The president of one of the world's largest hedge funds has told an audience of fund managers that he looks forward to the day when they will all be replaced by computers.
Luke Ellis, president of Man Group, was speaking at the Fund Forum, the annual conference for the asset management industry where the concept of marrying human input with automation to create investment propositions had been discussed at length.
Ellis though suggested that the collaboration may not be necessary in the future and accused fellow fund managers of underestimating the influence that technology will have on the industry's future development.
"Man Group's greatest outlay are expensive fund managers and I look forward to the day they are replaced by computers. Believing that tech can only do the simple, boring things in investment misses the mark entirely."
One of Ellis's fellow panellists agreed that technology is underemployed and misunderstood in the financial services industry. "Why is it that big media companies like Google are the frontrunners in behavioural analytics and big data?" asked Lars Hamberg, head of big data analytics and fund selection at Swedish fund manager AFAM. "Banks know everything about their customers. The financial sector has been filing away info on us for years and yet they do nothing with it."
A third panellist, Samantha Ghiotti, a partner at Anthemis Group, a venture capitalist firm focused on fintech, did sound a note of caution though reminding the audience that most disruptive ideas never actually make a profit, such as Napster. "In the meantime, we'll keep looking out for developments that don't disrupt but work as business propositions," she added.