Demographics and digital transformation

What’s driving change for asset managers today?

Demographics and digital transformation Last year, US investors’ concerns about growing global uncertainty and political turmoil at home drove the worst stock market performance since the economic crisis began in 2008. The S&P 500 index finished 2018 down by 6.2 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off by 5.97 percent and the NASDAQ dropped by 4.38 percent. International markets fared even worse. The FTSE All-World index, which tracks stocks in more than 3,000 companies and nearly 50 countries around the world, dropped 12 percent. Markets in China took the biggest hit, with the Shanghai Composite Index down by 25 percent.

US markets rebounded in January, partly due to the Fed indicating that it now may hold off on future rate increases. However, a disappointing February employment report showed job growth plunging to only 20,000 jobs, down dramatically from 311,000 jobs added in January. Grant Thornton’s chief economist Diane Swonk feels the current report overstates weakness in the labor market, but sees employment growth slowing in 2019, reflecting a broader showdown.

Asset managers have more issues to consider than a slowing economy, however. In this podcast, Grant Thornton’s asset management practice leader Michael Patanella and principals Kevin Pleiter and Johan Joseph discuss three key issues:

  • Demographics—Aging baby boomers are now drawing down accounts instead of adding to them while woman and millennials are bringing different perspectives and expectations to their relationships with their investment advisors.
  • Digital transformation—New technologies are driving new possibilities for asset management firms, which are exploring new operating models to exploit them. How should today’s asset managers be thinking about technology, tech talent and how to structure operations?
  • Regulation—US and international regulations continue to mount. What’s new and how should firms react?

Listen now to learn more.


Michael PatanellaMichael Patanella
T +1 212 624 5258

Johan JosephJohan Joseph
T +1 312 602 8618

Kevin PleiterKevin Pleiter
T +1 203 327 8278