The asset management industry has important decisions to make as it recovers from the current crisis.
Lockdowns and travel bans have exposed weak spots for the compliance function at many buy-side firms, who have been forced to find new ways to oversee a dispersed and mostly home-based workforce. And this is all at a time when many firms are still in the early stages of developing their surveillance capabilities.
Following the lockdown, the initial surge in alerts triggered by increased trading volumes and market volatility proved quickly the value of automation, while a longer-term shift to home-working – both by surveillance teams and the portfolio managers and traders they oversee – will continue to underscore the importance of cloud-based solutions and workflow management systems.
In a sense, Covid-19 has for many compliance teams provided a wake-up call, highlighting the need to invest in better surveillance technology to monitor and mitigate new risks in a more challenging environment. However, arguing for a bigger surveillance budget could prove difficult at a time when some fund managers are working to rebuild assets under management following heavy redemptions earlier this year.
So, as the dust settles, how will this experience help compliance heads make their case for a bigger – or at least sustained – budget? And for those who come away disappointed, to what extent can tech help them do more with less?
“As asset managers start to respond to the events that just took place and the pain they went through dealing with high volumes and volatility, they should use this time to start thinking about what they can do better in the future.”