Asset managers must develop a culture that embraces change, rather than falling into age-old industry practices that foster mediocrity, argues Bennelong Funds Management.
Speaking at the Financial Services Council Conference on the Gold Coast, Craig Bingham, Bennelong Funds Management chief executive, said asset managers must create a “resilient” culture.
Appearing on a panel titled 'Adapt or Die', Mr Bingham said the leaders of asset management firms should encourage their staff to ask “hard questions” without fear of repercussions.
“As a CEO I don't have all the answers – but hopefully the people around me do. And the best ideas usually come from the grassroots levels,” he said.
The challenge for asset managers is to “flip their structures on their heads” so that the staff who are talking to clients can influence the organisation's decisions.
“It's [about] having that 'mindfulness' internally – what does the future look like, what do we need to do to deliver, and how do we do it, how far do we go, where do we focus,” he said.
Asset managers can never “sit on their laurels” given the constant change in the financial services industry.
“My fear is if we don't do it there are a lot of practices in the industry at the moment that I think will breed mediocrity,” he said.
“[In order] to excel and prosper, mediocrity is not going to get you there.
“So if we play on fees alone I think we could easily end up with an average outcome for our end users,” Mr Bingham said.
Instead, asset managers must tailor solutions, share knowledge and be more transparent with their clients to create a better outcome for all parties.
“Some of the very essence of the regulation is at the heart of the problem sometimes in fostering mediocrity,” Mr Bingham said.
“As an industry we owe it to the people that we serve, the end client, who relies upon us – to live in their retirement or in their savings plans – to actually stand up for what we think is the right [way] to go rather than the mediocre way to go.”
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