11 Jul 2019 19:53 IST

India set to be world’s investment hub in next decade

CFA Institute report identifies skills investment professionals need in the face of disruption

India has the potential to become the world’s future investment hub and is expected to be the fastest-growing market for investment professionals over the next decade, says Investment Professional of the Future, a new CFA Institute report.

The report explores how investment industry roles, skills, and organisational cultures are evolving in the face of disruption. The report is the third instalment in a series that examines the future of the investment industry, and the implications for firms and for those working in the industry.

As the investment industry undergoes accelerating change, the investment professional of the future must adapt and embrace new challenges and opportunities for career success. The Investment Professional of the Future report considers how investment industry roles, skills, and careers (the employee’s lens) and the organisational context and culture (the employer’s lens) are shaping the attributes of the investment professional of the future.

“Expectations are for a 1.5 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in head count over the next 10 years for “core investment professionals”, defined as those working in investment industry roles involved with making investment decisions and understanding client needs. India is expected to have the highest growth rate — 2.9 per cent CAGR. India — because of the increasing demand for financial services, its strong economic growth, and its number of capable engineers — could become the world’s investment hub,” said Vidhu Shekhar, CFA, CIPM, country head, India, CFA Institute.

Fastest growing market

In addition to benefiting from strong economic growth and the population’s increasing demand for financial services, India enjoys strong tail winds in the form of favourable globalisation and technology trends.

India’s education system — most notably, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), with campuses across the country — has produced a steady stream of capable engineers. As employers ride the wave of globalisation, the India operations at many major international investment fund managers have grown to account for 10-20 per cent of these managers’ global workforce today, compared with almost zero a decade ago. The positions that multinational investment firms fill in India have been extended to include more investment roles, in addition to IT and operational roles.

Key findings

The world of work is changing: 77 per cent of investment leaders expect the industry’s world of work— overall workplace features, roles and skills, work methods, and compensation and incentives — to change more than it did in the past 10 years.

Adaptability is essential: 89 per cent of industry leaders agree that “individuals’ roles will be transformed multiple times during their careers; adaptability and lifelong learning will be the most essential skills.”

Change is anticipated: 43 per cent of investment professionals think the role they perform today will be substantially different in 5–10 years’ time.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) + Human Intelligence (HI) will become the norm: For certain interactions, the combined model adds more value than either component alone because it leverages the benefits of both. Ethical orientation, transparency, communication, empathy, tacit knowledge, and trust interaction are the key human elements that technology cannot (yet) reproduce.

More investment professionals are motivated by learning than by compensation: Investment professionals are motivated most by having interesting work (52 per cent), learning new things (50 per cent), and having competitive compensation and benefits (41 per cent).

T-shaped skills are valued: Investment industry leaders rank T-shaped skills as the most important future skill category (49 per cent rank these first), followed by leadership skills (21per cent), soft skills (16per cent), and technical skills (14 per cent). These skills include the ability to connect across disciplines, being systems savvy, understanding larger organisational context, having situational fluency / adaptability, cultivating a valuable network of contacts, and understanding and leveraging diverse perspectives.

Technology will change cultures: Organisations will seek to use technology to enhance human roles with some net cost and efficiency gains. Technology opportunities will cause role displacement, creating challenges as leaders manage the cultural transition.

Training will increase: 60 per cent of industry leaders surveyed expect firms to increase training and development. Benefits of providing ongoing learning opportunities include higher-quality analytical work, deeper client engagements, retention of a firm’s best people, and a stronger bench of talent.

The key components of adaptability are one’s diversity of pathway (i.e., varied experiences to draw upon) and one’s openness to learning. To help investment professionals think about their career adaptability, CFA Institute has created a new online assessment tool. This short questionnaire allows them to see where they stand relative to other CFA Institute members and candidates globally.


Inputs to the report included a global survey of 3,832 CFA Institute members and candidates regarding their career paths, career management, and expectations of the industry and their employers, as well as a survey of 133 industry leaders on trends regarding the world of work in investment management.

In addition, qualitative inputs were gathered from more than 100 participants in industry round-tables and individual interviews, including investment professionals, human resources and learning and development professionals, university faculty, and executive recruiters. The series that are outcomes of this research also includes Future State of the Investment Profession and Investment Firm of the Future.