Money managers are hard-pressed to apply knowledge management, despite professing its importance in an era of intense competition and difficult market conditions, a survey sponsored by Pensions & Investments and the University of Oxford shows.
“Most respondents believe themselves to be more familiar with the concept of knowledge management compared to their organization,” said Gordon Clark, director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Oxford University, Oxford, England. “When you broaden that question to the asset management industry, the majority (of those surveyed) believes that the industry isn't really familiar with it at all, suggesting that while there are certain asset managers who are good at it, the overall industry is probably not taking (knowledge management) seriously enough.”
Knowledge management is defined loosely as the systematic process of identifying, creating and sharing intellectual capital within a firm to gain a competitive advantage.
Implementing a knowledge management system could achieve a more stable business model for firms that don't yet have a process in place, according to 56% of respondents to the survey.
“Asset management is a knowledge industry; that's what drives us,” said Eduard van Gelderen, chief investment officer of capital markets investments at APG Asset Management, Amsterdam. Mr. Gelderen has conducted academic research on the topic and was involved in the drafting and analysis of the P&I/Oxford survey as part of his doctoral research at the International School of Management in Paris.
Mr. van Gelderen said money managers, pension funds and consultants should be asking, “How can I combine all the different parts in my organization in the best way possible way to generate the best performance? It sounds simple, but in practice, it's a very tough job.”
For organizations that already have launched a knowledge management system, the initiative does contribute to a more stable business model, according to 66% of the respondents. While a majority of the respondents overwhelmingly said knowledge management is familiar to them individually, the concept is not well understood by the industry in general.