About Eagle

#MyFeminism: Reflecting on One Woman’s Journey at Eagle

Darcie James-Maxwell, Eagle’s Head of Canadian Operations, is participating on the CIBC Mellon WIN panel today celebrating International Women’s Day and the #PressforProgress.

Darcie James-Maxwell, Head of Canadian Operations

It is with great pride and gratitude that I am presented with the opportunity to be a part of International Women’s Day. As I reflect on my own career journey starting as an analyst, I am thankful for the women who paved the way for many of us to finally have a seat at the table. As a woman of color, I’ve had more than one obstacle to overcome as I pursued my passion for competence, credibility and leadership in the fintech industry.

Over the last year, women’s issues have been firmly in the spotlight. With companies across the world committing to closing the gender pay gap, it feels like we are closer than ever to achieving gender equality in the workplace and in our everyday lives. Movements fueled by women have inspired the women’s marches across North America while the #MeToo Movement has gripped social media, resulting in recognition and equality expansion. As a result, Canada has recently proposed an amendment that redefines its Labour Code to support women on equal footing in the workplace. Unfortunately, we still have a long road ahead of us. A quote from a recent report from the World Economic Forum states that gender parity is more than 200 years away. Therefore, the relevancy of this year’s theme for International Women’s Day – #PressforProgress – could not be any more appropriate.
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The Mounting Migration to Standardization

As organizations gravitate away from highly customized legacy accounting systems and many systems arrive at their end-of-life, Eagle’s Mathieu Benoit highlights several best practices for firms ready to embrace the agility of an open platform

Mathieu Benoit, Consulting Lead

Almost as certain as death and taxes, accounting regulations impacting asset managers will remain in a state of perpetual motion. In Canada, for instance, the next phase of IFRS implementation introduces what KPMG billed in a recent white paper as an “unprecedented level of change”—affecting everything from how financial institutions classify and measure assets to how they account for hedging instruments. The paper, “Ready? Or Not: The Next Phase of IFRS,” also highlights that it is not just the regulations that are changing, but that the more demanding landscape is even forcing organizations to rethink their philosophy around technology altogether. At Eagle, we have seen this translate into a pronounced shift in client preferences from legacy accounting systems to more standardized platforms that offer both agility and the ability to keep up with today’s business needs.

In the past, asset managers generally had little choice but to build highly customized accounting systems. Though this allowed Chief Information Officers to tailor the technology and software capabilities to the unique needs of the back office, it often required running additional systems like Excel in parallel or applying other workarounds to “fill in the gaps.” In turn, these workarounds increased both risk and technology costs related to the management of data and enterprise security.

Fast forward ten years, however, and not only has the number of financial products and asset classes grown considerably in size and sophistication, but also so has the number of complementary applications that are often tied into the accounting system. Adding greater complexity, for many, an accounting system is not solely an accounting system—it can double as a client reporting system, an analytics engine or even a makeshift data warehouse. And while these custom-built systems may produce the required outputs on a day-to-day basis, a new challenge often arises anytime a change is required, whether it is new regulations, a new investment strategy, or even an acquisition. Today, the price of past customizations and workarounds is often measured in units of time and complexity. Time management is also important when processing daily activities, Eagles’ exception-based system helps users to be efficient and effective.

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Moving from the Margins

Blog posted initially by CloudMargin as part of their Industry Insights Series

Increased use of derivatives and regulatory change is leading to increased focus on how investment managers manage collateral and post margin. 

Brian Dunton, Head of Instrument Engineering

The normalization of derivatives has sparked a sharp increase in their use among investment firms

Among Eagle’s client base of global investment managers, we’ve seen derivatives move from the periphery of the market to become a mainstream investment. Instruments that were once widely considered to be “exotic” are being used by traditionally conservative firms to diversify their portfolios and hedge positions.

A few years ago our typical client trading swaps would hold a handful of positions across a couple of different flavors of derivatives. Now we have clients with thousands of positions spanning many derivative types, each with their own unique conventions. This rapid increase in volume comes with an equally rapid increase in exposure, which has brought efficient collateral management back into the spotlight.

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The Rapid Adoption of Managed Services in Asia

Michelle Wong explains why managed services are proving to be so popular among Asian investment firms intent on improving their data management capabilities

Michelle Wong, Lead Manager, Client Service

Over the last 12 months, I have met with investors across Asia, including both asset managers and asset owners. One common thread spanning those conversations has been the automation of data management processes, but this focus on achieving greater efficiency is no different than any other region. The preferred path, however, is unique as many APAC firms have been keen to augment their operating model with managed services and less inclined to either build their own proprietary data management solution or utilise a third-party system to facilitate the move away from spreadsheets.

Until fairly recently, investment organisations in APAC have been able to meet their investment and operational data needs using Excel alone, relying on manual processes and adding headcount when necessary as the business grows. However, rising employment costs undermine the feasibility of that approach, particularly as the growing demand for data, within the organisation and externally, highlights the need for workflow automation.

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Performance Measurement: From Cost Center to Business Driver

At TSAM Boston, panelists highlighted how the ongoing evolution of the performance measurement function—enabled by technology—is creating a competitive advantage for those able to meet the growing data demands of investors.

Richard Flokos, Performance Product Owner

Recent research from Chestnut Advisory Group, published in November, emphasized the central role of performance reviews in helping asset managers secure lasting relationships with their clients. Even when performance suffers, the report concluded, informed investors are more likely to remain as long-term investors when the connection to broader market conditions is clear and communicated in advance.

This takeaway speaks to the organizational shift occurring within many investment firms, as performance measurement and risk teams are increasingly being viewed, not as a cost center, but rather as an elemental driver of the business at large. This was the very topic that we addressed during a recent panel discussion at TSAM Boston. The consensus among the assembled participants was that as performance teams begin to assume more prominent roles, their value is being recognized both internally, by other operating areas and the front office, and externally, by clients demanding more granularity and color around returns.

According to the Chestnut Advisory Group research, which featured a survey of nearly 90 asset owners and consultants, institutional investors today are particularly focused on performance data that can shed additional light on portfolio positioning, detailed attribution, and outcomes relative to strategy benchmarks. The timely delivery of performance data was also cited as a critical element of performance reviews by nearly three fourths of the investors polled. Less important, according to the survey, are the macro outlooks of fund managers or discussion around the best- or worst-performing positions.

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Can I Buy a Vowel? Why the Move from QA to QE is Necessary for Agile Development

While QA merely provides a quality check before deployment, QE is the process that instills quality into software design

Eric Getchell, Head of Quality and Infrastructure Services

A recent inquiry on the question-and-answer site Quora asked, “What is agile?” A seemingly simple question, yet it drew 40 responses, ranging from basic analogies to complex explanations complete with diagrams and related threads on the various types of agile frameworks. While Eagle has certainly touched on the many benefits of an agile development model, (here and here, for example), the transition from QA (Quality Assurance) to QE (Quality Engineering) can help contextualize what an agile model looks like in action and, more importantly, underscores how DevOps translates into improved quality and a faster time to value for clients.

Traditionally, developers have relied on quality assurance analysts to measure the quality of software ahead of deployment. In a customary waterfall operational model—in which products are designed, implemented and verified in sequential order—the quality assurance team is typically the last stop to eliminate any bugs in the code prior to release. Within this model, the role of a QA analyst is primarily to detect defects, measure the impact, and—when they invariably discover an issue—send the code back to the developers to begin the cycle anew.

Quality engineering, in contrast, is about defect prevention versus defect measurement. QE is effectively an upstream event in which quality engineers work alongside cross-functional development teams to discover and solve issues in real time. Enabled by an agile, iterative development model, the move to QE ensures quality is baked into the software at the onset of development and remains in focus not only up to but also beyond deployment. This process utilizes quality measurements at build time allowing for continuous quality gates prior to code submittal. Gone is the protracted feedback loop in which QA and the development team play hot potato with the code base until a fix occurs. In an agile model, quality is simply engineered into the entire process.

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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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Eagle ACCESSSM Premium Services

In this video, Chris Mayo, Head of Eagle ACCESSSM Client Solutions, discusses the Premium Services offered at Eagle ACCESS. These additional services are available to support business needs and deliver additional value from Eagle’s secure private cloud.

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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