Posts by: Lindsey Allard

A Close-up on Canada: Data, Investment Performance, Technology and Operational Strategy in Focus

Manuel Tereso, CFA, Consulting Lead, & Mark Goodey, Dip IoD, Director


The investment management landscape in Canada continues to change rapidly. Mounting regulation, technological advancement, changing client demands, business transformation initiatives, and consolidation are presenting asset managers with both new opportunities and new risks. This prevailing shift in the industry was felt at two recent events in the region – TSAM Toronto and a client event that Eagle hosted jointly with CIBC Mellon. The events shared common, prominent themes in the industry that arose amongst the operations teams of Canadian asset managers and asset owners.

Mastering Strategic Data Quality
Firms are focusing on creating robust governance frameworks and enhancing the strategic management of their data, evidenced by the growth of the Chief Data Officer role. At TSAM Toronto, a show of hands was asked for those who did not have a data office within their organisation, highlighting that a tipping point has clearly been reached. Previously, the assumption of embarking on a new technology project was that data issues would resolve themselves or would be someone else’s problem to address further down the line. Yet today, many enterprise level projects and initiatives now start with better alignment to data as a primary governing thought. Firms are investing significant amounts of time, money, and energy in ensuring the quality of their data. Judging from the topics and interest from the TSAM Toronto delegates, it is evident data management will continue to be a growing priority.

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Replacing LIBOR: Transitioning to Risk-Free Rates

Brexit has effectively sealed the fate of LIBOR. The transition to global risk-free rates promises to be more taxing than most organizations are anticipating

Brian Dunton, Head of Instrument Engineering, Eagle Investment Systems


LIBOR, the most referenced interest rate benchmark in the world, is due to be phased out starting in 2021. The 2012 LIBOR scandal – in which benchmark rates were manipulated by rogue bankers to benefit their derivatives-trading operations – has resulted in a move toward risk-free rates (RFR). The momentum behind this has only become more acute as financial institutions get their arms around the impact of Brexit.

LIBOR, for the uninitiated, refers to the London inter-bank offered rate and is calculated using appraisals from leading financial institutions in which the banks estimate how much they would be charged to borrow from peer institutions. Risk-free rates, alternatively, are generally calculated as the weighted average rate from actual overnight lending between banks. Given the potential for manipulation, inter-bank offered rates are expected to gradually be replaced by global RFRs. For historical context, the LIBOR benchmark has long been used to calculate financing on swaps, bonds, mortgage-backed securities, bank loans and a host of other financial instruments. The expectation is that deals will start to gravitate toward published risk-free rates. While it sounds seamless, replacing the benchmark with a different index to calculate financing accruals is far more complex than it may appear at first blush.

Consider, for instance, that a vanilla interest rate swap would historically represent a fixed rate versus a floating interest rate hedge based upon the current LIBOR rate. Other economic indicators, such as the yield curve, are also generally factored in at the time that the deal was struck. While one leg would remain fixed throughout the life of the deal, the other would reset at each payment period. Different tenors of LIBOR were published and used to calculate swap financing fees for each period.
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Performance Measurement: Controls, Workflows, and Technology

Mark Goodey, Director, Senior Principal of Investment Analytics, Eagle Investment Systems


Recently, I was fortunate enough to observe a number of thought-provoking presentations and panel discussions as chair of the FTF Performance Measurement Americas Forum in New York. In reflection of the event, I’ve highlighted some of the key themes I found most impactful.

Improved Controls
Performance teams are under increasing pressure from internal audit teams—and, more importantly, external regulatory bodies—to ensure their data is passed through comprehensive control processing. Once validated, the data is deemed reasonably bulletproof in the eyes of consumers. There’s an acceptance that the performance function acts as a safety net for clients and, therefore, needs to act as a data quality feedback loop to other teams across the business. There is a firm ‘quality control’ component to the performance measurement function, requiring significant oversight of data and robust workflows.

Much of the conversation I witnessed centred on the data management challenges for performance teams, as well as the role of manual ‘eyes-on’ processes versus automation. Based on the increase in the volume of data, the sources of data, and the frequency of reporting, it’s apparent that processes and workflows need to be streamlined and the ‘maker-checker-supervisor’ process must be systematised. Ultimately, this comes down to a combination of human and technology processes. It’s essential that exception-based reporting, like that provided by Eagle, replaces manual reconciliation. This solution increases the human operator’s responsibility to supervise and oversee the data by using tools and dashboards to ensure data accuracy and resolve issues as they occur. At Eagle, one of our key considerations, as part of our continual product enhancement, is to enable any number of “checkers” and “supervisors” in the process at any time in order to satisfy regulatory demands. Eagle’s next Performance software release will introduce the ability to have any number of ‘flags’ to evidence a sign off by a stakeholder as part of an approval workflow, this will be audit ready.

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Riding the Transformation Wave

Mal Cullen, Eagle’s Chief Executive Officer, reflects on 2018, highlighting Eagle’s considerable progress in its deployment-model transformation


Thomas Friedman, in his book “Thank You For Being Late,” identified 2007 as the precise year that technology began to devour the rest of the economy. This was the year when consumers likely bought their first iPhone or created a Facebook account. It wasn’t obvious at the time, but a decade later, it’s plain to see that beyond a radically new user experience, these innovations created an insatiable demand for data—and consequently, a need to store, manage, analyze and protect this information.

Not coincidentally, 2007 marked the first year in which Eagle ACCESSSM, our secure private cloud, became the preferred deployment platform for clients. This shift represented a step-function change in how clients engaged with Eagle. Again, this may have seemed revolutionary at the time, but we now recognize the extent to which this move is allowing organizations to holistically re-imagine their business model.

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Q&A: Building Momentum in EMEA

Dan Cavanaugh, Eagle’s new Head of EMEA, shares his thoughts on the region and Eagle’s continued focus on supporting the diverse client needs.


Q: Alongside your appointment as the Head of the EMEA region, it was also announced that Eagle was separating the management of its EMEA and APAC business lines. Can you discuss some of the catalysts behind this decision?

A: The decision to separate the EMEA and APAC business lines simply reflects the growth we’ve experienced in each of these regions. Particularly in EMEA, sales grew by more than 30% year over year in 2017. The number of new EMEA clients last year was also approximately two to three times higher than what is traditionally considered a strong year of new business growth. And we’ve had an increasing number of existing clients who are interested in extending their Eagle relationships by adding new services or capabilities.

There are several drivers, but we believe the momentum stems from a multipronged approach over the past few years to build awareness in the region and work more closely with local consultants. We’ve also found that growth tends to beget more growth. Client references, especially from some of the large, multinational firms that we work with, have gone a long way to build credibility among fund managers and asset owners who initially may be less familiar with Eagle.

Also, our alignment with our parent company has been invaluable. BNY Mellon has a tremendous presence and reputation globally, which has helped increase Eagle’s opportunities. Beyond collaborating in the ongoing development of our solution set, our relationship with BNY Mellon provides clients a continuum of deployment options as well as value-added functions through either managed services or a fully outsourced solution through BNY Mellon. This is a huge differentiator and has especially resonated in the EMEA region.

Q: It’s only been a short time since you assumed the role as Head of EMEA, but could you highlight some of the key differences between this market and other regions, such as APAC and North America?

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Meet…Sheila Kirby

Eagle’s newest Consulting Lead in Toronto, Sheila Kirby, has spent
her entire career implementing 
investment management and fund
acco
unting systems. Now, she is resolved to help clients who are
considering the tran
sition away from legacy systems.

Tell us a little about your background and what you’ll be focusing on in your role at Eagle?

I’ve spent the last twenty years working on system implementations across the globe. I started in Toronto in 1995. A year later, a two-week trip to the United Kingdom turned into six years working on implementations across Europe. While I was able to return to Canada, I don’t think there has been a week in my professional life where I haven’t been on the road. The experience has been incredible; it’s not just the work that goes into establishing these systems, but I was also able to gain a deep understanding of how clients are using the technology to become more efficient, effective, and solving challenges within their operations. During this time, I built an expertise across fund accounting, reconciliations, operational processing, and client and performance reporting. I’ve also seen firsthand the types of challenges companies face when they embark on a legacy system replacement. My experience working with some of these older systems should prove useful for Eagle clients who are beginning the conversion from legacy systems.

Your entire career has revolved around implementing software and systems for clients. Can you tell us how implementations have changed over the years?

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Sovereign Wealth Funds: Coping with Increased Complexity and Asset Growth

Eagle’s Amit Bharakda examines the reasons why SWFs are putting a greater emphasis on control and transparency when it comes to managing and measuring the performance of their investments.

Amit Bharakda, Regional Head of Business Development, EMEA


The investment landscape for the world’s sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) has changed dramatically in recent years, as assets under management (AUM) have continued to grow steadily. As assets have grown, many have looked to diversify into new asset classes and build their own investment capabilities in-house. At the same time, stakeholder demands have changed, with greater scrutiny on the performance of these funds by governments and civil servants.

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ENGAGE18: Data Governance as a First Step to Transformation

Paul McInnis recaps his ENGAGE18 panel discussion on data management as an agent of change

Paul McInnis, Eagle Business Manager


“If an employee took a sledgehammer to their desk, you wouldn’t sit around and watch, would you?” This was a question posed by one of the ENGAGE18 panelists participating in the panel, “How Data Can Help Transform the Business”. The answer, quite obviously, is that no company would ever treat an asset like that. The point—as the panelist articulated—is that this is effectively how organizations are treating their data when they don’t promote governance or controls that instill data quality.

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ENGAGE18: The Engagement Only Continues

With ENGAGE18 complete, Eagle’s Head of Americas and Chief Client Officer Diane McLoughlin shares the highlights from this year’s client conference

Diane McLoughlin, Head of Americas and Chief Client Officer


Many of our competitors define themselves as a “single solution.” This used to be a point of pride or at least a pithy marketing pitch. In practice, though, it has become clear today that no one single vendor is going to solve all of the challenges facing our industry.

According to research conducted by WatersTechnology and highlighted in the white paper, “The Age of Agile Solutions”, more than 40% of asset managers use ten or more systems, and the majority require at least seven systems to support their front-, middle- and back-offices. Given the pace of change and specialized capabilities required in today’s dynamic landscape, the thought of a closed, monolithic system probably conjures integration headaches.

In contrast to a single-vendor approach, ENGAGE18 represented a celebration of Eagle’s collaborative, client-driven approach. On full display was Eagle’s next-generation open platform as well as our expansive—and rapidly growing—ecosystem of vendor alliances. During our second day keynote presentation, we even announced a new collaboration with Microsoft to deliver a next-generation multi-tenant data management platform on the Azure public cloud. Our event attracted over 575 attendees, including nearly 400 client attendees, representing more than 100 unique organizations that traveled to Boca Raton from five different continents.

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ENGAGE18 Q&A: Becoming a Data Visionary through Eagle Managed ServicesSM

Eagle’s Liz Blake, who will be speaking at ENGAGE18, highlights why forward-thinking asset managers are abandoning an “incremental” approach to data management


Q: Most asset managers have been affected by significant shifts that have occurred across the industry landscape, including the rotation into passive strategies and its impact on fees, the growing regulatory burden, and, of course, the pace of technological change. How have you seen firms deal with these challenges as it relates to their approach to data management?

A: Firms typically pursue one of two possible paths. You have the data “incrementalists,” who are focused on the immediate challenge and are not necessarily looking at the whole picture. They tend to be far more focused on the production and maintenance of data rather than analyzing it. Ultimately, this speaks to the amount of value that the broader organization receives from the data management function. Most financial organizations, before now, have resisted more comprehensive transformations because the evolving backdrop has created a moving target. But given the insatiable demand for data today—driven by growth in the volume, varieties and velocity of data—many organizations are at a point where they need to transform their data management function or fall behind. Otherwise, they may struggle to accommodate AUM growth, launch new products, or even expand into new markets. Organizations today can no longer solve the data explosion by simply adding bodies or by sticking new technology onto old systems. Taking a reactive, piecemeal approach may solve each challenge as it arises and can help delay big decisions, but it comes at the expense of adding more technology debt, creating a more complex operating model, and introducing greater operational risk.

Then you have the true data visionaries, who are willing to step back and reconsider how their organization is positioned to meet new challenges. Those who fit into this category recognize the consequences of poor data quality. And they’re willing to reimagine a more revolutionary, data-inspired operating model that goes beyond simply meeting an immediate need to materially enhance the value of desired outcomes.

Q: That’s interesting. So how do you characterize those firms that would be considered a data visionary?

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