About Eagle

Decaying Platforms: Addressing the Growing Risks Posed by Outdated Portfolio Management and Accounting Systems

 

A confident businessman with briefcase walking ahead on a tightrope in empty grey urban space conceptAt recent Eagle Investment Systems client events in Chicago and Toronto, Citisoft COO Tom Secaur and Accenture Principal Michael Kerrigan offered their take on why so many asset managers have put off replacing their legacy systems, even as the enterprise risks grow with every passing year.

 

Jeremy Skaling, Managing Director, Global Head of Marketing


The challenge for many asset managers is that it can be difficult to actually define what a legacy system is. Unlike an automobile, there is no odometer from which to measure the lifespan. The most widely accepted definition is that a legacy system describes a platform or a vendor that can no longer keep pace with the growth of the business or evolution of the markets. It might be an internally built system that is no longer fit for purpose; it could be a platform running obsolete technology; or, in this era of consolidation, it could be a vendor that is effectively sunsetting a platform through inattention and waning R&D. The result? Years of customizations and patchwork modifications become twisted and dangerously intertwined. Sooner or later, the negative impact—be it poor data quality, operational inefficiencies or the inability to accommodate new products—can be felt throughout the investment management organization.

“You’ll see an accounting system sitting in the middle of an organization with point-to-point interfaces going everywhere…It’s a warehouse, a client-reporting system, an internal reporting system, it generates analytics, keeps pricing history, you name it,” Citisoft COO Tom Secaur described at the recent Eagle client event in Chicago. While Rube Goldberg would be proud, the prevalence of legacy systems actually represents one of the biggest threats facing many asset managers today.

At one point in time, these systems were likely fit for purpose and may have even been considered cutting edge at the time of their implementation. Fast forward 10, 15 or in some cases 30 years, however, and many of these systems today have not received the requisite investments to remain relevant. This is becoming even more apparent and the impact more pronounced as the engineers that developed the original technology and code hit retirement age, which leaves precious few professionals available who understand how to patch these systems as needed in order to keep them alive and functioning.

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Outsourcing and the Evolving Client-Vendor Relationship

Antony Slee, Regional Sales Director


As the information age transitions into the age of insight, financial services companies and investment organisations are shifting how data is consumed by the business. Consequently, the traditional role of the vendor is changing significantly.

Recently, Eagle participated in a panel at TSAM Europe 2016 in which we explored how stronger and more resilient third-party partnerships are resulting from the growing movement of asset managers who outsource or co-source their data management functions. During this discussion, one particular comment stood out. A panelist described the evolving focus for investment managers—from data, to information, to knowledge, to insight—concluding that there is now a push to go one step further by deriving business value from that insight. This progression, from simply focusing on data to value-driving insight, perfectly captures what we are seeing at Eagle.

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Eagle’s Canadian Client User Group Grows Roots

The launch of the Canadian Client User Group, coupled with our attentive participation, underscores Eagle’s collaborative approach to addressing evolving business needs

 

Rashmi Patel,  Relationship Manager – Canada


Those who read Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs will realize that while Jobs may have had a singular personality, he was perhaps one of the biggest champions of the collaborative approach in creating integrated solutions. In fact, he was such an advocate that when he assumed the lead of Pixar he went so far as to redesign the office to facilitate unplanned encounters, all in the name of promoting an exchange of ideas across the business. Collaboration also drives everything at Eagle. But unlike Jobs, who is often cited as saying “It isn’t the consumer’s job to know what they want,” Eagle has sought to bring our clients directly into the creative process. In financial services we believe this approach is quite necessary to stay ahead of the evolving business needs in such a complex and dynamic industry. While this collaboration can take many forms, the recent launch of a client user group in Canada highlights both the role of the client in advancing our solution set as well as the enthusiasm it has created in our organization.

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FINcastle’s CEO Bevin Crodian Shares Thoughts in a blog contribution titled
Fiduciary Rule Highlights
Data Deficiencies

Bevin Crodian, CEO, FINcastle Consulting
fincastle


The US Department of Labor (DOL) Fiduciary Rule, likely out in a few weeks, will impose new restrictions on a large number of financial professionals who handle IRAs and 401(k) accounts. This will pose another issue for asset managers: the absence of data transparency. In targeting private wealth managers, the regulators have put in their cross-hairs a segment of the financial services community that potentially has neither the existing infrastructure nor the IT resources to meet the data management demands of heightened oversight. As such, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the DOL Fiduciary Rule will translate into a need for increased transparency and thus more work on the part of the fund managers, service providers and institutions that sell into the private wealth market and count these firms as valued clients.

Traditionally, data issues for private wealth companies center on the challenge of delivering comprehensive and meaningful client reports. But the larger demands of overarching data accessibility often get much less attention. Such neglect may not be an option in the future. Calls for improved business command and control as well as regulatory requirements will force the retrieval of increasingly complex reports to satisfy client, business and regulatory demands.

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Meet… Electra Govoni

electraEagle Investment Systems’ Strategic Project Manager, Electra Govoni, discusses her role as part of Eagle’s Diversity Council and the Women’s Initiative Network as well as how these efforts feed into Eagle’s innovative culture.

Q: You’ve been with Eagle for a decade now and serve as the chair of Eagle’s Diversity Council and the Women’s Initiative Network. Over that time, how have you seen the organization evolve as it relates to diversity?

A: It’s interesting because we’ve really matured as an organization overall, having grown from a tech startup when the company was founded to now representing a key part of BNY Mellon Technology Solutions. There are things that you really love that come with being part of a startup, particularly the innovation and creativity that define the culture. At the same time, the stability that comes with consistent and steady growth allows you to do a lot of different things as an organization that you couldn’t do otherwise. Still, there are challenges that every company faces as they mature. For instance, to maintain a truly innovative culture, you have to build an infrastructure to support that environment as you grow. Similarly, you have to implement processes that allow you to maintain the creativity that helped fuel your growth in the first place. The diversity program here at Eagle is a critical component in keeping that creative culture in place. It helps ensure that we’re bringing together people with different backgrounds and perspectives, all aligned towards helping our clients’ solve their business needs.

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Innovation: A Catalyst
for Collaboration

Mal Cullen, Chief Executive Officer


bulbThis past November, with little fanfare, MIT’s Sloan School of Management introduced a new course focusing on financial technology applications. With the aim of exploring how technology can improve areas such as consumer finance, payments and trading, this is the very first graduate-level course to focus on FinTech in the US. In a sense, it also marks a new era for financial services in general, one perhaps long overdue, in which the market embraces disruptive technologies and their ability to advance financial services. Institutions either embrace technology or risk being left behind.

Consider just how much capital is pouring into the sector, all with an eye on automating, digitizing and optimizing financial services. In the third quarter of 2015, $4.85 billion in investment funding flowed to venture-capital-backed FinTech companies, according to research firm CB Insights. This eclipses the total funding dedicated to the segment in all of 2010 and 2011 combined. In the past two years, FinTech startups have attracted more than $16 billion.

Make no mistake, the future is already here—it is just not as evenly distributed as many in the sector might like. For instance, advances such as blockchain technology and the ongoing evolution of big data promise to irreversibly change the industry. The question then becomes not what the future holds but how will current business models adapt to harness and profit from these developments. Yet, while most other sectors fear disruption, the innovation that ensues in financial services will more likely serve as a catalyst for collaboration between incumbents and startups.

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Meet… Darcie James-Maxwell

darciEagle Investment Systems’ Head of Relationship Management – Canada, who oversees the Global Client Experience Team, discusses the key initiatives that have been in focus following Eagle’s most recent client survey

Q. It’s been a year since Eagle conducted a survey of global clients. Could you discuss some of the findings that came out of it?
A. Initially, when we reached out to our client base we were hoping to gain a more thorough understanding of how they felt about the experience of being an Eagle client. The survey provided great feedback, as we were able to get a better sense of the value clients get out of their Eagle solution as well as what really works as part of our service model. We also came away with a better understanding around their different needs, particularly from newer clients when it comes to the transition from implementation to production. One key takeaway was that we could help clients better navigate our solution at the beginning of the relationship.

It’s been roughly a year now since the survey, and since then, we’ve created a team entirely dedicated to the client experience. As part of this initiative, we identified a few areas of focus in particular, including knowledge management and client interaction. Within these areas, we have launched several projects, all with the goal of continually enhancing the client experience.

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