Few would disagree that the investment industry is undergoing major changes as firms consider digital assets and digital transformations.
With this in mind, the CFA Institute published last month a special report for investment professionals to help them “adapt and embrace new challenges and opportunities for career success.”
The new report, “Investment Professional of the Future: Changing Roles, Skills, and Organizational Cultures,” reviews how “investment industry roles, skills, and careers (the employee’s lens) and the organizational context and culture (the employer’s lens) are shaping the attributes of the investment professional of the future.”
The report looks ahead to the next five-to-10 years for core investment professionals that will be “involved with making investment decisions and understanding client needs.”
Interestingly, the report finds that the two trends “most cited as driving change in the roles of investment professionals are (1) machine learning, AI [artificial intelligence] methods, and alternative data for portfolio construction and (2) solutions investing and greater customer need integration.”
The survey helped uncover industry trends and size information such as:
- The total number of core investment professionals is estimated to be approximately 1.05 million;
- Expectations are for a 1.5 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in head count over the next 10 years. India is expected to have the highest growth rate — 2.9 percent CAGR versus 2.3 percent in China, 1.0 percent in the United Kingdom, and 0.9 percent in the United States;
- The pipeline of CFA Program candidates remains strong, with an 18 percent CAGR over the last three years, driven primarily by growth in Asia. There are currently more than 300,000 CFA Program candidates globally;
- Globally, 75 percent of survey participants are proud to be associated with their industry (70 percent of members and 78 percent of candidates). However, only 40 percent of members and 46 percent of candidates are committed to a career in the investment industry;
- Compensation levels are expected to be relatively stable in real terms over the next 5–10 years.
The report is based upon surveys of CFA Institute members (and candidates) conducted from Jan.18, 2019 to March 1, 2019. The survey of skills, experience, and motivations encompasses 3,832 responses with a margin of error of +/-1.6 percent, officials say.
“The respondents have 23 different functional roles. Overall, respondents come from the Americas (29 percent), Asia Pacific (33 percent), and Europe, Middle East and Africa (38 percent); 72 percent are men and 27 percent are women with 1 percent unspecified. In terms of client base, 46 percent work with institutions, 39 percent work with individuals, and for 15 percent, it is not applicable,” according to CFA officials.
The survey offers three major pieces of advice for investment professionals:
- Keep learning and adapting: “Use the career flywheel. An effective career flywheel sustains its momentum through a series of well-executed and well-timed interventions and adaptations on the career journey. Career paths today vary more than in the past, and employers are less likely to prescribe a preferred path. The critical success factors are maintaining a learning and growth mindset, building a ‘give and get’ alliance with each employer, and having healthy work-life integration.”
- Invest in new era skills: “Apply the skills pathway. At the start of a career, build a technical edge. Blend in soft skills for mid-career effectiveness. Add leadership skills that produce value from influences on others. Make connections, and develop lateral thinking (i.e., T-shaped skills). Think of a portfolio of these skills, and take career planning to more detailed and forward thinking levels.”
- Be tech-savvy: “Navigate and harness technology. The ability to work with technology is a necessity for all professionals. The success of AI+HI applications will be dependent on T-shaped teams with shared team space and shared language. The opportunities for specialist roles in technology to build financial context into technology development and deployment are particularly significant.”