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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Seven Asset Management Trends, As Viewed From the Top

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

A top executive at an asset management titan is digging into the history of investment management to better predict what's next for the industry.

Ronald N. Kahn
Global Head of Scientific Equity Research
Ronald Kahn, managing director and global head of scientific equity research at BlackRock [profile], has written a new book, The Future of Investment Management, confirms Bud Haslett, executive director of the CFA Institute Research Foundation. The foundation, a research arm of the CFA Institute, published the new book.

The book looks all the way back to the Netherlands in the 18th century. Kahn digs into seven industry trends — the active to passive shift, increasing competition, fee compression, changes to the market, big data, smart beta, and values-based investing — to offer a glimpse of what the industry might look like over the next five to ten years. Haslett describes the book as having "global relevance," while BlackRock artificial intelligence lab chief Stephen Boyd (an electrical engineering professor at Stanford) sees Kahn as taking "the long and wide view of the field, weaving prehistory, recent trends, and the future into one coherent story."

The foundation is pitching Kahn's message as an optimistic one, a view of an industry facing disruption that also presents "great opportunities, particularly for those just entering the profession." Yet BlackRock is the largest asset manager in the world and the largest ETF provider in the world, perhaps giving Kahn a different perspective than fundsters elsewhere.

An alumnus of both Princeton and Harvard, Kahn has spent two decades at BlackRock. Prior to that he worked at MSCI. In addition to working at BlackRock, he also teaches at UC Berkeley. 

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