COO Thought Leadership Dinner: Challenges & Trends

Discussion at our COO Thought Leadership Dinner at Rouge Tomate on May 14th centered around challenges firms are facing in 2014 and trends that are emerging in the alternative investment and financial services spaces.

Currently, one of the greatest challenges for funds is innovation. Funds are growing increasingly complacent and, thus, neglecting incremental innovation with existing products and/or services. Staying ahead of the curve leads to a great competitive advantage, but requires continuous innovation – a challenge that many firms recognize, but are paralyzed as to how to overcome it.

Along with the pressure to design innovative products and services, firms are faced with the challenge of sustaining a spirit of entrepreneurship during seasons of growth and maturity. The key to letting an entrepreneurial spirit not only survive but thrive in your firm is collaboration. Adopt the “no idea is a bad idea” mentality and an atmosphere of entrepreneurship will flourish.

Security remains an issue for funds. The risk of a security breach requires that funds be prepared and know how to handle questioning investors. Instead of waiting for a cyber-attack to occur, funds should take an offensive stance rather than a defensive one by constantly assessing their security.

The dialogue surrounding trends in 2014 began with a look at technology – with some COOs welcoming it and others resisting it. The divided opinions on technology leave technology as an opportunity to some and a threat on privacy to others. But the undeniable increase in technology means products and services are also becoming more readily available, causing an increase in consumers’ impatience.

An unexpected trend is the increased appreciation for imperfection as consumers are now viewing imperfection as authentic and meaningful. From this thought leadership dinner, we learned that each of the funds in attendance experience similar challenges. One guest said it best: “Our businesses aren’t too different; we are just in different innings.”

Can your business relate?