More than four-fifths (84 per cent) of asset managers expect their firms will grow over the next 18 months, according to a new survey by Northern Trust Corp. in partnership with Coalition Greenwich.

The survey, which polled based 150 asset managers in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and North America, found European respondents were most optimistic about growth prospects with 88 per cent  preparing for some growth and 38 per cent expecting it to reach double digits.

North American respondents were only slightly less optimistic. A similar percentage (86 per cent) said they expect to see some growth and 22 per cent said they anticipate growth above 10 per cent. Only about two-thirds (67 per cent) of investors in the Asia-Pacific region predicted any growth for their firms and about a fifth expected growth to exceed 10 per cent.

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When asked to identify three challenges asset managers expect to face in the next three years, more than half (59 per cent) cited performance, followed by talent management (50 per cent) and rising costs (44 per cent).

In terms of the top four strategic priorities respondents would purse in the same time period, 52 per cent said they’d launch or initiate new products and services, while 43 per cent identified cost and efficiency improvements. In addition, 37 per cent cited improvements to sales and distributions and a the same percentage (37 per cent) cited growing market shares through existing products.

“While there are many unknowns in the current environment, one item asset managers control is their operating model,” said Stephen Bruel, Senior Analyst at Coalition Greenwich Market Structure & Technology and author of the report, in a press release. “Rethinking and rebuilding with flexibility, growth and cost in mind can help bridge the gap between where firms currently stand and where they need to be.”

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