In every industry, it's rare to find a business admit that technological education and investment isn't a priority now or for the future.

For asset managers, product innovation and efficiency through automation and investment in technology rank as top objectives, according to a new survey by Bonaire, a provider of software solutions for asset managers, mutual funds and capital market firms.

The need for product innovation to differentiate in a crowded marketplace took the top spot among asset managers, with 34% of those surveyed noting this to be their biggest business objective. Client retention, which has been at the top of the list for the past two years, was a close second with 32% of respondents indicating that as a priority. Compliance with new regulations was highlighted as a key challenge for the third year in a row as a result of rapidly evolving and increasing regulations, particularly in areas that require improved information management. Reducing costs and targeting new market segments also ranked high in importance, Bonaire said.

The most difficult challenge noted by respondents was the need to collect holistic data from all business units and provide cross-business reporting. With 37% of voters citing cross-business reporting as the most difficult challenge, they noted that a lack of enterprise-wide data and analytics can turn everyday tasks into time consuming exercises. Minimizing fee leakage and improving accuracy was ranked as another big challenge among fund managers with 31% noting that under- and/or over-charging of fees, inaccurate invoices and elongated billing cycles remain among the most important issues to address in order to improve the bottom line.

Bonaire's findings shed light on the burgeoning influence of big data and other top technology trends that influence fund servicing companies.

The end goal of technology for fund companies, money managers explain, is the need for automation and efficiency to reduce the risk of human error in a world of information overload.

Paula Vasan

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