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India is Expected to be the Fastest-growing Market for Investment Professionals Over the Next Decade, says CFA Institute Report

CFA Institute ‘Investment Professional of the Future’ report identifies skills needed for career success in the face of disruption

Jul 11, 2019   12:49 IST 
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

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 installment 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% 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% 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.


India has the potential to become the world’s future investment hub

India is expected to be the fastest-growing market for investment professionals in the next decade. In addition to benefiting from the country’s strong economic growth and the population’s increasing demand for financial services, India enjoys strong tail winds in the form of favorable 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% 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 of the report

  • The world of work is changing: 77% 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% 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% 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%), learning new things (50%), and having competitive compensation and benefits (41%).

  • T-shaped skills are valued: Investment industry leaders rank T-shaped skills as the most important future skill category (49% rank these first), followed by leadership skills (21%), soft skills (16%), and technical skills (14%). 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% 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 going forward. 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 input was gathered from more than 100 participants in industry roundtables and individual interviews, including investment professionals, human resources and learning and development professionals, university program faculty, and executive recruiters. The series of research also includes Future State of the Investment Profession and Investment Firm of the Future.


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CFA Institute is the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. The organisation is a champion of ethical behavior in investment markets and a respected source of knowledge in the global financial community. Our aim is to create an environment where investors’ interests come first, markets function at their best, and economies grow. There are more than 1,65,000 CFA® charterholders worldwide in 164 markets. CFA Institute has nine offices worldwide and there are 156 local member societies.


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