraud Prevention in Today’s Multi-Channel Cyber Environment” panel, which shared insights about how technologies like voice bio-metrics, multi-factor authentication, and risk profiling can prevent fraud. Whether it’s to evolve our business processes or protect the data that’s brimming over in our industry, one thing is clear: technology is the key to transformation and innovation.

In her closing keynote, Amy Herman, President of The Art of Perception Program, said, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” If we as an industry want to advance our processes and increase productivity, we must look for ways to change and, in turn, keep up with the changes of other industry players. Asset managers are slowly realizing the importance of this, and are seeing the need for a good technology partner to keep up with the changes that firms distributing their funds are making on a day-to-day basis.

Delta Data is committed to helping our clients stay ahead of the change, and by adopting transformative technologies, listening to industry challenges, and collaborating in key partnerships, we believe we can all work together to improve the asset management and mutual fund industries as we know them.

Interested in partnering with us to stay ahead of the change? Contact us here.

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