Data security and new technologies remain at the top of the minds of UK asset managers as they ramp up preparations for Brexit, according to a research by EY.

According to the study, an overwhelming majority (85%) of asset management firms in the UK are boosting their Brexit preparations this year, up from 71% in 2017.

The study revealed data security as the main concern of 97% of the UK asset managers. This includes concerns for cyber-attack resilience and compliance with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Over a third of the firms are also exploring new technology, with 39% interested in blockchain, 36% interested in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and 31% exploring robo-advice style services.

The study also found 69% of the firms willing to pay for research themselves this year owing to MiFID II requirements. The figure is significantly higher than last year’s figure of 23%.

EY wealth and asset management practice associate partner Anthony Kirby said: “The last twelve months have been a period of monumental change. Not only with the sheer volume and cost of major regulatory rules coming into force, but also the fast pace of technological innovation which continues to transform the financial landscape. All that against a backdrop of sustained competitive pressures and political uncertainty – it’s not at all surprising that firms have been re-evaluating their priorities for the year ahead.

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“Brexit planning of course is a key consideration, especially with the beginning of the transition period drawing ever closer, but new technologies – along with the associated risks – as well as fees and charges and overall transparency will continue demand close attention for the foreseeable future.”