Disruptive Companies in Asset Management


We recently hosted an idea dinner on “Disruptive Companies in the Asset Management Industry”. 


The most attractive industries to disrupt are highly profitable ones, and asset management is traditionally a highly profitable industry.  IMHO, the most successful disrupters in this area to date have been Vanguard (who popularised index funds) and the ETF industry.  We thought it would be interesting to brainstorm about what are the next great ideas and companies that will/can disrupt this sector, based on the ideas on Clayton Christensen’s “Innovator’s Dilemma”.  The dinner included a cross-section of senior finance executives and experienced tech entrepreneurs.  I’ve attached below the notes from the dinner in slideshow format. 


For this who don’t flip through the slideshow, here are the highlights:


What Do Investors Value? (What Jobs Does the Investor Want Done?)


•Investment Team Stability

•Relationships with other investors and investment teams


•Capital preservation

•Job security (of the investor)

•Tax minimization

•Social welfare

•Exposure to target sector (e.g. China, commodities)



Examples of Disruptive Innovation in Asset Management

•Index funds


•Structured products which minimize downside

•Investing in new asset classes: domain names (Oversee.net), equity-like student loan instruments (MyRichUncle), litigation (Law Finance), patents (RPX), etc.

•Credit Default Swaps

•Crowdsourced financing: Indiegogo/Kiva/Kickstarter

•Discount Brokerages

•Expert Networks


Examples of Sustaining Innovation in Asset Management

•Quant hedge funds

•Private company markets

•Motif Investing

–Allows exposure to investment themes (eg, “I want to invest in African oil expansion”


New Asset Classes in Which Some Are Investing

•Domain Names


•Human Equity



•Virtual Currencies

–Facebook credits

–Frequent flyer miles

–Carbon Credits

Where are the Disruptive Companies in Asset Management?

View more presentations from David Teten.
David Teten originally posted this article on his blog.