Eagle & BNY Mellon: Defining “Pragmatic” Innovation

Through leveraging existing technology assets across BNY Mellon Eagle’s relationship with its parent company facilitates collaborative, business-led innovation

Dan Cavanaugh, Head of BNY Mellon Program Services


Technology and digital innovations hold the promise of new and better ways of doing business, creating efficiencies that often leave users wondering how they managed any other way. Startups that either leverage or advance these technologies are being launched daily, and while these fledgling efforts often garner the bulk of industry headlines, most fail to live up to the hype. Depending upon how one defines failure, Harvard Business School’s Shikhar Ghosh has estimated that as many as 90% to 95% of all startups ultimately fail to reach their stated expectations. The challenge, as many discover, is that commercial success requires far more than just a good idea and an initial round of funding.

This is not to say, however, that the market is not hungry for new solutions. While early stage venture will remain a hit-or-miss game for many investors, the fact that FinTech companies have raised approximately $25 billion over the past 12 months speaks to the opportunity set. As financial institutions continue to cope with fee pressure, low economic growth, historic regulatory change and the coming digital revolution, the urgency to transform their operations to accommodate this new world is only becoming more pronounced. It’s more likely than not, however, that they’ll be turning to existing relationships to solve these issues.

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Assessing the New Landscape for Evaluated Pricing in Illiquid Bonds – US Muni and Corporates

Jimmy Suppelsa, COO of Eagle alliance vendor Best Credit Data (BCD), highlights why industry consolidation is opening the door for tech-driven offerings that offer quality and coverage in evaluated bond pricing.


By design, municipal bonds are a tax-efficient alternative for income investors seeking regular and predictable interest payments. This lends to the idiosyncratic nature of the muni market, as it’s the only asset class in which individual investors make up more than 50% of the investor universe. As allocations to municipal bonds often underpin individual retirement accounts, trading volume is minuscule compared to the size of the actual market. In a high-volume trading session, there may be 12,000 trades that affect less than 1% of the roughly 1.25 million active securities. This is why pricing can seem so lumpy to outside observers. At the same time, it is also why two or even three sources of pricing data are needed to arrive at a valuation that best serves a fund’s investors or clients.

In fact, most fund managers self-regulate to incorporate two independent sources of evaluated pricing data. Even in this new era of deregulation, the need for both a primary and secondary source will remain critical, as pricing is often quite volatile relative to other markets due to the lack of volume. Recent consolidation, however, has altered the evaluated pricing landscape and amid the search for alternatives, many are now exploring how new models can complement the offerings of existing players.

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Are You Ready to Move on From Your Legacy Portfolio Management System?

Eagle’s Darcie James-Maxwell looks back on her experience both using and then helping clients to replace investment systems, as she discusses how legacy-system replacement can be a catalyst for efficiency and growth in our latest Q&A.


Q. It’s been roughly a year since you were named the Head of Eagle’s Operations in Canada. What was your initial focus when you transitioned into this role and what have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered?

That’s a good question. When I transitioned from overseeing the relationship management team in Canada to overall accountability of our Canadian business, my number one focus has remained our clients. I have spent the last year meeting with clients to ensure that we have a clear understanding of their business goals and objectives—after all, it’s paramount that Eagle continues to meet their business requirements. I also spent a fair amount of time looking at the wider landscape in Canada, where the market is on the verge of significant change. There are a number of legacy platforms that appear to be nearing end of life, which is causing several clients to think about their multi-year roadmaps.

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Bridging the Data Disconnect Between the Back and Front Offices

Patrick Orlando, as part of a panel at TSAM Boston, highlights why it is so critical for business users to engage in the earliest phases of a data management platform implementation.

Patrick Orlando, Principal Consultant, Eagle Investment Systems


This past November, as part of a data management panel at TSAM Boston, a member of the audience inquired about one of the biggest challenges facing most data professionals: The sometimes glaring disconnect between the back-office teams providing data and the front-office users that are often unsure how to turn this information into actionable intelligence that informs both business strategies and investment decisions. The consensus among those of us on the panel was that more often than not, issues such as these extend all the way back to implementation and the earliest stages of standing up a data management platform.

This was a topic that seemed to be of particular interest at the event, which was held in Boston on November 16. A TSAM survey of senior executives ahead of the conference revealed that over half are currently planning to replace legacy systems and technology during the next 12 months, while nearly a third (30.5%) identified plans to introduce a new data governance strategy. This budding level of interest was evident during our panel, “Transforming Your Firm Into an Information-Centric Organization,” as we spoke to a packed room of delegates.

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Addressing the ESG Data Challenge

In his new blog, Eagle’s Australian-based Director of Client Services, Manu Sathananthavel, discusses the growing prominence of ESG factors in the investment process and the accompanying data challenges this presents. He reveals how a data-centric approach can help firms effectively integrate and ensure the quality of ESG data and highlights how Eagle’s clients, such as First State Investments, are using Eagle for their ESG reporting.

Manu Sathananthavel, Director of Client Services – Australia


In recent years, we have witnessed a surge in interest in environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations among asset managers. Despite attempts to define and standardise ESG factors, most notably by the United Nations which set up the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in 2006, best practice still hasn’t fully emerged and reporting from region to region remains inconsistent. Furthermore, there is little consensus around the measurement of ESG factors, scoring and definitions many of which are more subjective than other performance measures, and there is little in the way of formal regulation to shape that consensus. As a result, the collection and reconciliation of high quality data are among the key challenges facing asset managers as they look to improve their ESG reporting.

Interest in ESG and impact investing is being driven by a number of factors. First, asset owners and investors are keen to have a positive impact on society and the environment. Issues like climate change have forced their way up the agenda in recent years while high-profile man-made environmental disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 and the Vale/BHP Billiton iron mine collapse in Brazil in 2015 have also brought ESG into sharper focus for investors.

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Eagle Enterprise Data Management: More Than Just an Operational Data Store

 

In this video, Marc Rubenfeld, Head of Eagle Solutions – EMEA/APAC, discusses BNY Mellon’s EMEA Innovation Center and the role it plays in helping Eagle collaborate with clients to deliver groundbreaking solutions. In particular, the Innovation Center provides a showcase for Eagle’s Integration Workflow Studio as well as our interactive business intelligence tools.

Live from Engage: Engage 2016 Comes to a Close

Diane McLoughlin, Chief Client Officer, Eagle Investment Systems


As this year’s Engage conference has come to a close, I am reflecting on this being my first client conference since assuming my role as Chief Client Officer. Not only was it our biggest and—I think—best event yet, but it really embodied the spirit of collaboration that was the catalyst behind forming the Office of the Client in the first place. Moreover, as Eagle’s parent company BNY Mellon took on an active role at this year’s event, the spirit of collaboration was evident as our peers, clients and ecosystem relationships sought to tackle the issues shaping the future of financial services.

The purpose of my role is to channel many of our outward-facing resources, to ensure we’re engaging with our clients to better understand the challenges they face, and to ultimately ensure that our offering provides them with the best possible solution set for a rapidly evolving investment landscape. Engage is a key component of this feedback loop, I’m thrilled that over 575 attendees were able to join us for this year’s event.

The theme of Engage 2016 was “Invested in Your Future”, which not only highlights the considerable financial investments we’re making to support and enhance our offering, but also speaks to the intellectual investment we make to ensure that our new solutions meet the specific and distinct needs of our clients. Through 2 general sessions, 45 breakout sessions, and 4 Engage talk presentations, as well as an innovation center that provided first-hand experiences with new solutions and capabilities, the programming focused on innovation and the ways we’re working to enhance our platform to meet the demands of the future. We heard from clients, industry experts and thought-leaders from both Eagle and BNY Mellon to ensure we remain aligned in our mission to help the world grow assets efficiently.

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Live from Engage: Cloud Analytics Showcases Power of Big Data

Eagle ACCESSSM unveils new cloud analytics capabilities and operations service book to optimize outcomes and enable new efficiencies.

Chris Mayo, Head of Eagle ACCESSSM Client Solutions


Two days ago, as part of the opening-day general session at Eagle’s Engage client conference, our CEO Mal Cullen provided his vision of the future and how he sees the digital platform evolving to quickly and efficiently enable solutions for financial services. For those who weren’t here in Orlando to see it live, he gave dimension to the tremendous opportunity available to our industry through the cloud and by adopting a continual deployment model that will instill far more agility, resiliency and efficiency. While much of his discussion was centered on Eagle’s current initiatives and vision for the future, earlier this morning, as part of our final day of programming at Engage, I discussed Eagle’s new cloud analytics and “Eagle Service Book” capabilities that are now available to Eagle ACCESSSM clients.

Cloud analytics, allows us to leverage all of the raw data available through our hosted cloud platform to draw insights that can translate into better business and operational outcomes. We formally kicked off our cloud analytics project last year and attendees at Engage 2015 were treated to a first look at our proof of concept. Today, as part of the Eagle ACCESSSM Services Update presentation, I highlighted how far we’ve come over the past 18 months and showcased how our capabilities in this area will continue to evolve.

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Engage Spotlight: Managing Derivatives in a Complex and Fragmented World

Derivatives are moving from the margins to the mainstream of portfolio management but managing them in a fragmented regulatory environment can be a challenge. At the Engage conference, taking place in Florida this week, Eagle’s Brian Dunton explained why technology vendor-client collaboration is key to delivering meaningful analysis.

Brian Dunton, Head of Instrument Engineering, Eagle Investment Systems


In recent years, derivatives have moved from a niche asset class on the periphery of investment management to everyday tools of the trade for even the most conservative asset managers, as they look to enhance performance and manage risk. At Eagle we’ve not only witnessed a large increase in the number of our clients holding derivatives, but we’ve also seen dramatic growth in the volumes of derivatives being held. Where in the past we might have had clients holding 3-5 total return swaps, we’re now seeing funds that hold nothing but total return swaps. The regulatory framework and processes to manage them, however, have failed to keep pace with the rapid changes in the industry while attempts at standardization have stalled.

At our Engage conference today I, with my colleague Jeff Cullen, addressed delegates on how, in a fragmented and shifting regulatory landscape, the systems and processes to manage derivatives need to be built with the client’s needs at their core to enable meaningful analysis.

The 2009 G20 meeting painted a “future state” picture of global harmonization for derivatives clearing and regulatory reporting, resulting in increased transparency within the derivatives market. Standardized identifiers would be the norm and would be universally adopted. However, seven years later the markets are becoming more fragmented and the picture is one of global dis-harmonization, rather than global consensus. Complex cross-border transactions can present thorny legal jurisdictional issues while reporting requirements are fragmented. Take MiFID II for example: in providing the personal information it asks for, you may actually be breaching privacy laws in countries like South Korea. Read More…

Data Governance: Asset Management’s X Factor

The path to robust governance remains an ongoing journey, though there is growing recognition that organizations can’t put this initiative off any longer.

Peter Travers, Vice President and Principal of Global Solutions


In 2011 and 2012, data governance initiatives were primarily a response to the increasingly complex demands of reporting and marketing compliance. These mandates were also premised on solving issues of privacy and data protection. Fast forward five years, and today data governance is seen as helping set the stage for real-time analytics that aid the front office and provide crucial support informing business decisions. As investing becomes increasingly global in scope, and alternative and non-traditional asset classes become more prevalent, it is no exaggeration to say that data integrity could be a make-or-break factor for many in asset management.

Best-in-class data governance provides a formal set of standards for how data is securely collected, stored, distributed and processed. Not only does this safeguard an organization’s data and ensure that it is accurate and accessible, it makes it available for decision making on an enterprise-wide basis—enabling managers to predict trends, react quickly to market changes and respond to competitors. Whether the catalyst is the replacement of obsolete infrastructure as part of an operational transformation project or, rather, reflects the pursuit of new business opportunities, data governance can have a profound impact on the overall agility of the organization.

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