Posts by: Teague Duncan

How Eagle’s People Will be the Catalysts for Change

Eagle’s Global Head of Change Management and Organization Development discusses Eagle’s strategy to empower and engage frontline employees to drive transformation

Anna Domino, Global Head of Change Management and Organizational Development


There’s a saying in college football that programs are built in the offseason. This is particularly true when there is a change in strategy and coaches are tasked with matching existing players and recruits to new roles and schemes. Change management in financial services is no different. And in the era of digital disruption, it’s the people and their range of skill sets that will dictate whether organizations are successful effecting large-scale transformations.

McKinsey & Co., in February, highlighted the critical importance of frontline employees in driving business transformation. In a survey of more than 1,600 respondents whose organizations have completed change initiatives in the past five years, the consultant found a direct correlation between those companies whose frontline employees were visibly engaged in the effort and success in reaching the desired goals.

Eagle’s Chief Technology Officer Steve Taylor recently outlined the principles guiding Eagle’s deployment-model transformation. While it is clear the adoption of a cloud-native architecture and agile business model will bring new efficiencies and deliver material value to clients for years to come, what can be harder to recognize externally are all the different ways we’re engaging with our people to support and sustain the new operating model. As much as this effort will enhance Eagle’s go-to-market strategy, we expect it to be just as impactful in creating opportunities for both existing and future employees.

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New LGPS Pools Put Spotlight on Data Management Practices

Amit Bharakda, Sales Director EMEA


Local government pension schemes in England and Wales are undergoing their most radical shake up in years. Currently, the LGPS is organised into 89 pension funds; under the new model, these funds will be combined into eight large investment pools that will manage pools of assets up to £40Bn. One of the central aims of the reform is to reduce investment costs and offer ‘excellent value for money’ by achieving greater economies of scale and introducing improved governance and decision making frameworks.

Creating the operational structures required to establish a common framework and consolidate the assets of multiple separate entities is no mean feat. As Stephen Doyle, BNY Mellon’s head of UK institutional relationship development for asset servicing, identified in his recent article for the Local Government Chronicle, one of the primary considerations is the ability for the authorised entity to receive a consolidated view of the assets within the pool and to deliver consolidated reporting. Having the right data management practices and platforms in place is vital to being able to achieve this and ultimately deliver on the UK government’s goals to improve efficiency and decision making.

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Macro Platforms, Micro Experiences

As we progress on Eagle’s deployment-model transformation, certain key principles will continue to guide our cloud-native journey.

Steve Taylor, Chief Technology Officer


The consumerization of IT has arrived and is having a deep and dramatic effect on our everyday lives. In fact, whether we realize it or not, digitalization has seeped into our subconscious to the point that it has altered digital interactions as well as assumptions of what is expected.

We expect a seamless client experience, which translates primarily into “always on” and a confidence that platforms will learn and evolve over time. Personalization around applications based on users’ behaviors is perhaps more commonplace than people realize. At home or in the office, the technology and digital platforms we use are focused on personalizing the experience and improving efficiency to get the task done faster.

Whether we realize it or not, it is our micro experiences that are critical to the success of the platform. This personalization drives the value of the technology we use—it may be the ease of finding a movie on Netflix that suits our individualized preferences or the ability to settle a credit card with a simple swipe or tap.

The challenge, however, is that old architectures cannot be wrapped or encapsulated to deliver these strategies. Legacy platforms were built to support a different set of use cases and “cloud wrapping” (encapsulating old capabilities into new paradigms) will not deliver the desired business outcome. These dated systems are often based on batch processes, with no clear separation of concerns and have a historic focus on a small set of super users as opposed to information consumers and citizen developers.

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Vendor Relationships in the Time of Consolidation: Are Your Vendors in it for the Long Haul?

The impending sunset of Barclays POINT was prominent at the recent FTF Performance Measurement Americas (PMA) conference, underscoring the long-term risks of a short-term focus on software

Jeff Cullen, Solutions Principal


While most performance system RFPs focus on a given product’s user interface or the specific features that are built directly into the software, organizations should also consider the potential for technology debt, which stems from distributed systems and the unhealthy dependencies that often develop with their presence. I recently participated in a panel at the FTF PMA conference in New York entitled “How to Justify System Migration Pain”, and this was a theme that seemed to be top of mind among the panelists following the recent consolidation among fintech vendors that underscored this growing challenge.

The discussion also featured Jeffrey Malmin, General Director, Performance Reporting at John Hancock Investments; Shankar Venkatraman, Director, Global Head of Performance, Risk, Analytics and Compliance at Citi; Jeremy Welch, Head of US Hub Operations at BNP Paribas; and Jeffrey Bellavance, Manager Performance and Analytics at PanAgora Asset Management.

One takeaway from the event resonated with me as the sole vendor on the panel: The consistent recognition that investment firms and asset managers aren’t simply buying software anymore, they’re entering into a relationship with their vendor.

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Taking Control of Your Investment Operations

Ravi Patel, Solution Specialist


Operating under cost pressures, reduced margins and tough competition, the manufacturing industry has constantly adopted lean operations to eliminate waste of resources and time. Adopting automated process governance across stock control to bill of materials & final packaging, provides an early diagnostic, helps eliminate defects and improves overall operational efficiency for manufacturers. Ultimately this helps them to control costs, meet quality standards, and maintain consistency and reliability of their end product

Lean operations in the manufacturing industry is an example that many Investment Managers could benefit from when it comes to their middle and back office operations. This understanding resonated well with the assembled crowd at TSAM London, where I presented Eagle’s Control Centre. My conversations with various delegates at TSAM confirmed that the reality for investment operations and accounting teams today is very different. Due to silos of disparate legacy systems, they are forced into adopting fragmented manual workflows, which are causing considerable data quality challenges and reconciliation overhead.

Resource intensive manual intervention such as ledger to sub-ledger reconciliation, NAV impact checklists, NAV reconciliation and market data variances regularly cause delays to the valuation process. The reactive nature of such manual workflows often reveals upstream data quality issues once valuations are calculated. Today, these issues are identified late in the process by performing in-depth root cause analysis, causing loss of productivity and often missed SLAs.

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A Journey Through the Evolution of Buy-Side Investment Data Management

Marc Rubenfeld, CIPM, Head of Eagle Solutions EMEA/APAC


At the recent TSAM London event, I had the honour of chairing the data management conference stream. This involved moderating debates, introducing speakers and facilitating conversation throughout the day. In preparation for the event, I began thinking about the history of data management and what I have seen as the stages in its evolution within buy-side investment managers.

Each new innovation or concept in data management has followed a similar evolutionary path, starting with awareness or recognition around the concept itself. Then follows a ripple of early adopters that look to build their own solutions, before vendors step in to refine and improve the innovation with commercial solutions. Over time, these vendor solutions can offer even more cost savings in the form of a managed service.

Over time, with each new innovation, the period it takes to evolve has contracted as firms have become quicker to embrace new concepts and vendors more agile in reacting to client needs. To illustrate this, I put together the diagram below, based on the design of the London Underground map. The horizontal line roughly approximates time and each evolutionary stage is represented as a station.

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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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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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