Blinded by Pageantry: the Perils of Neglecting Performance Data Readiness

Once the decision to replace an investment performance system has been made, most firms kick off the effort by mobilizing a formidable complement of resources, all charged with a single objective: selecting the vendor(s) who will make it so. Sponsors, steering committees, stakeholders, managers, experts and analysts are convened. RFPs listing thousands of criteria, elaborate scoring schemes, long lists and short lists are constructed. Initial and targeted demos, proof-of-concept, final selection, management approvals and contract negotiations are conducted. Boxes are ticked. This elaborate pageant commands vast amounts of both internal resources and calendar time — once the winner has finally been announced, a festive celebration is held, and backs are patted all around.

by Mark R. David, CFA…

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Selecting a Data Aggregation Vendor? Here Are 5 Questions You Should Ask

Numerous vendors provide data aggregation services, and choosing the right one for your business requires asking the right questions. You may be tempted to select a solution based on the broadest coverage of sources, such as custodians and banks, or product pricing. Those criteria work well if your goal is to provide a snapshot view for your front-office advisors and clients who require a holistic financial picture. On the other hand, if your objective is to create an accounting book of record (ABOR), providing key inputs for critical investment management and reporting activities, you need to ask vendors about their processes. Here are five questions that will help you narrow your search and find the best fit.

by Tina Madel, CFA, Wealth Practice Lead…

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3 Red Flags You Are Missing Business Transformation Opportunities

Have you selected a new investment operations system to replace your legacy technology and manual workarounds? Or have you decided to outsource investment operations to a service provider?

Both efforts are significant, and likely the largest your part of the organization has ever seen. Are you making the right decisions? Or are you missing a golden opportunity to advance your business and improve the way you work? Here are three red flags you’re overlooking business transformation opportunities.

by Brian J. Lollar, Managing Director…

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Cracking the Code on Automating Alternatives Data Management

We’ve seen a number of technology solutions emerge in recent years that attempt to address the challenges facing Alternatives Data Management (ADM). No two tools are the same, and it’s important for investment management firms to understand their capabilities. We reached out to Canoe Intelligence, a financial technology company focused on reimagining alternative investment data processes for institutional investors, wealth managers, capital allocators and asset servicing firms, for their perspective on how alternative investors and allocators manage their reporting needs.

by Christine (Tina) M. Madel, CFA, Principal

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Beyond Enterprise Data Management into the Challenges of Alternatives Data Management

If you think the journey to mastering your enterprise data management (EDM) is difficult, consider the teams wrestling with alternatives data management (ADM). Increasing correlation between traditional investments (equities and fixed income) and the pursuit of Alpha has fueled the expansion into alternative investments. Beyond allocations to external managers and hedge fund managers, this segment extends to private equity, private credit, real estate, real assets, infrastructure and more. Each brings its own complexity. When you layer in fund of funds, primary and secondary investments; the customary drill through for traditional investments is just not possible.

Although alternative investment teams use dedicated vendor tools; they still rely in some way on Excel and significant manual effort to wrangle their alternatives data. ADM challenges are not just internal to the team working to meet their own analytic and reporting needs, but external as well. In an analytics-led and data-driven world, firms want to see the whole picture to understand how the full range of investments roll up. CIOs and many others need to examine exposure, risk and performance from a holistic viewpoint, rather than from individual asset class silos. This paper explores the challenges of blending EDM and ADM to drive this complete viewpoint.

by Mick Cartwright, CIPM, Managing Director
and Christine (Tina) M. Madel, CFA, Principal

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Protect an Organizational Investment by Avoiding Common Mistakes During a System Conversion

Once an organization has decided on a new system, the conversion process follows. Large-scale system conversions are complex, time consuming and expensive; however, they are necessary for investment management companies to tackle sooner or later. Whether the system is a data management tool, portfolio accounting, performance, trading or reporting system, there are key steps an organization should take to ensure both a successful conversion and to avoid risks and pitfalls.
Each implementation is different, and many aspects come into play such as customization, resource availability, volume of data that needs to be converted and hardware requirements. Simply having a plan in place will not ensure success. This paper provides guidance on how to successfully navigate key aspects common to implementation projects.

by John E. Leavy, Principal

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Spending Smart Instead of Spending Big: Maximizing Efficiency in Investment Management by Optimizing Legacy Architecture AND Integrating Agile Methodology

The investment management industry – which relies on efficient processes and interdependent digital technology platforms to remain competitive – must keep pace with the perpetual rapid changes to industry standards and requirements and the technology that governs them. The latest innovations could be in any number of arenas: business processes, machine learning, artificial intelligence or blockchain to name a few. Adopting change is compulsory – lions and tigers and bears, oh my! The variables for a firm to consider include:
* Identifying the current drivers to implement changes
* Choosing the ‘right’ next changes considering the drivers
* Optimizing the implementation of the changes by using Agile methodology
Enlisting qualified strategic consulting partners can be instrumental in successfully spending smart instead of spending big when firms seek to maximize their front-to-back efficiency.

by Joshua B. Levitt, Principal

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Transformation Challenges Facing Insurance Investment Operations

The operations arms of Insurance Investment Managers are experiencing increased activity. 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 quickly evolving as the impetus for change has reached critical mass.

During the past two decades, we’ve observed many investment managers, including insurance companies, painfully and expensively deploy human capital rather than address technology gaps to solve their operational challenges. Failure to keep applications and related infrastructure current drives up costs. As firms seek change, experienced resources can dramatically improve outcomes.

by Laurie J. Hesketh, CIPM, PMP, Managing Director

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