A bullish attitude towards pursuing growth among investment managers shows the industry is set for a strong recovery, according to KPMG.
Results of a survey of 105 chief executives and finance directors from investment management companies in Europe, Middle East and Africa published today by the consultants show that 48% identified pursuing growth through successful transactions as their number one priority.
This compares to just 32% of those surveyed in the banking sector, and 29% of respondents in the insurance industry who were part of the Succeedingin a Changing World: Business Leaders Survey. In total, 1,500 chief executives and finance directors from 31 EMEA countries were surveyed.
Addressing risk was also identified as a key priority, with 29% of investment managers surveyed seeing it as an important issue, while 30% saw changing business operations to realise cost efficiencies as a priority.
Tom Brown, European head of investment management at KPMG, said the results showed the investment management industry was moving off the 'life support systems' it had been on six months ago and was now entering a 'strong recovery phase'
'Growth is very much back on the CEO agenda and as banks and other financial institutions spin out their asset management businesses, investment managers are looking to snap up acquisitions as they come to market,' he said.
While only 18% of investment managers saw Asia as their 'saviour', Mr Brown said he was still convinced that emerging markets were critical to investment managers' growth agendas.
'Firms that are sufficiently bold and optimistic are pushing into Asia and Latin America. They are setting up in countries that are experiencing robust economic growth in order to capitalise on opportunities to direct regional wealth into new assets and funds,' he said.
The vast majority of those surveyed - 84% - said the industry should take a stronger lead in addressing regulatory issues by working proactively with the regulator rather than waiting for new rules to be imposed on them.
'There is still the risk of over-regulation and if the pendulum swings too far the net result will be stifled innovation, reduced investor choice and increased costs,' Mr Brown said.
'The sector is complicated by multiple industry groups, trade associations and national bodies. With better organisation, and a degree of consolidation, such bodies would be better equipped to influence and streamline regulatory policy-making,' he added.