To an industry in change, Meradia delivers stability.
Change is a constant in the investment management industry, whether generated by competition, regulation, shareholder or client demand. As the industry continues to evolve, we help you navigate complex situations, turning obstacles into opportunities.
While the prime objective of active asset management firms is the search for alpha, important questions arise: How does one measure alpha, identify levers that contribute to alpha and define a consistent process? In simpler terms, these could be viewed as return computation, performance attribution and systemic automation of the investment performance process respectively.Read More
Progressive wealth management firms recognize the complete investment process involves multiple systems, data types and workflows supporting multiple front and middle office groups, and that gaining efficiencies can improve client service and business intelligence. Understanding the operational interdependencies between systems, processes and teams, and developing an effective solution that produces operating efficiencies requires deep knowledge of front and middle office operations. A wealth management firm engaged Meradia to review its systems, processes and data, and create and implement a solution to drive gains in operating efficiency.Read More
Meradia hosted a roundtable event on the topics of data management, data governance, and data protection. In attendance were a variety of senior individuals with roles that included a chief data steward, performance and analytics SVP, risk management data SVP, and a mutual fund operations manager. All of whom were from leading financial services firms in core banking, fund administration, investment banking, insurance, and institutional asset management. The discussion covered the full lifecycle of data management and governance programs - from creation through maintenance.Read More
Financial services firms often undergo system implementations to meet client, regulatory or internal demand. Managing these projects is a critical business process, as failed implementations can impact a company's operating efficiency and bottom line. Meradia outlines typical reasons for failed implementations and details several keys to driving successful projects.Read More
Business Process Outsourcing, (BPO), is hardly a new concept in the financial services industry. Firms have long looked for ways to maximize operating efficiency, and have found outsourcing to be a viable means of improving cost structures. Following the near crash in 2008, and amid shrinking margins, firms have increased outsourcing spend to combat margin pressures. Meradia examines the concept and outlines the challenges as well as keys to success.Read More
Successful mutual fund companies grow by producing positive investment results for clients, and also by improving operating efficiency, which, in turn, can help keep fund costs from spiraling out of control. By understanding the demands of the teams supporting fund operations, including performance teams, fund companies can address increasing demands in a cost effective manner. A global mutual fund company retained Meradia to provide key resources to help the firm meet the daily demands of its performance group, conduct system testing, and document the Performance team’s complete procedures.Read More
Having a strong product is not enough to ensure a company’s future well-being. While long-term planning that includes specific strategic action steps is important, knowing how to create these action steps is critical.
A client approached Meradia to help it create strategic action steps that would guide the company’s future product marketing and sales efforts. Meradia brought to bear its impressive domain knowledge and expertise, extensive functional experience and well-placed investment management contacts to drive a successful competitive analysis engagement. By evaluating the company’s functionality, market position and competitive analysis, Meradia identified four strategic recommendations that continue to propel top-line growth.Read More
Meradia has observed increased activity in operations arms of Insurance Investment Managers. With challenges mounting from increased customer expectations, a challenging regulatory environment, and a divergence in the quality and quantity of data between front and back offices, Insurance Investment Managers are looking for new solutions. The software landscape is quicky evolving as the impetus for change has reached critical mass.Read More
One of the most important, yet often overlooked, components of an investment firm's operations is its data management program. Evidencing this, many firms do not have a structure in place for managing data, nor do they have a set of best practices that guide data management. Meradia was called in to help an investment firm overcome data quality issues that threatened a major client relationship.Read More
This series explores our view of the MAC phenomenon in depth, from origins to solutions. In our first installment, we looked at market and industry trends that seem to be driving the evolution of MAC toward more sopisticated strategies and methods. In our second installment, we examined the MAC investment process itself.
In our final MAC entry, we examine some real-world solutions to the puzzle presented by attribution in a MAC framework. Given the inherent – indeed, intentional – disparity among the factors driving risk and return of these classes, how do we design and present an attribution methodology that accurately and meaningfully illustrates the manager’s MAC process?Read More
Meradia hosted a roundtable at which several high-level executives from various types of organizations across the industry shared their views on a wide range of topics related to the current and future state of the industry. From margins and flows, to client focus and technology, this lively, engaging, and interactive dialogue covered many key areas of focus for investment firms. Meradia presents a collection of these perspectives, as discussed.Read More
With a large and growing number of performance measurement systems available, it's become increasingly difficult to evaluate which product works best for investment firms, given the wide variety of uses. In some cases, business process optimization is the most highly sought after feature, while for others, the ability to use high-end analytics is the most important. Meradia conducted an extensive review of performance measurement systems using demos, interviews, and questionnaires to deliver an objective evaluation that firms can actually use.Read More
A sometimes underestimated and often underappreciated aspect of an implementation project concerns training. When an investment firm implements a new system, particularly one affecting a large number of staff, training is a key success factor. Without a plan to organize, coordinate and train the various groups, go-live success is at risk.
A large wealth manager engaged Meradia to lead the organization and coordination of training for a new enterprise-wide implementation. The firm tasked Meradia with a significant objective - to arrange for the delivery of training to a global team, across multiple functional groups, and covering several different project phases.Read More
Investment firms regularly undergo system conversions and implementations. Implementations that fail may carry significant reputational, operational or financial risk. While investment firms work hard to avoid or mitigate risk in the investment selection process, this risk focus is, at times, an afterthought when it comes to delivering projects.
A global wealth manager engaged Meradia to help it reset a key project that was in danger of failing. The firm needed Meradia to take control of several key project components, including data validation, gathering and writing business requirements, and establishing effective communications with a vendor whose system was being implemented.Read More
Meradia has observed a strong up-tick in activity around Multi-Asset Class (MAC) investment products and strategies. We see managers across the globe expanding current MAC offerings and introducing new ones; consequently generating demand for new support around analytic methodologies, data and technology.
This series explores our view of the MAC phenomenon in depth, from origins to solutions. In this first of three installments, we look at market and industry trends that seem to be driving the evolution of MAC toward more sophisticated strategies and methods.Read More
Gen Y, the demographic cohort born between the early 1977 and 1995, has approximately 80 million members in the United States. Given this generation’s size and potential economic power, Meradia hosted a roundtable event at which several key participants shared their views on how investment firms are adapting to the challenges created by Gen Y’s unique needs. During the course of the discussion, several key questions, along with possible answers, emerged that investment firms are considering with respect to Gen Y. Below we present a collection of these themes.Read More
Project leadership takes guts.
Face it, you take on some of the most complex assignments and are responsible for large budgets, resources, and operational impacts. You are asked to make it happen in some extremely challenging circumstances. With all of this responsibility, you need to be a powerful and effective leader. The steps outlined in this article will enable you to tap into your leadership potential, engage your teams, and utilize proven techniques for successful project outcomes.Read More
Without strong project management and leadership, systems implementations have a greater risk of failure. A global investment firm was trying to implement a third-party system and experiencing project challenges, resulting in missed deadlines, deliverables and go-live dates. The firm engaged Meradia to assume a leadership role in the project by taking control of the vendor relationship and course correcting a shaky project.Read More
Investment firms face many operational challenges, not the least of which is minimizing the risk associated with manual processes. In some cases, firms impose additional controls or verification processes, which help, but don't eliminate manual tasks. Other firms look to improve the process itself. Meradia was engaged to help the Investment Analytics division of a large firm design, build and implement an automation tool that would reduce risk from manual processes, while improving operational efficiency.Read More
The Outsourced Chief Investment Officer (OCIO) space has grown dramatically during the past decade, with new institutions moving into the market daily offering OCIO services. Plans and endowments are dealing with changing investment mandates, complex market structures, hundreds of investment manager options, and challenges finding talent. Additionally, OCIOs are offering more and building models that support all types of delegated services and clients. For organizations, the number of choices and internal pressures can be daunting and difficult to navigate. The challenges include determining how to work with an OCIO provider, how to find the right fit, and how to implement and incorporate one into your organization. Meradia offers the expertise to help answer those the questions, and to lead a successful transition.Read More
This series explores our view of the MAC phenomenon in depth, from origins to solutions. In our first of three installments, we looked at market and industry trends that seem to be driving the evolution of MAC toward more sophisticated strategies and methods.
In this second installment, we examine the MAC investment process itself: what are the methods and practices that successful MAC managers employ, and how do these distinguish MAC from more traditional approaches?Read More
The link between IT and business teams has long been disjointed, with both working, at times, independently of each other in completing projects. During the 1980s, both groups were aligned in pursuit of a common goal, and tapped into a rich, robust set of experiences in support of initiatives. Meradia examines this topic, and recommends several ways in which firms can restore the balance by changing their approach to IT business project development.Read More
Smart, client-focused firms recognize and understand the importance of providing responsive client service. Retaining clients is an essential business operation, and the failure to do so can result in long-ranging, devastating consequences that impede a company’s future success. Having consistent and accurate procedures helps these teams deliver effective, proactive client service. A global investment services firm engaged Meradia to document current procedures covering the complete end-to-end functionality of its Performance team.Read More
Client reporting is the primary channel through which an investment manager can tell their story: here are your assets, here is what has transpired since last time, and here is a comparison of the allocation and performance of your assets against a benchmark. The client will decide if the story is worth the fees. The stakes are high.
Historically client reports have been monthly or quarterly templated snapshots on a printed page. Clients are now demanding dynamic output in a standard electronic format like CSV, JSON, or XML. Their motto is, “give me my data, not your PDF.”Read More
The only thing more powerful than money is information. What happens when that information is money? Financial data flows become increasingly sophisticated and complex each day. Clients want to see accurate and timely reporting of billions of dollars (in terms of market value). To stay competitive, financial service providers need to ensure enriched and properly mapped data, from a wide variety of service providers, is reported in a timely manner.Read More
Investment managers who provide detailed and complicated performance attribution analysis and figures to clients often struggle with understanding the inevitable discrepancies that arise.
A global investment manager retained Meradia to help it detail and verify contribution calculations, and issue a document with the relevant information to satisfy a diverse group of clients. By evaluating the calculation methodologies of both systems, Meradia was able to illustrate the discrepancies, present findings to an internal audience and craft a written document that outlined the variances and delivered an objective, impartial assessment.Read More