Nearly half (48%) of the 25 asset management firms surveyed reported using data to respond to RFPs, tracking investors' interactions with marketing campaigns, and other business purposes. In 2021, that figure was less than a third of all respondents (29%). Of asset managers surveyed, 32% said they had an "organization-wide data strategy" compared to 27% in 2021.
The increased adoption of data-driven sales and outreach strategies comes as the asset management industry faces continued consolidation and downward pressure on fees, against the backdrop of a challenging economic environment.
According to Loren Fox, FUSE's director of research, firms that drag their heels on embracing data-driven decision making are at risk of falling behind their more tech-savvy peers.
"They're less competitive," Fox said. "That's something that we tell clients of ours – get on board with this, or your business will suffer."
In addition to making firms more competitive, Fox said a data-driven approach can also improve the cost efficiency and accuracy of their outreach efforts – "This data is leading to smarter decisions that connect more directly to what is making firms more profitable," Fox added.
Despite the benefits to incorporating data, there are still firms that prefer to do things the old-fashioned way – including keeping track of their client relationships and outreach efforts on Excel spreadsheets, he said.
"These firms are actually staffed by people, right?" Fox said. "Most of the folks who are in consultant relations or institutional sales have been doing this for quite a while. And so they have their trusted people and their trusted ways. And if this necessitates them doing something differently, they can be slow to embrace change."
Though they survey results show progress, they indicate that AI's impact on the asset management industry in the near term is so far muted.
Having good data and getting that data into a useable form must be accomplished before an institution can layer AI on top of it, Fox explained.
"AI is a part of the conversation, but the state of the industry now is that firms are not really making a lot of use of AI on this yet," Fox said. "As far as I can tell, the institutional side of the industry is not ready yet for AI."