Two-thirds of alternative investment professionals believe that investing in innovation should be the top priority for CEOs and C-suite executives, according to the results of a survey by the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (CAIS) at its sixth annual conference, which took place in February in the Cayman Islands.
The survey of approximately 100 alternative investors and managers in attendance at its event highlighted the main industry topics that drove conversations among attendees both on and off stage at CAIS through its theme, "Tech-Tonic Shift: Innovation in Alternative Investments."
When asked about their 2019 priorities, two-thirds of respondents believe that investing in innovation should be the top priority for CEOs and C-suite executives, far outpacing building trust with employees (19%), evaluating workplace policies (9%) and growing jobs and wages (6%).
"More than ever before, the alternative investment industry is experiencing a dramatic technological shift, and financial services firms realize they will need to incorporate innovation into their investment processes and business operations or otherwise risk falling behind their peers," said Chris Duggan, director of CAIS and VP of Business Development for event sponsor, Dart.
"This year's survey results demonstrate that the alternatives industry has finally reached a tipping point, recognizing the undeniable impact of technology on the future of global markets."
Looking specifically at the tech-related shifts most anticipated to influence markets, survey respondents believe automation and machine learning (45%) and blockchain technologies (38%) are likely to have the biggest near-term impact globally.
At CAIS, high-profile industry speakers led discussions on top-of-mind issues ranging from understanding the power of the robotics revolution and embedding artificial intelligence into investment decisions to targeting specific strategies for delivering impact and turning global volatility into opportunity.
When asked about the global markets more broadly, key survey highlights included government instability causing volatility with 38 percent of respondents believe signs of government instability, such as Brexit and the US government shutdown, will be most to blame for a market correction. Other factors driving volatility include a private credit bubble (26%), trade tensions with China (21%), and tightening monetary policy (15%).
Nearly 40 percent of respondents identified pressure from the general public or government officials as the primary driver behind investors' growing interest in responsible investing. This pressure outweighed a commitment to helping solve the world's challenges (28%), recognition of ESG as material to performance (22%), and a herd mentality to keep up with other investors (10%).
Finally, investors believe cryptocurrency is the asset class that most represents a bubble right now (45%), as compared to US equities (20%), the leveraged loan market (19%), and private credit (16%).
Cayman Alternative Investment Summit, CAIS, Cayman Islands, Innovation, Alternative Investments