One of our founders, Mick Brant, celebrates three decades in the investment analytics business this month.
Mick started in IT as a developer at UK pension fund performance service CAPS in 1984. He progressed through the ranks to become CEO in 1999 and later, when the business was sold, running Russell/Mellon’s analytical services business outside North America. More recently he has been involved in a number of technology start-ups, including Teknometry.
Mick has witnessed lots of developments in the business, both in terms of the theoretical debates around differing methods as well as their practical application in everyday use:
The range and complexity of analysis has gone from return comparisons against peer groups to attribution models with wide ranging factors and effects using composite benchmarks for comparison. Measures of both historic and predictive risk have become more complex and their use has become much more widespread.
Changes in the level of granularity of analysis have been driven by fund managers, consultants, investors and increasing regulator demands from quarterly analysis at sector level to daily, security level detail.
One of the most significant changes in the institutional space has been the emergence and adoption of the Global Investment Performance Standard (GIPS), which is levelling the playing field in comparative performance terms across the investment world.
The pace of technological change has also played a huge part in enabling increasing complexity and granularity of data to be processed, moving from mainframe behemoths to PC-based systems and, more recently, on-demand cloud solutions.
When asked what the next big changes will be, Mick said: “We are currently in the middle of one of the most disruptive periods of technological change since the advent of the PC and many investment firms and IT solution vendors have been slow to embrace it. Cloud technology delivering on-demand, service based applications allows firms to deliver much higher levels of investment analysis, customer service, and ultimately profit by improving timely access to information at a much lower price point than previously possible”.