The CFA Institute has released the fourth report in its Future of Work series, The Future of Work in Investment Management: The Future of Skills and Learning

The report series draws on a survey of more than 11,000 investment professionals globally. The fourth report published draws on a survey of 2,137 CFA members, conducted in November 2021. 

The most recent edition focuses on learning trends, the skills and learning needed to build talent and careers in the industry today and current gaps between the supply and demand for skills. The report also proposes changes to investment teams “to better leverage diverse talent and the combined power of discrete but complementary skills,” they add. 

Notably, they say fewer than half of the survey respondents said they receive support from employers to develop the new skills they need. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, decentralized finance and sustainability all currently have gaps in the supply of expertise in the industry. They add that chief investment officers and those in fintech or IT, trading, sales and accounting positions say they most expect significant change to their roles in the next five to 10 years. Overall, more than a third of those surveyed believe the role they perform will be substantially different, thanks to new analytical methods, AI and machine learning. 

The report also looks at traditional career pathways, the outlook for less traditional career pathways, the skills in high demand and strategies for career development. 

“Although many of the paths described may appear to be linear, career paths are likely to be more circuitous in the future, including in the investment industry. The primary cultural differences are from the technology sector (via fintech) and entrepreneurs (particularly private equity boutiques),” they write. “There is more of an independent contractor mentality at investment organizations in the hybrid work era, since remote work can strain loyalty in both directions,” they add. 

The report also looks in depth at the skills needed for success in the future, at building effective teams, industry innovations by decade and how useful CFA program material is or has been to professionals in their various roles – 85 per cent of chief investment officers said it was essential and very useful while only 28 per cent of data scientists said the same. 

“The way the industry operates is undergoing transformational change, even while its purpose remains steadfast. Organizations are integrating extra-financial factors into their investment decision making, and they are re-engineering their processes to gain an edge through the use of AI and new data sources,” they conclude. “Be flexible and agile to be effective in a hybrid work environment in which enhanced skills in communication, influencing and creativity are needed.”