The world has changed profoundly over the past quarter century. Although the fundamentals of investment remain essentially the same, the investment process has become a lot faster. The data revolution has not only speeded up analysis but also transformed the nature of the active manager’s challenge. Managers no longer simply need to find more data and create better intelligence than their competitors, they must see through a surfeit of data to find superior insight.
Our clients have also changed. Today, asset owners are much better informed and more knowledgeable about asset management processes. Their priorities are also changing with the ageing demographics of their stakeholders who are also demanding more attention to the environmental and social impact of how their savings are invested, and require greater oversight of their investments.
As the actors have changed so has the setting. Investment managers are facing several new challenges that will shape the way we allocate capital in the future: global disruptions, changes in the markets and the need for sustainable development.
What unique insight do we have?
Investec Asset Management is one of the first firms to have developed a global mainstream fund management business from emerging market roots. We believe that our journey to this point has taught us that we must adapt to the environment as we find it, not how we would like it to be.
The disruptions of the last 25 years have taught us is that as global financial markets become more integrated more than ever we need to build diversified and resilient portfolios to preserve and grow our clients’ capital. But doing so doesn’t mean shying away from taking on appropriate risk. In a complex and uncertain investment environment we need to search more broadly for opportunities, adapt our strategies and processes where necessary. We need to keep evolving. This doesn’t mean throwing out all the old models, but working from a stable core of investment beliefs.
So what do the next 25 years hold? No one has a crystal ball, but we believe that whatever happens it is important that we focus on doing the right thing for our clients, by acting in a way that reflects their values and aspirations as well as our own. We need to make sure that we steward our clients’ money safely and that means adapting to market changes and disruptions. We also have a responsibility to think about the long term and leaving a better future for the savers of today.
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