Agile and Waterfall: How To Marry the Two Approaches To Project Management

The two main approaches to project management, Waterfall and Agile, are often viewed as mutually exclusive. Though it’s true they may have little reusable overlap, each is helpful in setting expectations and tracking iterative development and nuanced progress updates. But what happens when you are managing an Agile team and the executive committee wants Waterfall-style reporting? Let’s explore how to unite the teams that work and view progress differently.

by Elizabeth M. Colebrooke, Principal…

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Control Your Data: Don’t Let Your Data Control You

Financial services organizations have complex and rapidly-evolving data requirements. Whether it’s navigating compliance with ESG standards or diversifying investment products into complex derivatives instruments and alternative investments, the challenges feel never-ending or even flat-out impossible to solve. This begs the question: Are you controlling your data or is your data controlling you?

by John E. Leavy,…

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RFP Blues: Hitting the High Notes

LISTEN TO THE MUSIC

Have you ever been to JazzFest in New Orleans? If not, I highly recommend it: ten or more stages – zydeco, jazz, blues, rock, country, gospel, African, krewes, big names, local names – all playing at the same time. The problem is:  standing in the middle, program in hand, faint music coming from all directions, people celebrating – what’s your choice going to be?

Each listener has a different strategy, but I’ll tell you what absolutely no one does:  send out multi-page questionnaires in advance to each and every band asking them about their style, instrumentation, influences, playlist, recording history, etc. Nobody RFP’s JazzFest.

by Mark R. David, CFA…

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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 tools including IHS Markit’s iLevel, Burgiss’ Private I, Solovis and others; 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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How Investment Management Firms Benefit from Engaging the Right Consultant

During an era when critical skills are in short-supply and valuable IT and business personnel spend most of their working hours in meetings, consultants can make the meaningful difference between a project’s success or failure. The right consultant brings diverse skills, broad perspectives and an understanding of both business and technology. In addition, consultants are best positioned to contribute in a way seldom possible by others since they can apply focus and attention to the task at hand – something that is difficult for full time employees to do when they are juggling competing demands and BAU tasks. This article:
• delves into business problems prevalent in many investment management firms, especially in vendor product evaluations and implementations;
• deals with how an outside consultant can play a significant, contributory role; and
• leverages a practical use case to demonstrate key benefits and tangible results delivered by a Meradia consultant who moved an almost failing project to a successful outcome.

by Jose R. Michaelraj, CIPM, Senior Consultant

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Wealth Management Study: A Survey Prompted by the Radically Evolving Operating Environment

Meradia’s 2020 wealth management survey collates information from interviews with key executives in the industry. The participating firms range from small- to mid-size and specialize in wealth management and trust service and operations. The study surfaces how firms view market trends and potential future challenges and involves deep discussions about their internal operating models.

The final output is designed to give insight to the industry in the form of commentary rather than statistics, gauge how the market is feeling as well as how firms are managing their clients and businesses. The views are based on observations made by the executives who participated.

by Joshua B. Levitt, Principal

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Targeted Demos Benefit Both Buyers & Vendors in the Selection Process – Whether They Are Conducted In-Person or Remotely

Typical vendor selection methodologies include consecutive steps made by the buying firm. Their first step is to consider an ‘anything is possible’ list of vendors before culling it to a short list of qualified vendors, followed by a robust and time-consuming RFP process. A few vendors will make it to the final steps which involve product demonstrations, or ‘demos.’ Even after all this effort and detailed qualitative analysis, a firm may have a difficulty selecting a single vendor and/or feel less-than-confident that their choice is unbiased and free of incorrect assumptions. By including live or remotely conducted targeted demos as the final step, firms are better able to evaluate vendors objectively.

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

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Client Reporting for Wealth Managers: Taming the Challenges of Bespoke Meeting Books

Wealth managers offer a variety of services for high net worth, ultra-high net worth and institutional clients. Their services may include investment advisory, portfolio management, administration and oversight of trusts, monitoring against investment policy statements, goals-based wealth planning, total net worth aggregation and management of gifts and grants for endowments and foundations.

For multi-service wealth managers, there are a multitude of challenges in efficiently preparing client meeting books. They can include exhibits relevant to some or all these services. Advisors and support staff compile data points from multiple sources in multiple formats to create a comprehensive book which often takes hours to produce the finished product for a single client meeting. Here within we address solutions to making client reporting more efficient while maintaining flexibility and a high standard of quality.

by Thomas E. Alex, PMP, Principal

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