In his opening remarks, Paul Smith, CEO, CFA Institute made candid comments about hot topics in the industry – Trust, Code of Conduct, Partnerships, Value to investor etc. He noted “The benefits provided by a Doctor or a Lawyer are crystal clear to the users of their services but this is not the case for investment professionals”. He highlighted the following challenges:
- Technical competence of investment professionals ultimately affecting trustworthiness in the society. Many professionals in the industry have little to no qualifications.
- ‘The curse of the short-termism’ that derails professional from delivering clients’ long-term goals.
- Lack of value delivered to the investors and the society.
- Digital technologies moving at a much faster pace than the industry’s is able to absorb them. It is not a complete stretch of the imagination that technology could lead to disintermediation unless investors receive highly personalised and sophisticated integrated-channels experience.
So, what needs to be done?
- Professionals and organisations need to conduct themselves in a manner that fosters Trustworthiness. Therefore, promote higher professional standards, qualifications and good conduct across the entire organisation and not just the decision makers. Employees in an organisation should use the same vocabulary and understand their fiduciary duties.
- Partner with leaders in the industry and sign up to the asset manager code of conduct as well as support investor rights. On the surface, the code of conduct and investor rights appear to be simple and common sense. So why aren’t the professionals signing up for these?
- Close the gender gap and bring diversified thinking at all levels in the organisation.
- Advocate for policy research, thought leadership to benefit investors and society at large.
It was refreshing to see Paul challenging the status-quo and urging the professionals to take immediate action. Here are some useful links: Asset Managers Code of Conduct – http://www.cfainstitute.org/ethics/Documents/amc_outreach_flyer.pdf 10 Simple Investor Rights – http://investorrights.cfainstitute.org/ Watch the replay of Paul’s session here – http://livestream.com/livecfa/AC2015 My short Finextra video interview on ‘Innovation in Wealth Management’ discussing similar topics – http://www.finextra.com/video/video.aspx?videoid=825