INVESTING AND MORE
Globalisation, digitisation and ‘millennialisation’ are three
important challenges facing the alternative investment
industry. So said Tony Cowell, partner KPMG and chairman
of CAIS 19, when he opened the annual Cayman Alternative
Investment Summit (CAIS) in February, the theme of which was “Tech-
Tonic Shift: Innovation in Alternative Investments”.
On globalisation he suggested that, despite the rise of populism and
increased geopolitical tensions, in many ways the rise of technology will
accelerate globalisation and will create more opportunities.
“Companies such as Netflix increasingly understand that it is not
where you are but who you are that will determine the products you
use and the investment products you might buy,” Cowell said.
Digitisation, he added, especially artificial intelligence and
machine learning, would increasingly be the lifeblood of the industry in
“Companies that do not embrace data will face huge strategic risks.
Digitisation will become the North Star of the industry and will ultimately
make it unrecognisable,” he explained.
The term millennialisation refers to the challenges of catering for
a generation that is the most connected ever, who expect a frictionfree
client experience embedded in the digital world—and the
next generation will be even more connected. He noted that the
millennial population of China is already bigger than the entire population
of the US.
“Millennials also care about doing good—they are driven by purpose
as well as profit and there is not a boardroom in the world where that is
not a consideration,” Cowell said.
“Companies that succeed need to consider not only what they do but
also why they do it—they need that purpose.”
These sentiments were echoed by Chris Duggan, vice president, Dart
Enterprises, who said that innovation and change have already changed
the world but will continue to do so at an unprecedented rate.
Duggan noted the challenge that while innovation is changing at a
remarkable pace, human nature is not and that presents a key challenge
going forward. He explained that there have been fundamental shifts in
innovation and transformational shifts in how society operates and how
the way business is done .
Alden McLaughlin, premier of the Cayman Islands, in a speech
welcoming delegates, noted that technology is crucial to the future
and will be both an enabler and a disrupter to the financial services
industry in the future. He said that Cayman intends to play a key role in
developing the required regulatory framework to allow it to keep pace
with these events and help develop new markets.
Innovation a priority
A survey conducted by CAIS during the conference confirmed the
growing importance of innovation to the industry. Some two-thirds
of alternative investment professionals in attendance said they
76 CAYMAN FUNDS | 2019
Chris Duggan Tony Cowell
It featured actor Natalie Portman and magician David
Blaine as speakers, but at the 2019 Cayman Alternative
Investment Summit the themes of innovation, digitisation
and so-called impact investing dominated the content,
with delegates urged also to embrace millennials and
globalisation. Cayman Funds reports.