What Exactly is a Performance Book of Record (PBOR) and Why is it Important to Next-Level Growth Across the Investment Management Industry?

The asset management industry comprises a diverse group of firms offering countless products, funds and investment vehicles that are traded in forever-evolving financial markets. There was a time when the trading book and accounting book differed by days or weeks and clients received reports quarterly. This is not acceptable for firms today that are facing the need for complex asset administration and daily reporting cycles. Whether a firm invests in public securities or private assets, each come with their own challenges including underlying exposures, lagged pricing or fair value impacts to elicit and compare to a variety of benchmarks.
Today, managers of all investment strategies are compiling massive amounts of daily data. Fund strategies, client holdings, return results and analytics combine to support actionable information for portfolio managers, investment boards, clients and regulatory bodies. Most asset management organizations that support this daily function call it a middle office, and the platform upon which it relies is best described as a Performance Book of Record (PBOR). This paper outlines why developing a reliable PBOR is essential for next-level growth of your investment management organization – growth driven by data and confidence from knowing your organization is taking advantage of all the informational assets it possesses.

by Richard E. Mailhos, 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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Front Office Technology Transformation Projects Require a Specialized Project Management Approach

Technology transformation projects are inherently challenging – from determining how a specific firm compiles their data and technology, to innumerable decisions to be made, data files to validate, functionality to configure and test, to go-live events. When technology transformation projects impact front office teams, a highly specialized project management approach must be employed to minimize disruptions to uber time-sensitive front office revenue-generating productivity while keeping the project on schedule.
While the definition of ‘front office’ differs among organizations, here within the front office references a few distinct groups: Portfolio Management, Trading, Quantitative Analysts and Risk Managers. These front office groups fulfill critical roles involving time-sensitive initiatives. They represent investment management firms’ strategy and intellectual capital, and directly generate revenue for investment management firms. Their skills are the costliest; therefore, their time is at a premium. This paper shares the keys to executing this specialized, non-disruptive approach to managing front office technology transformation projects.

by Elizabeth M. Colebrooke, Principal

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The Investment Performance Technology Landscape, 2020

What are the key differences between investment performance measurement systems in the market? How are these tools evolving to better meet industry needs? These are important questions for firms considering significant investment in a new or upgraded toolset. Meradia has first-hand knowledge of many of the top systems in the market accrued from direct implementation efforts and have combined this knowledge with product strategy to provide insights on where the industry is progressing and to highlight disrupting themes. This is useful for investment performance professionals as a precursor to an RFP and/or an aid to firms considering a system change.

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

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Risk Statistics in Performance Calculators: Suitable and Scalable? – Part 2

Investment performance calculators have witnessed steady growth in functionality during the past couple of decades. Leveraging huge data management platforms that contain exception management and workflow capabilities, calculators provide upstream integration capabilities. By expanding calculation breadth to include attribution effects and risk statistics, they are knocking on front office doors. As vendor consolidation occurs and performance systems endeavor to deliver one-stop solutions, it is important to understand design mechanisms related to each functionality that drives system efficiencies. In this paper, we examine returns and ex-post risk statistics.

Refer to Part 1 of this two-part series which lists the subset of risk statistics with which we are concerned and the benefits of calculating these in a performance calculator.

This Part 2 delves into systemic factors that enable efficient computation of risk statistics and why conventional architectures encounter scaling issues.

by Jose R. Michaelraj, CIPM, Senior Consultant

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Risk Statistics in Performance Calculators: Suitable and Scalable? – Part 1

Investment performance calculators have witnessed steady growth in functionality during the past couple of decades. Leveraging huge data management platforms that contain exception management and workflow capabilities, calculators provide upstream integration capabilities. By expanding calculation breadth to include attribution effects and risk statistics, they are knocking on front office doors. As vendor consolidation occurs and performance systems endeavor to deliver one-stop solutions, it is important to understand design mechanisms related to each functionality that drives system efficiencies. In this paper, we examine returns and ex-post risk statistics.

This Part 1 of a two-part series lists the subset of risk statistics with which we are concerned and the benefits of calculating these in a performance calculator.

Stay tuned for Part 2 which delves into systemic factors that enable efficient computation of risk statistics and why conventional architectures encounter scaling issues.

by Jose R. Michaelraj, CIPM, Senior Consultant

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Design Thinking: How to Integrate Creativity into Data-Driven Business

The financial services industry has always been required to embrace change, whether it be driven internally to control cost and sustain growth or driven externally to address and leverage market conditions. Given the rapidly evolving technology environment, volatile markets and globalization; companies are searching for ways to more successfully innovate to meet these challenges and take advantage of this environment by offering new products and services. To do this effectively, an organization must be able to understand customer needs, identify viable business and operating models and ensure their offering is technically possible and deliverable within the parameters of their risk profile.

By integrating a design thinking approach, organizations can more effectively consider the outcomes for the end users of their systems and processes. What will their experience be like? How do the systems and processes provide value to them? How do the deliverables solve their pain points and/or business needs?

by Daniel G. Foley, Principal

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Is RPA the Right Solution to Optimize Your Investment Operations?

The use of Robotics Process Automation (RPA) is on the rise across the financial services industry. Investment operations managers are touting the benefits of using this new technology to reduce headcount, reduce errors, and increase through-put – an operations manager’s dream! Meanwhile, other operations managers are finding themselves in a nightmare situation when they’ve implemented this technology resulting in failed projects and money wasted. To achieve the dream and evade the nightmare, managers need to follow a disciplined approach before deciding which direction to take. This paper provides insights into a proven RPA analysis process used to derive a realistic ROI and successful projects.

by Christine M. Madel, CFA, Principal

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Hedge Fund and Private Equity: Investment Performance Challenges

Alternative Investments create opportunities for investors, and they present unique operational challenges for investment managers. This paper discusses operational challenges associated with investment performance calculations, specifically as they pertain to hedge funds and private equity included in a multi-asset portfolio. Challenges discussed include late pricing, layered fees, exposure reporting, preliminary and final pricing as well as negative valuations. The pros and costs of several valuation methods are also addressed.

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

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