One of the biggest 'known unknowns' for financial intermediaries is the threat of a changing client base as the next generation of investors grows up and becomes increasingly wealthy.
According to Incisive Works' Diversity in Asset Management research, millennials represent one of the fastest growing generations of recent years and, as they enter their peak earning years, will become an increasingly important part of the investment client base.
Research has shown this demographic values socially responsible enterprises and cares much more about issues like diversity than the current crop of investors.
Often, the report noted, millennials express a desire for financial advisers and their advice to "reflect them, their values and their lifestyles".
The starting point for attracting a more diverse client base should be a more diverse workforce: yet the Diversity in Asset Management report details stark figures showing how far the industry has to go before reaching this target.
Not only was the overwhelming majority of the 230-plus respondents male (82%), most respondents tended to be much further along in their careers with 42% of males surveyed having worked in the industry for over 20 years.
A further 26% of women responders made the same claim.
In many ways this is unsurprising; the lack of diverse young talent coming up through the ranks is a challenge many financial intermediaries state they often face during the recruitment process.
While some fund groups offer traineeships to students, requirements for entry are often strict and only open to university graduates.
This has led to the industry potentially having an issue termed as affinity biases - companies hiring their ‘own image'; that is to say, recruiting people who think and work in the same way as they do.
Indeed, though one of the most critical aspects of improving diversity is fostering a culture in the minds of a younger generation that the asset management industry is open to everyone, a large number of students between the ages of 12 and 18 are thought to not understand the vast number of roles open to them in investment management, or if there is a place for them at all within the industry.
Yet changing demographics and generational shifts place intermediaries at a crossroads, according to the Diversity in Asset Management research results.
Those firms that do embrace diversity are helping to future proof themselves by making themselves more relevant and culturally attuned to the clients of tomorrow, not to mention future employees.
The differences in attitudes can be seen particularly well in the research results, with over one-third of respondents who have worked in the industry for less than 20 years strongly agreeing or agreeing the industry has an "image problem" because of its lack of diversity, and that is off-putting to potential clients and employees.
In contrast, just 21% of respondents with over 20 years of experience in the industry agreed with this statement.
This suggests it is those respondents who have entered the industry in more recent years who are able to clearly identify the challenges of a changing demographic and/or differing client needs.