Thinking Ahead Institute research and publications on the importance of culture & leadership, and diversity & inclusion in investment organisations 

There is a paradigm shift happening in the industry, brought about by a widening of organisational purpose within it and organisations need to calibrate this shift by considering and developing an understanding of the rapidly changing context. They will need to adopt a much more agile, substantive and socialised change model than has been prior practice. Achieving this requires a commitment to think through issues respecting all material systemic factors influencing investment industry outcomes to make deeper and better connections between these systemic factors. The associated systemic risks increasingly require investors to consider the impact of their decisions, alongside risk and return. One of the resultant trends is a move towards a total portfolio approach rather than persisting with traditional asset allocation models. In 2022, our research with C-Suite leaders will focus on how best to implement the required transformational change, building on the foundations of transformational change developed in the previous year. All as part of constructing more sustainable investment organisation in future that are capable of delivering on their climate related pledges.

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Duty of Ownership

Research journey to date

We see progress on sustainability as intrinsically intertwined with organisational development. Our organisations need to be fit for the future. In 2016, following a benchmarking study we wrote Smart Leadership, Sound Followership, which explores the challenges of being an asset owner today and the increasingly complex future as they navigate the “Great Acceleration”. This was followed up with the The asset owner of tomorrow publication, which explored these themes in more depth. Thereafter we produced The asset manager of tomorrow which identifies six attributes as critical requirements to asset manager success.

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Asset Allocation: Total portfolio approach

It is a drag – why TPA is superior to SAA

Investments: Risk, Return and Impact

Defined Contribution

Research and further content

The Power of Culture whitepaper (members only)

This whitepaper builds on the The power of culture study, which involved 15 asset managers and asset owners. These leader organisations joined the study in various ways to better understand their own cultural signature and leadership, where they sit on a spectrum and how they could sharpen their own competitive edge.

The impact of culture on institutional investors

Culture is a unique ingredient in the struggle for competitive advantage among institutional investment organisations. There are ways for culture to be managed and developed over time but it will take focus, patience, leadership and process.

The power of culture study

Following more in-depth research into effective culture in investment organisations we are now launching a global peer study of asset managers and asset owners keen to understand their own cultural signature and leadership footprints, where they sit on a spectrum and how they could sharpen their edge. In addition to developing their own better cultural outcomes, participants will be signing up to support more wide-spread positive cultural change.

10 tips for running more inclusive meetings

Due to the nature of meetings, some colleagues will melt into the background while others may take control over the majority of the conversation, and the decisions made. This can mean that not only do some team members feel unheard and undervalued, but strong ideas are lost. Find 10 tips we feel can help make your meetings not only more effective, but more inclusive.

Better decision-making: a toolkit

Despite the central role that decision-making plays in the institutional investment process, most investment professionals would, if pushed, express at least some dissatisfaction with both the process and the outcome of key decisions. We describe a range of possible responses to the challenge – these responses can be thought of as a toolkit. While this is not the most original analogy, it is probably the most apt.

Collective decision-making in action (members only)

Strong decision-making emerges when the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The central focus of the case study is how a group can effectively integrate individual thought processes, relationships, communication patterns and other aspects of interaction into superior collective judgement.