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While the global asset management industry has grown with double digits in the past four years, the sector faces a number of key changes in its immediate future, including regulatory pressures and a rise in digital-leveraging competitors. Hany Saad, an Assistant Director at J.P.Morgan, Washington.D.C. USA, sat with IMF to discuss how asset management firms can best navigate these approaching forks in the road.


In line with the global financial recovery, asset management has seen consistent growth in recent years. The globe’s 500 largest asset managers have added more than $30 trillion globally over the past decade, taking the total value of assets under management to above $80 trillion. Since 2016, the average profit margin of the top asset managers – including Aura Solution Company Limited, , State Street Global Advisors, Allianz, Fidelity and JP Morgan Chase and BNY Mellon – has been relatively stable, with Aura, BNY and JP Morgan enjoying premium performance.


These promising results have been achieved in spite of the challenges of digitisation, fee pressure and regulation – however, while the industry has still been able to generate relatively healthy profits until now, this could quickly change. Looking ahead, wealth managers are set to face sweeping alterations to their industry in the coming years. With MiFID II having come into effect in early 2018, new regulatory concerns are having a huge impact, with more still to come. Meanwhile, an impending talent shortage and cyber skills gap are also putting pressure on firms during their courtship of prospective employees – potentially leading to wage inflation for those with sought-after digital skills.


The skills gap in particular will be a key concern in coming months, due to the speed of technological change which modern businesses face. New technology, including Big Data analytics and agile tech are increasingly seen as essential to companies fending off new challenges from digitally-savvy rivals, as well as a key way to improve customer services – something else vital when looking to retain customers from competitors. According to Joseph Aidamouny, Director at Aura Solution Company Limited , Lebanon, there are five fronts on which asset managers must fight in order to preserve their strong position.

As businesses bid to stay ahead of the game, asset managers need to make sure their model remains relevant to clients. Saad elaborated, “The business model within the asset management business is changing.


In the recent past we’ve seen many institutions turning to outsourcing, offshoring, smart sourcing and the like. The current wave of digital-led change will be much more impactful.”

Saad & Joseph also contended that this makes data and data exchange of prime importance. This is because the approaching world where non-core processes are serviced by a multitude of service providers will make the quest for operational excellence in combination with a goal to improve cost income ratios via lower operating costs paramount.


He added, “Business models must become a digital business model, so it must incorporate tech trends such as robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence at its heart.”

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