One in three respondents (33%) identified this as the most significant challenge to the industry over the next 12-18 months. Participants were split on the effect of new financial regulation; half of those polled believe new regulations will have a significant effect on the profitability of their firms while 41% of participants expect insignificant impact.
According to a press release, managers were not split, however, on the top channels for growth for the next 12-18 months, as nearly half of respondents (46%) ranked the institutional channel as the greatest opportunity for asset growth among client segments and distribution channels. Other respondents named RIAs/IFAs (20%), retirement plans (18%), and sovereign wealth funds (11%) as top growth opportunities.
The poll shows that nearly all participants (88%) are optimistic about their firms’ business prospects over the next three years. There are a number of reasons behind the optimism, but positive market expectations (29%) and firm-specific strengths, such as superior performance (22%) and well-respected brands (19%), were cited most frequently.
For the minority of managers (12%) expressing concern about their prospects, weak distribution strategies and insufficient distribution resources were the biggest concerns, the press release said.
The poll revealed that while many managers are optimistic, they are not complacent, with many firms making investments in the areas of operations, marketing and distribution, and client service. In fact, the vast majority of managers polled have already taken steps, or have plans to take steps, to improve their growth potential, with 84% making material personnel or technology investments to enhance client service. The top areas for investment in 2011 cited in the poll include hiring of additional marketing and distribution personnel (34%), back office operations and technology (28%), and compliance and regulatory functions (17%).The poll was completed by C-level and senior executives across management operations, distribution, and investment professions. A summary of the poll is available for download at http://www.seic.com/managerpoll.