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Economic uncertainty will continue to dominate global securities & investments industry in 2008 and beyond- TowerGroup

10 January 2008 - Continued economic uncertainty will be the key business driver impacting the global securities and investments industry this year, according to a new series of TowerGroup research reports examining trends for 2008. As firms begin the New Year, the industry will continue to see upheaval as market structure further evolves, trading volumes spike, and alternative investments continue their torrid growth - despite the difficulties brought on by the subprime crisis. TowerGroup finds that the industry will also be strongly impacted by the changing needs of different demographic segments - led by the emergence of Millennials and Generation X, both as investors as well as employees.

In order for institutions to effectively address these issues, TowerGroup expects securities and investments firms to focus on the following: improving risk management capabilities; formulating a stronger IT governance strategy; developing real-time capacity / performance plans; increasing the use of derivatives; and exploiting new opportunities in emerging markets.

"The global securities and investments industry must continue adapting to a fast-changing environment, including grappling with the ongoing fallout of the subprime crisis and associated write-downs," said Rob Hegarty, managing director of TowerGroup's Securities & Investments practice. "The prior year served as a needed wake-up call for the industry and the firms best positioned for this adversity will benefit in 2008."

Highlights of the new research include:

Securities firms must both manage and take advantage of three critical business drivers, in order to remain competitive in the coming year: ever-evolving market structure; globalization; and the continued electronification of markets. Firms that do not embrace electronic trading will increasingly fall by the wayside. Derivatives and hedge funds will remain two hot areas to watch, given the revenue potential they offer and the hedge they provide in the face of a credit crunch.

TowerGroup expects sell-side firms to invest in technology projects ranging from enhanced electronic trading tools to systems for global risk modeling. Without these IT initiatives, broker-dealer's will be unable to provide the core services that ever more sophisticated clients expect. This year will challenge IT departments as requirements become more complex, spending is threatened by the credit crunch, and expectations rise.

In the investment management space, generating performance in an environment of fragmented liquidity will be a lasting challenge for asset managers, impacting how data is used in tandem with front-office trading tools. The credit crunch will force the industry to further focus on portfolio and operational risk management, pushing firms to balance strategic vision with effective operational execution.

In the area of wealth management, TowerGroup expects firms to make a conscious effort to embrace the client relationship as the key to a successful wealth management strategy. Firms will work to loosen the stranglehold of products on investors and highlight how the ongoing interaction between the advisor and the client is an important factor in achieving investment goals.

(This is the press release of TowerGroup)

Highest levels of political and economic uncertainty in 2008
No immediate threat to financial stability in India
Asia Growth Stable Amid Global Trends

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