At our 15th annual Executive Conference, our focus was two-fold:

  • Tech innovations from within and outside of financial services
  • The role of human nature in long-term success

In today’s world, we aren’t B2B or B2C – we’re B2Humans. As we take advantage of tremendous technological advantages, we must be mindful of the increasingly important – and constantly evolving – consumer experience. No matter the industry we’re in, we have to be tech-savvy, as well as humanly engaging.

Our conference speakers provided insight on these challenges, along with practical tools that asset managers can use to succeed.

Download the summary book, or follow the links below to jump directly to each speaker's summary.

The Economic and Political Realities Facing the President and Congress

Austan Goolsbee, former Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers (2010-2011); Professor of Economics, University of Chicago Booth School of Business

With jobs, taxes, deficits and spending dominating the headlines, it is clear that political and economic issues are now more intertwined than at any time in recent history. A renowned economist who has extensive experience working in and around politics—most notably as Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, Austan Goolsbee understands both the economic and political realities that face both the President and Congress. An analyst for ABC News and sought-after by the media for his views on the politics of economics and his clear style, Austan thoughtfully examined the industries, groups and geographies that will be doing better or worse in 2018 and beyond—and what this means for future elections and policy outcomes for the President, the Senate and the House. Taxes, trade, regulatory, financial and energy policies are all at stake and Austan shows just what this means for America moving forward. Read more

Competitive Business Strategies in a New Environment

Yariv Itah, Global Practice Leader, Casey Quirk by Deloitte

Secular catalysts such as technology, regulation and shifting buyer demands are presenting asset management firms worldwide with the greatest challenges they have faced to date. Business models must now incorporate transformative changes, such as differentiated offerings, cost reallocations, streamlined operations, and a large array of disruptive technologies. Yariv shared business strategies leading firms will use to continue to increase their franchise value over time and compete in a rapidly evolving environment. Read more

Be Revolutionary: How to Make Change Happen When Change is Hard

Jeremy Gutsche, founder,

We are living in a world where change occurs at the highest rate in history. We are capable of creating things our parents could only dream of. There are new things created every day. Many wither and die; others grow and infiltrate our daily lives. So discussing trends, while inspiring, is often rife with speculation and lacks actual takeaways and applicability. Not so with Jeremy Gutsche. He’s interviewed hundreds of CEOs. He’s studied 250,000 innovations from a virtual focus group of over 100 million people. And, with TrendHunter, he’s cracked some of the toughest innovation problems with over 500 clients, including Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola, Domino’s, and Sony. If you’re looking to ideate, exploit chaos, and understand today’s constantly changing landscape, Jeremy is someone who doesn’t just speak about change—he makes it a reality. 

Previously his unique, highly sought-after playbook for disruptive growth was only available to Jeremy’s clients. Guiding us through six patterns of opportunity — acceleration, reduction, convergence, cyclicality, redirection, and divergence — he then isolates 18 megatrends that can’t be ignored. As we all know, talk is cheap and without action it doesn’t change a thing. Read more

The Cognitive Neuroscience of Financial Decisions

David Eagleman, Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, a Guggenheim Fellow, and the Director of the Center of Science and Law

Why do people store their money in Christmas accounts that earn no interest? What do Odysseus and the sub-prime mortgage meltdown have in common? What is the cost of time, brain-wise? Do impulsive people view waiting as having a higher cost? Why do patients on Parkinson's medications become compulsive gamblers? How could President Obama have improved the delivery of his 18-month promise to withdraw from Afghanistan? What happens when two people enter economic exchanges, and what have we learned about the roles of trust and reputation? How can we take lessons from brain science to make better decisions? Dr. David Eagleman translated cutting-edge neuroscience into everyday examples to illuminate financial decision-making from new angles. Read more

The Future of Augmented Reality

Mary Lou Jepsen, founder, Openwater; former engineering executive at Facebook, Oculus, Google X and Intel

Uploading and downloading our thoughts is the stuff of science fiction — but augmented reality engineer Mary Lou Jepsen has literally figured out the physics to do it. A veteran executive and engineer of Facebook and Oculus, she makes hardware and software systems on the hairy edge of what science will do, taking them from crazy idea, to prototype, all the way to mass production.

Her latest project, Openwater, is her boldest idea yet: augmented reality technology that allows us to look inside the body with the detail of a high-resolution MRI machine, but with a gadget the size of a wristwatch. With Openwater, Mary Lou has two radical end goals: to provide affordable radiology to countless people who need it and to communicate with thought alone: her technology can quite literally “read” peoples’ minds, projecting their thoughts and memories in stunning real time. As someone who both follows and builds augmented reality, few people are more qualified to speak to the ways AR is developing. She shared her mind-blowing work, and the work of others, to share the game-changing ways AR will affect our lives for the better. Read more

Putting Innovation to Work

Jim Warren, Jim Lewis, and Dan Ceneviva, SEI

Disruptive technologies have been part of secular trends affecting the asset management industry for years. But how have digitization, data management and analytics, and other cutting-edge technology actually changed how providers deliver solutions? This group discussed how recent technology advances have been incorporated into today's solutions. Read more

Innovation of Design

Neri Oxman, architect, designer and inventor, Sony Corporation Career Development Professor and Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, MIT Media Lab

In the work of Neri Oxman, the disciplines of art, science, architecture and ecology fuse to form a new kind of discipline — one based on the lessons of biomimicry (in which we look to nature for design solutions). With breathtaking examples from her work — a chair that moves with your body weight, energy efficient buildings that can grow and change — Neri provided a glimpse into the future of performance-driven design and how it’s literally reshaping our physical world. We must look past the surface of an object, she says, and think instead about “how it behaves.” Avant-garde yet wholly accessible, Neri makes a powerful and eloquent case for adapting sustainable, nature-derived concepts to tackle our most daunting challenges in design, business, society, the environment, and our daily lives. Read more

Play to Win: Prevailing in a Changing Sales and Distribution Landscape

Lee Kowarski, vice president, DST Systems
T. Neil Bathon, founder, FUSE

Google, Amazon, IBM Watson, Uber and others have transformed how we look at commerce and defined what customer experience is (or should be). Each of these trends has broad implications for players in the asset management space, but how have they actually affected an industry basking in the second longest bull market in history and still living on relatively high margins? Given weakening tailwinds and a perfect storm of consolidation, disintermediation, digital disruption, market volatility, and demographic changes, attendees learned how financial advice overall is changing and what the implications of these are on marketing and distribution. Read more

Q&A: Practical Tips for Raising Assets

Moderator: Rachel Minard, CEO, Minard Capital
Laird Cagan, co-founder & CIO, Cagan McAfee Capital Partners, LLC
Abby Flamholz, managing member, Worth Venture Partners
David Ford, Jr., founder, 1112 Partners, LLC
Mark D. Guinney, managing director, Tiedemann Wealth Management

Capital raising for any asset management firm is as essential to its long-term growth as the strength of its performance, scalable capacity, stability of its staff and retention of its current investors. The highly respected CIOs on this panel shared more than standard tips and techniques for winning the "trifecta" — their time, their endorsement and their capital. They explored the application of new technologies designed to further target an interested audience and ways by which to shorten the sales cycle when there are no notable shortcuts save for timing, tenacity and luck. Each CIO shared examples of a "game well played" that brought a manager from relative obscurity to promise and another manager from an enviable pole position to dead last. But the real task isn't who you know, but determining who wants what you have and the mechanics, etiquette and strategy that can prove most powerful to secure not just AUM but run-rate revenue tied to profitability.

Not all capital is created equally — what is one willing to give up to grow?  And how do you find the natural buyer who can meaningfully improve the balance sheet profitability while committing to fiduciary management? Read more

Legal Note

The data and research reference in this summary are credited to the speakers involved, and do not necessarily reflect the views of SEI. This is not intended to be, or relied upon, as investment advice.