Posts by: Lindsey Allard

Reimagining Performance Measurement in an AI World

A recent panel discussion highlighted two opposing theories around which skillsets will shape performance measurement and attribution in the future.

Mark Blakey, Product Management


In an era of disruption and digital transformation – marked by hundreds of fintech and software vendors coexisting across the asset management landscape – performance professionals may be asking themselves how they can best leverage the latest leading capabilities available to support their business. More poignantly, many are also trying to discern how the performance function itself will evolve and whether technology will alter their role altogether. It can be a polarizing topic.

Specific to performance measurement, competing viewpoints generally emphasize either one of two skillsets that will be required as the middle office evolves, pitting technological proficiency against domain expertise. The divide between the two camps will only grow wider until organizations have a better sense of where precisely technology will or won’t fit in. In the meantime, many are left wondering, if technology isn’t going to take their jobs outright, should they be worried that a “technologist” someday will?

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With Global Sanctions Activity Increasing, How Can Compliance Departments Keep Up?

Joel Kornblum, Global Head of Strategic Alliances & Consultant Relations


If the world was flat in the early aughts, as the economist Thomas Friedman implied in his best-selling book, the past few years have become increasingly bumpy thanks to increasing populism and a volatile environment for global sanctions. This doesn’t just pose challenges for portfolio managers trying to stay ahead of geopolitics to manage risk. Compliance departments also have their hands full trying to keep track of certain positions and whether or not there are sanctions in place that ostensibly bar a fund from owning specific securities.

As evidenced by the initiation of several notable sanctions in just five months, it is evident that sanctions are growing. In November of 2018, for instance, broad sanctions were reinstated in Iran as a result of the U.S. withdrawing from the Iranian Nuclear Deal, while the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also added Petróleos de Venezuela to its sanctions program (also known as the SDN list), following an executive order that cited human rights abuses of the Madura regime. OFAC also lifted sanctions on EN+ and Rusal, highlighting the challenge of not only tracking potential securities that are under sanctions, but also those that aren’t.

In light of how challenging these efforts can be, Eagle recently hosted a webinar, “Managing Global Sanctions Data with Eagle and SIX” in June. Webinar participants included Jeff Bellemare, Product Manager at SIX; Akhar Mathews, Head of Sales Support at Eagle; and myself.

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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


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


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, 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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