Asset management house Schroders is to provide desk space alongside funding and collaboration opportunities to fintech startups as part of a global 'in-residence' programme dubbed 'Cobalt'.
Schroders is specifically targeting tech companies which have progressed beyond the conceptual or early-growth stage that offer fresh ideas relevant to investment management. The finance house is on the look-out for companies that can deliver a working product within a 12-month timeframe.
Selected firms will benefit from direct access to appropriate business divisions within Schroders, resources and potential investment, says Graham Kellen, chief digital officer.
“By collaborating with ground-breaking tech start-ups we can tackle legacy technology issues with problem-solving innovation for the benefit of our clients and our own productivity," he says. “In turn, the start-ups we choose to work with will also profit from our industry expertise and resources to fast-track their development."
A poll of 507 industry players conducted by State Street last year shows that digitisation remains a top priority for asset management firms in order to streamline operations, create efficiencies, and optimise performance and risk management.
However, in an industry known as a sluggish adopter of new technology, firms are struggling to keep pace as the rate of change accelerates, with only 43% stating they are adapting tech quickly enough to support business growth needs.
Peter Harrison, group chief executive at Schroders, comments: “The Cobalt programme demonstrates that we are a natural home for fintech start-ups and gives us direct access to a pipeline of innovators enabling us to harness tomorrow’s technology to better tackle today’s investment and industry challenges.”
Schroders' efforts to embrace emerging technology startups comes just months after the 240-member strong UK Investment Association announced plans to launch a fintech accelerator to host startups with 'market-viable' technology tailored to the needs of the asset management industry.
The IA accelerator, dubbed VeloCity, will welcome two cohorts a year of four to eight fintech firms and assist them in turning their technology into business-ready solutions.