Investment Professional of the Future

Investment Professional of the Future

Investment Industry Structure and Roles


The investment industry ecosystem was discussed in Future State of the Investment Profession. We identified three major organizational types—asset owners, asset managers, and intermediaries—as described in more detail in Exhibit 2.


We are particularly interested in those investment professionals who are influential in decisions in such areas as investment strategy, portfolio construction, and trading; portfolio managers and research analysts make up a significant number of these. As core investment professionals, they are the central actors in the investment ecosystem, and they make intellectual capital contributions in several ways, including in the following critical functions:

  • At a macro level, investment professionals highlight return and risk opportunities across markets and asset classes, and they allocate capital accordingly. In doing so, they facilitate the transactions that connect ideas and opportunities with capital and navigate the uncertainty of markets that allows firms to generate returns.
  • At a micro level, investment professionals give opinions and allocate capital based on the nature and quality of the ideas of the users of capital/providers of ideas, as well as contribute to other aspects of the investment system, such as asset/ security-specific issues.
  • At a trading level, investment professionals aid price discovery and liquidity.
  • Exhibit 3 provides a more detailed list of core investment professionals.
Exhibit 2
Infographic gives a visual overview of the financial ecosystem, consisting of people, organizations, and landscape, with trust being the connector between all three.

Ecosystem Actors

1.05 million core investment professionals


Pension funds, sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), foundations, endowments

Fiduciary investors in capital as owners

Investment professionals (investment managers and analysts), investment support roles


Independent firms, or those owned by banks of insurance companies, private wealth managers

Fiduciary investors in capital as agents

Investment professionals (investment managers and analysts), investment support roles


Specialist financial companies, providers of investment services, advisers, investment bankers, traders, sell-side analysts

Providers of investment products and services

Investment bankers, traders, sell-side analysts, commercial bankers, brokers, consultants, custodians, exchanges, index providers, data providers