The threat that global technology giants will expand their tentacles into fund management as the use of technology within the industry rises has grown in the past twelve months, says the head of a boutique Swiss fund house.
"These companies are very good at developing front end applications which are a great client experience whereas in asset management we haven't been able to do that still," Fiona Frick, chief executive officer (CEO) of Unigestion, told CNBC at FundForum International in Berlin on Monday.
Yet, there is also an opportunity, she believes, depending on the direction from which the tech giants wish to approach the industry.
"Perhaps these companies will not manufacture products but they will distribute products and we could imagine a world where the big technology companies become the distributors," she posited before addressing the question of whether fund managers and Silicon Valley behemoths are already working together.
"I think there has been some discussion but it is early stage," said Frick, adding that many elements still remain unclear, such as whether technology players would wish to remain only in the passive management space or branch further afield into active fund management.
This threat to active managers comes alongside another source of passive management - namely, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) - continuing to grow at breakneck speed.