Eight signs you’ve outgrown your portfolio management system

8It’s 1990—you throw on your aviators and jump into your red and blacked striped Camaro. Passer-byers gawk with jealousy, and it does everything you want and more. Skip to 2014—there’s some glitches in the system, the paint is chipping, and the six-point turn just isn’t cutting it anymore. Time is no longer in your favor and generations of new and improved models have taken over the roads.

It’s time for an upgrade, but you’re not alone.

The pace of change with regard to how investment management professionals conduct business has moved extremely fast since the financial crisis. These changes have kept investment managers on their toes and, along with a general lack of trust in financial markets, have contributed to a challenging growth environment. The good news is that we are now seeing real signs of a breakthrough when it comes to growth.

Boston Consulting Group reported this summer in its annual worldwide study of the asset management industry that the asset management industry has now had two consecutive years of solid growth with 2013 marking its strongest year since the financial crisis.

Behind this period of emerging growth are a number of factors like the introduction of new asset classes and strategies, geographic expansion, and new sources of capital inflow. BCG also points to a more demanding class of investors with a growing preference for nontraditional assets.

This is exciting news for the industry, but no doubt, new sources of growth bring new challenges of their own like the need for increased investor due diligence and for a scalable, flexible infrastructure to facilitate growth and change without disruption to the investment manager’s day-to-day operations.

For those feeling the impact and challenges of growth, check out this webinar I recently led to help identify whether you’ve outgrown your portfolio system. We’ll walk through eight signs to determine if you’re getting what you need from your current systems to keep and are well positioned to keep your business on track for growth.

If you have a hunch you’ve outgrown your portfolio management system, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you able to support all instruments, asset classes and currencies that the Portfolio Manager wants to adopt?
  2. Are you able to fully shadow your NAV to your Fund Administrator?
  3. Does client reporting deliver on the frequency, transparency and depth that your investors demand?
  4. Do you have real-time data access and management?

Did you answer no to the first 4 signs that you’ve outgrown your portfolio management system? It may be time to trade in that 1990 Camaro.

Tune in to hear the final four signs, and how you can overcome challenges and regulations for future growth of your business.

Marvin is a solutions consultant at Advent Software with responsibility for presales consulting and solution development for Advent’s fund accounting platform Geneva. His primary focus is to provide a functional and technical consultative support for both hedge funds and service provider firms.

Posted in Advent Software

If time is money, then finding the right RMS is no joke

RMSOver the past year, chances are you’ve heard about, or may have even participated in, the act of “unplugging.” But if you’re like me, the thought of seeing that pesky red icon on the email app creep dangerously close to triple digits makes you rethink tossing aside your phone for a game of capture the flag at the next digital detox camp.

Let’s face it; the de facto system of choice for storing data is email. How long do you spend managing your email inbox daily? I’m guessing awhile. But it isn’t just email, and it isn’t just you or I. Most people in wealth management are realizing that efficient organization of all data is necessary to be competitive in the industry, including Joe D’Angelo, Vice President and Portfolio Manager at Signature Global Asset Management. “We spend a significant amount of money getting access to information as quickly as possible,” he says. “Creating hierarchical filing systems and saving electronic documents was becoming increasingly cumbersome.” Signature Global is one of many firms that ran into this problem: time is literally costing money, and a lot of it.

Since the data deluge isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, the next best thing is working with technology to manage it. Implementing an effective research management solution (RMS) doesn’t just help cut those costs but can also centralize research data from local drives, cloud based storage, and email, index it, simplify search and retrieval, and reduce compilation and formatting time.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How much time do my most valued employees spend trying to find the basic information needed to do their job?
  • What proportion of time is spent searching for information vs. analyzing it?
  • How much money is discovery costing your company each year?

If you stopped to pause on any of these questions, then check out this client story from Signature Global Asset Management. D’Angelo explains how switching to a centralized knowledge bank can foster collaboration and allow your teams to spend more time on the decisions that matter. And maybe even give them a little time to “unplug.”

Andy Phillips is a Director of Solutions Consultant focusing on Research Management solutions globally. Mr. Phillips joined Advent in 2007 and  has worked with investment firms’ front office groups in both pre-sales and implementations of the Tamale research management product.

Posted in Advent Software, Trends, Wealth Management

Cloudy with a chance of Hybrid: Understanding Private and Public Cloud and Everything In Between

cloudySo, you’ve decided you’re ready to move your business to the cloud. You’ve heard all about the benefits – the cost savings, the workplace flexibility, the scalability, ease of adoption, etc. – and after careful consideration, you’ve determined you want to take the next step.

But when you approach a solutions provider like Advent and broach the subject of the cloud, it’s a little more nuanced than asking for Geneva, Advent Portfolio Exchange, or Black Diamond “with a side of cloud, please.”

In our previous blog post on the cloud, we began to shed light on the basic differences between the private cloud (operated internally by the organization) and the public cloud (operated by a third-party), noting there are benefits and drawbacks to each. Adding another layer to the mix is the hybrid cloud, a cloud computing environment that blends elements of both the private and public cloud.

At Advent, we want to give you the flexibility to choose the cloud setup that best suits your individual needs and goals. Here’s a basic overview of the cloud setups we provide our clients and how we manage the environments:

  • Public: Advent maintained and operated multi-tenant environment on a public cloud provider.  Although we use the phrase “public cloud provider,” the environment is solely operated and maintained by Advent.
  • Hybrid Private: Advent maintained and operated single-tenant environment on a public cloud provider.
  • Private Remotely Administered: Advent maintained and operated single-tenant environment on a private cloud provider or an internal firm-specific cloud.  Advent remotely monitors and manages the software stack and solutions, including providing upgrades.

There is no one-size-fits all approach to selecting the right public, private or hybrid cloud implementation – you have to weigh the best scenario for your business.

For more information on cloud-based technology for investment managers, download “A Clearer View”, our white paper that covers security, compliance, and the cloud.

Todd sets the company’s long-term technology and solution vision. It’s his job to make sure our solutions incorporate the best technology innovations to meet our clients’ needs and are easy to adopt, own and use. Follow him on Twitter.

Posted in Advent Software

AdventConnect Opening Session: Three Drivers of Success

HessOpening
AdventConnect 2014 is in full swing. This morning I had the opportunity to welcome and thank everyone for traveling from all over to give us their focus for the next three days.

The theme of my opening remarks today was progress – the progress we’ve made over the past year as well as that which we aspire to. If Advent is to be the leader of progress in our industry, there are three things we must master:

1. Make technology easy for all generations

Think about it: With the arrival of mobile and social platforms, we now see for the first time technology that is being adopted universally across all generations, from our children to our parents. Why? Because it is that easy.

That is why we built the Advent Direct platform, which enables people to access and view data from different systems in ways that are useful to them. Our first application, Advent Direct Investor Management, is now available to all of our clients, thanks to the 20 firms that worked with us in pre-release to help us get from vision to reality. Advent Direct Investor Management is designed to help our clients engage their end clients more effectively and strengthen relationships.

2. Listening

Within Advent, we tell ourselves to be humble and stay curious, because we have so much to learn from our clients. But being good listeners also means being able to prove that we heard you and show you how we’re responding. That is why we launched the Advent Direct Community – to keep the dialogue that starts at this conference going all year. Today, we have over 11,250 users, representing 3/4ths of our client firms. We are now building our product roadmaps based on feedback we get on Advent Direct Community, and sharing those roadmaps for all to see.

3. Imagination

We love hearing clients say “I wish…” Because our job is to imagine how to fulfill that wish, and then make it happen. That’s one of the reasons we acquired Black Diamond, a company that had the imagination to use cloud technology to transform how advisors do business. And because it’s a pure cloud platform, the Black Diamond team can act very quickly to make our clients “wishes” come true, with new enhancements every month.

Our businesses may depend on technology, but they thrive because of the expertise of people. As we embrace new technology, the mission has to be clear: helping our clients attract smart and talented people, and equipping those people with tools that enable them to make a tangible difference in the lives of investors. As I reflect on the progress we have made, and acknowledge how much more needs to be done, I am more optimistic and fired up than ever that we can deliver on that promise together.

Watch a replay of our full opening session, including interviews with clients explaining the value they have derived from our new technology, starting at 2:45 PT on Tuesday, September 9th.

As CEO and President of Advent Software, Pete Hess has responsibility for vision, strategy and execution across Advent’s global business. Follow Pete on Twitter.

Posted in Advent Software, AdventConnect

One size fits all? Implementing AIFMD in the EU and around the world

onesize
Does one size really fit all? Lately, in the world of alternative investments, it has to. The Alternative Investment Fund Management Directive (AIFMD) has been signed into law in all EU member states over the past few years, affecting change in the asset and wealth management market and its firms through enforcement of a universal regulatory framework. While it is a directive enforced by the European Commission, AIFMD’s sphere of influence extends to all alternative investment funds (AIFs) that market to or involve European investors, regardless of where they are based.

These regulations are meant to do many things: decrease market instability, enhance supervisory practices, and foster cross-border competition. Concrete changes we will see include new structures for future AIFs and a passport regime that will regulate and encourage cross-border interaction. All firms involved have been preparing for years now, adjusting their legal structures, processes, and budgets.

So why was July 22nd important? It was the deadline by which all preexisting AIFs should have fully complied with the directive. However, the process doesn’t end there. Key dates for now and the future include:

  • July 22, 2014: Managers operating pre-July 2013 must be authorized and comply in full
  • July 2013-2014: Passports are available to EU managed EU funds and non-EU managed EU funds
  • July 2015: Passports become available to EU managed non-EU funds and non-EU managed non-EU funds
  • January 22, 2019: European Commission may end domestic private placement regimes

AIFs are changing in many ways, but reporting will likely have the biggest impact because of the increased amount of time, effort, and money that it necessitates. The Annex IV Report is the main reporting component of AIFMD, and requires quarterly accounting of different aspects of an AIF so as to offer a detailed picture of it for review.

By applying a single framework to all AIFs and all EU member states, it may appear as though the European Commission is expecting one size to fit a varying population of firms. There is wiggle room—the directive has different nuances country by country—but the overarching structure remains universal and mandatory.

Regardless of the generalities and intricacies that AIFMD entails, one thing is clear: with such a diverse collection of governments, getting one size to fit all is surely no easy feat.

Martin Engdal is Market Strategist and Director of Solution Marketing at Advent EMEA. In this role, he has responsibility for strategic positioning of Advent’s solutions in EMEA and for driving Business Development efforts in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Martin Sreba has been with Advent since 2000, holding a variety of senior roles in product services and sales. Currently he is a Principal in the Global Accounts Sales Organization.

Posted in Advent Software, Asset Managers, Compliance, Global, Hedge Funds, Wealth Management

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