Charity Fund Peer Group Universe Launched by Teknometry and the Charity Investors’ Group

Investment performance specialists Teknometry, today announced the launch of the Teknometry CIG Charity Fund Universe, which has been established in conjunction with the Charity Investors’ Group (CIG).

The Teknometry CIG Charity Fund Universe has been created to provide a representative peer group for the analysis of UK charity investment performance, initially in the multi-asset sector.

The universe has nine founding participant investment management firms that have provided five years of data on their balanced portfolios in order to establish the universe with a credible history from the launch. The five year history focused on total net return data and going forward Teknometry will be expanding the analysis to included asset allocation and yield data.

At the 30th June 2017 the Teknometry CIG Charity Universe was comprised of 1,352 portfolios representing over £14.6bn of UK charity fund assets.

The average UK charity fund returns for periods ending 30th June 2017 are shown in the table below.

Last 3 Months %Last 6 Months %Last 9 Months %Last 12 Months %
1.354.887.8414.79

“The Teknometry CIG Charity Fund Universe is now the most representative peer group sample of balanced charity investment portfolios in the UK and will provide much-needed insight into the sector. Our aim is to expand the universe in terms of sample size and analysis over the coming months in order to provide further insight. We are grateful to the CIG and the founding participants for supporting this initiative, which has been a year in the making.”

Mick Brant, Managing Director, Teknometry

“I am delighted that Charity Investors Group members have come together to share their investment data. The resulting peer group will be a really useful comparator for charity investors, representing around 15% of all invested UK charitable assets.”

Kate Rogers, Chair of the Charity Investors’ Group

Newsletter Summer 2016

Company and Industry News and Events

Cutter Research

Teknometry took part in a recent Cutter Research exercise, which was looking at performance, attribution and risk systems.

The last time this research was done was around 7 years ago and a great deal changed in this market since then. Cutter Research topics are driven by their members and this is clearly an indication of renewed interest in this area, as more firms are looking to replacing their existing systems. The results of the research are not publicly available, but were presented to members at an event in the City last month, where Teknometry was in attendance with a stand in the exhibition area.

PMAR Europe

PMAR Europe will be held on 15-16 June this year and promises a superb agenda covering all the regular topics in the exciting PMAR format.

Subjects include Alternatives, Risk, Index data and a number of Attribution themes. The speakers at PMAR are always first rate and we’d highly recommend attendance at this year’s conference.

For further information visit www.spauldinggrp.com/pmar-europe/

WM Performance Service

Following The WM Company’s decision to wind down some of their stand-alone performance measurement and reporting services we have seen an increase in the number of enquiries, particularly from clients of their Charity service.

As the Teknometry service is cloud-based, we are able to offer cost-effective performance measurement solutions to firms that may only have had a small number of portfolios on WM’s service. If your firm is looking to replace some of these services, please contact us to arrange a demo.

Performance vendor Teknometry launches specialist GIPS system

Teknometry, the on-demand performance analysis software provider for investment managers, today announces the launch of TekGAM, a multi-currency composite solution that simplifies the challenges of GIPS compliance.

GIPS (Global Investment Performance Standards) are universal, voluntary standards used by investment managers for quantifying and presenting investment performance. A type of ‘investment passport’ that involves a monthly reporting cycle, GIPS creates a level playing field for all firms, promotes comparability and gives current and potential clients more confidence in the integrity of the performance presentations.

TekGAM has been designed as a standalone GIPS solution with the facility to import calculated performance data. It can, however, also be integrated with Teknometry’s TekPAR system to provide a complete solution for the performance function. A cloud-based system, TekGAM is inexpensive, easy to use and clearly shows all of an investment manager’s GIPS information, data omissions and task priorities.

“Our aim is to make the entire GIPS process as painless as possible. We will transfer the data from your existing performance system into Teknometry to streamline your implementation and even help with your GIPS questions.”

Mick Brant, Managing Director, Teknometry

The launch of TekGAM follows the arrival in 2014 of Anthony Howland, the co-founder of GIPS software specialist Performa Consultants. Howland is now a shareholder and director at Teknometry and has been key to the development of the new functionality.

“GIPS compliance is usually a bolt-on to a standard performance measurement platform. This means that the user interface is not set up for the GIPS practitioner, so it takes longer to find and interact with the relevant composites data. A standalone system will make life much easier for a GIPS specialist. The commercial model of ‘unlimited users, unlimited locations’ should also bring some much needed disruption to the sector.”

Steve Young, CEO of Citisoft PLC, the global investment management consulting firm

Award winning performance vendor Teknometry enlists Howland

Teknometry, the on-demand performance analysis software provider for investment managers, announces today that it has signed up buy-side software entrepreneur Anthony Howland as director.

Anthony Howland has held senior positions in numerous software firms, including Milestone Group and BI-SAM Technologies S.A. He co-founded GIPS (Global Investment Performance Standards) compliance vendor Performa Consultants in 1999 and successfully sold the company to StatPro Group in 2008.”

“Anthony has been working with us since the start of the year and has now joined Teknometry as a shareholder and director. Anthony has been instrumental in some major product developments that will be released in the autumn. We are delighted to have such a respected industry expert on board.”

Mick Brant, Managing Director, Teknometry

Howland’s arrival follows a successful twelve months for Teknometry, receiving a Special Commendation at the Funds Europe Awards in November 2013 in the ‘Middle Office’ category and winning the Best Cloud Migration Project category at the UK Cloud Awards 2014 for its deployment at Royal London Asset Management.

“The asset management community needs more small, nimble vendors who can carve out a niche and rapidly respond to client needs. Technology firms who provide investment managers with the ability to adapt their business models to maximise immediate business opportunities. Anthony Howland and Mick Brant are both seasoned entrepreneurs with a track record of delivery. They understand the kind of innovation that asset managers are crying out for. Teknometry is creating a very interesting proposition and I will watch their development with great interest.”

Steve Young, CEO of Citisoft PLC, the global investment management consulting firm

30 Year Anniversary

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”.

Teknometry wins UK Cloud Award for Royal London Asset Management migration

Teknometry, the on-demand performance analysis software provider for asset managers, announces today that it has won the Best Cloud Migration Project category at the UK Cloud Awards 2014 for its deployment at Royal London Asset Management (RLAM).

The inaugural awards (run by Cloud Industry Forum, Cloud Pro and techUK), were presented on 26 February, the first day of Cloud Expo, before 250 guests at London’s City Hall.

Teknometry’s managing director Mick Brant received the trophy from keynote speaker; sponsor Outsourcery’s joint-CEO and BBC ‘dragon’, Piers Linney.

“We are delighted to have received this accolade. It bears testimony to our innovative approach, the foresight of Royal London Asset Management in seeing the benefits of a cloud solution and, as an early adopter, the faith they had in us.”

Mick Brant, Managing Director, Teknometry

This success follows Teknometry receiving a Special Commendation at the Funds Europe Awards in November 2013, in the ‘European Operations & Technology Providers of the Year – Middle Office’ category.

The UK Cloud award sought to recognise a project that best exemplified the benefits that can be gained from migration to a cloud service from a traditional delivery model, showing best practice in how to mitigate data and service loss and demonstrating material value from the successful delivery of the project. Royal London Asset Management went live in April 2013.

“Teknometry offers an innovative product with a unique proposition and we congratulate the team on winning this award. Teknometry was able to integrate existing data and workflows in a very short timeframe, with very little procedural change. This made migration relatively pain-free. The system went live seamlessly at quarter end and met or exceeded all of our reporting deadlines. This really was the acid test.”

Rakesh Kumar, RLAM’s Head of Fund Operations and Performance Measurement

The last hurdle for cloud-based software?

It is no secret that the costs of cloud-based software applications have reduced considerably over recent years. Furthermore, developments in cloud service provider security are starting to allay the concerns of investment technology heads and regulators to the extent that cloud solutions now present a powerful message that in these harsh economic times can no longer be ignored writes Mick Brant, CEO of Teknometry.

Despite major advances in recent years, fears over cloud-based performance measurement and other applications persist. Even some Heads of Technology at major institutions quake at the mere mention of the ‘c-word’. How much of this fear is generated by a lack of understanding, ‘empire protection’ or genuine concerns is difficult to estimate. Yet the impact of moving applications to the cloud on the total cost of ownership is immense, in terms of the reduction in licence fees, hardware costs and operating costs such as administration, back up and other housekeeping functions.

Cutting costs and gaining operational efficiencies
For example, a recent CEB TowerGroup report cited increasing worries around meeting performance and returns objectives. Asset managers face intensifying pressures on pricing, shifting investor preferences, regulatory burdens and an increasingly sophisticated fund landscape. By shifting their technology deployments to the cloud, CEB TowerGroup believes that firms will cut costs and gain operational efficiencies. It also believes that the industry will increasingly favour an integrated analytics platform over discrete applications for performance, attribution, risk, and investment decision support.

For example, today’s cloud-based performance applications provide sophisticated query and visualisation tools to monitor and analyse performance, attribution and risk on an integrated platform. Additionally, in a multi-tenanted format, cloud-based analytics solutions offer rapid deployment and subsequent upgrades while maintaining customer isolation. These solutions are often also able to utilise existing data sources and workflows with very little procedural change, to facilitate migration measured in weeks, rather than months.

Sharing of resources
Furthermore, cloud-based software can allow resources to be shared across the platform by employing resource-scheduling technology that scales dynamically as clients sign on to their own secure realm. This can facilitate a ‘Pay As You Grow’ pricing model based on volumes and the services used, rather than a traditional software licence model, making the service attractive to a broader range of investment organisations.

The key is a secure and flexible cloud platform that offers resource allocation services that the service provider can leverage in the application architecture to allow the dynamic allocation of processing and storage resources based on the number of active users and tasks. A good example is Microsoft’s Azure cloud service, which also offers software providers other benefits such as in-built geo-replication of data and switching in the event of failure. This type of capability has attracted a great number of niche software providers to the investment management industry for good reason: the technology costs are minimal compared to on-site installations.

Security remains a question mark
Security, whether in the cloud or on-site, is always a concern for investment management firms. Contractual and regulatory obligations place a duty of care in relation to client data and security, control, access and auditability have been considered much easier to manage in an on-site installation. Cloud service providers have responded by improving security, and engaging with the regulators to better understand and address these issues.

For example, Azure‘s geographically dispersed data centres comply with key industry-standard procedures for security and resilience, which are independently audited. In addition, many cloud-based applications have an additional layer of security and the providers will regularly have their own vulnerability tests carried out.

Private cloud, where companies offer remote services to their clients via their own data centres, is commonplace in large financial institutions. The rationale is that you get all the scalability and metering benefits of a public cloud service without ceding control and security to a service provider.

However, this can be a costly solution as it is unlikely to attract the economies of scale that the global cloud providers can offer or the cost saving from dynamic resource allocation. There are also no guarantees that a private cloud installation will be any more secure, as high profile security breaches at companies such as Sony have highlighted.

Conclusion
More and more investment management firms are looking at cloud technology to achieve scale, cut costs and improve time to market. While many industry professionals would agree that cloud computing is gaining traction in investment management firms, there is still much debate as to whether it will ever be wholeheartedly embraced. Yet if security is the final hurdle and investment management margins remain under pressure, few would argue with the fact that cloud technology now presents a compelling proposition for investment firms, leaving no doubt that cloud-based applications are here to stay.

The above article first appeared in Global Banking & Finance Review on 12th January 2014.

Getting a better handle on investment performance through the cloud

Setting a stage for the performance: how wealth managers can achieve business advantage through cloud-based performance software.

With increasing client concern over investment strategy and rising levels of due diligence, wealth managers need to be continually monitoring performance at client, portfolio and even holding level. Yet the cost of traditional installed performance and attribution applications for many small and medium-sized firms is prohibitively expensive, running into hundreds of thousands of pounds for implementation costs alone. With cloud-based systems, there is now a cost effective method for providing this assurance to investors, writes Mick Brant, MD of Teknometry.

Responding to more demanding investors
The problem for investors is that there is no accepted standard for performance reporting among wealth managers and some firms have been getting away with the bare minimum for a long time. The financial crisis changed all of that forever and clients are now becoming far more demanding in terms of their understanding of their portfolios’ performance and risk. Some commentators suggest that investors are demanding real-time mobile apps and while I am sure that this is true for a small proportion, I am not convinced that this need is commonplace.

What I am certain of, however, is that investors are asking for more detail on how their portfolio is performing, where that performance has come from (‘attribution’) and how the risk is being managed. This is particularly the case in the UHNW market, where the managers have discretionary portfolios, as opposed to the high-end IFA that only has a small number of holdings in several unitised vehicles.

Cloud providing an opportunity for smaller firms
Despite this growing need for detailed performance figures, cost is still a major factor for wealth managers when it comes to IT spend. For a firm managing five hundred portfolios, requiring full performance and attribution functionality (particularly where that functionality requires multiple attribution models), the COO could be looking hundreds of thousand pounds in licence fees alone. In addition, there can be significant upfront implementation costs and ongoing operational running costs.

On the other hand, cloud technology enables the wealth manager access to this capability on a service, pay-as-you-go, per portfolio basis, where the annual charge for a portfolio is as low as a few hundred pounds. Many wealth managers currently pay that amount for a WebEx facility without a second thought.

The cost of cloud-based performance solutions is service and volume based, so adding more users may not increase the running cost – creating an opportunity to provide wider internal, or even external, access to performance analysis tools, dashboards and reports.

Improving the monitoring of investment strategies
Forward-thinking wealth managers are also deriving other business benefits from cloud-based performance systems. One such advantage is the ability to enable the front office to see the impact that their transactions have had on performance, using the same tools across the front to back office by providing different views of the portfolios they manage.

The front office requirement is different to client reporting: whereas client reporting is more concerned with periodic, investment book of records (IBOR) style of analysis, the front office wants to know if a particular investment strategy is working – almost in real-time, not just at the end of the reporting period. If the firm can supply the trading data in a timely fashion then the front office can have access to performance and risk analysis based on portfolios, strategies or indeed any other breakdown. Any concerns about performance information being based on unreconciled accounting and trading data can be mitigated by using query tools that can distinguish between this data and locked data.

The net result is that the portfolio manager can keep tabs on how his strategy is delivering, without having to wait weeks for reporting information or maintaining their own book in spreadsheets.

Operational risk that you can now afford to avoid
Smaller wealth managers that don’t have the budget to spend significant sums on a performance system often have relatively small holdings and limited numbers of portfolios. These firms may argue that they can handle the performance measurement function themselves, through the manual manipulation of a multitude of spreadsheets or internally developed applications. The problem with this theory is that there is a significant cost of maintenance. When even a relatively minor change is made, that change has to cascade through multiple spreadsheets or applications – taking valuable time and increasing the likelihood of human error.

Another consideration for wealth managers is the operational risk associated with having one or two individuals that know the spreadsheets and applications. Staff leaving can result in the firm having a mission critical application grinding to a halt. Now, when you compare those risks against a high-end installed platform, it is easier to convince yourself that those risks are worth bearing. When you compare it to a low cost, constantly updated, secure piece of technology with multiple users that is being constantly developed and maintained, it’s a risk that is harder to justify.

Setting the scene
Offering timely, detailed information to investors; improving the monitoring of investment strategies; and the reduction of operational risk provides cloud-based performance measurement systems with a compelling business case, one that is attracting the attention of large established wealth managers and small boutiques alike. The stage is set for those firms looking for a new source of competitive advantage.

The above article first appeared in WealthBriefing on 15th August 2013

Teknometry receives Special Commendation at Funds Europe awards

Teknometry, the on-demand performance analysis software provider for asset managers’ middle office, announces today that it has received a Special Commendation at the Funds Europe Awards 2013 for its performance and attribution platform. The commendation, within the category ‘European Operations & Technology Providers of the Year – Middle Office’, was received at the Tower of London on 28 November.

After more than two years in development, Teknometry’s software was launched to market in the second quarter of 2013. This followed contracts being signed with two prestigious institutions, Royal London Asset Management (RLAM) and Brewin Dolphin, both of which went live in April 2013.

“We are thrilled to have received this Special Commendation. It bears testimony to the innovative approach we have taken and the faith that our clients have had in us. We have, in effect, been voted the most innovative performance and attribution system provider by one of the UK’s most respected asset management periodicals.”

Mick Brant, Managing Director, Teknometry

Teknometry employs unique resource scheduling technology that scales dynamically as clients sign on to their own secure realm. The ‘Pay As You Grow’ pricing model is based on volumes and the services used, rather than a traditional software licence model, making the service attractive to a broader range of investment organisations.

“Teknometry offers an innovative product with a unique proposition and we congratulate the team on their Special Commendation. RLAM was an early adopter and this award helps to validate our decision to select Teknometry as our provider.”

Rakesh Kumar, RLAM’s Head of Fund Operations and Performance Measurement