The future must be achieved not predicted, says KPMG boss


A number of mega trends are shifting the investment landscape in a fundamental and unprecedented way – yet there has never been a better time to work in the investment space and to set a vision for the future that can make a real difference to the world.

That was how Anthony Cowell, partner and head of alternative investments at KPMG in the Cayman Islands, introduced his vision for the sector in his opening remarks at the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit this week (Feb 12 and 13, 2015).

The first of these big trends is driven by the world’s changing demographics. As the population ages, it presents a variety of new challenges the world has not faced previously.

The second trend relates to social behaviour and the way this increasingly interlinks with the rapid advancement of technology – the world is becoming more interconnected with more than half the world having internet access by 2020.

The third, Cowell noted, was philanthropy. He said this means more to the current generation than any other historically and is increasingly shaping the investment strategies of many individuals and funds.

The investment community is learning what these changes mean for their sector going forward. He also highlighted three specific trends within the sector that he believes will dominate the space and the way it develops in the years to come.

The first of these is what he called ‘mainstreaming’ – the process by which so-called alternative investment strategies are increasingly used by more traditional investors with lines becoming increasingly blurred between what is regarded as a traditional investment and what is regarded as alternative.

The second is an increasing institutionalisation of the market with large institutional investors increasingly dominating the sector and becoming more comfortable making so-called alternative investments as they allocate more to this space.

The third is an ongoing trend of consolidation and collaboration in the sector with bigger players being formed and benefitting from economies of scale.

He concluded by saying that the future is not something the market should attempt to predict – instead it is something that is there to be achieved. “And we cannot afford to get the vision wrong,” he said.

KPMG, Anthony Cowell, Cayman

Cayman Funds