Management Advisory Engagements

Trading Lifecycle Solution Business Case

For this large national pension fund, we developed the business case for redesigning the end-to-end trading lifecycle and undertaking a solution search. We started by establishing with senior management the long-term business drivers, then analyzed the readiness of the fund’s current state solutions to react to those drivers, and finally, built consensus across a large stakeholder group to move into defining the architecture and selecting a solution. This led directly to the Trading Lifecycle Solution Definition engagement

Data Management Advisory for Outsourcing

We provided guidance to the Alternative Investments division of a global asset management company regarding strategies for how to manage data relating to assets, clients, and funds in an outsourced environment. This included advising on their engagement model with an existing middle office service provider and on the selection of potential additional providers for other asset classes.

Project Demand Management and Resource Allocation

One of the U.S.’s largest credit unions found itself with overwhelming demand for projects, leading to prioritization and human resource allocation challenges.  We worked with the senior executive in charge of operations and the project office to establish principles and protocols to conduct strategic planning, control the flow of work to operational and technology teams, and manage the allocation of staff to different types of activities.

Reduction of Technology Footprint

An asset management company that had experienced explosive growth around the globe was wrestling with the resultant multiplicity of applications serving similar functions across different products and geographies. This was leading to redundant support costs and the requirement to implement new functionality across multiple similar applications.

The company engaged us to analyze the application footprint in the organization, and to identify where multiple systems were serving essentially the same purpose. Then we identified the “strategic” application in the space, and built business cases for the decommissioning of some applications, whose functions were then to be subsumed into the strategic application. The result was a series of work initiation documents that were then submitted through the technology governance structure, with most of the projects completed in the next year.


Global Data Management Organization Design and Engagement Model

This firm’s data management function was suffering from a poor reputation, and they sought advice on how to best counteract that through improving their organization, aligning with their business customers, and updating their engagement model. We were retained to provide an independent outsider’s perspective on the issues and to recommend improvements. Our recommendations were subsequently adopted, leading to a highly professional global data management organization.


Securities Lending Strategic Project Review

The software development project we reviewed for this premier global fund manager was designed to position its securities lending business for growth and e-commerce.

The review included assessing the prospects of success for the project, which was well behind schedule and was consuming resources beyond the contracted amount; analyzing the underlying technology involved with the aim of placing it appropriately in the technology portfolio; advising the client about how to work with the vendor to complete the project; and assessing the risks and opportunities of working with this vendor again.

We interviewed personnel from the client and the vendor in the client’s American and European offices to analyze the project, and used publicly available as well as proprietary information, including press reports, technology think tank reports, and financial data, to assess the vendor and its technology offerings.


Global Technology Board

A major international fund management company wanted to establish an empowered board of managers and technologists from its offices around the world to manage the firm's technology portfolio. We developed the charter for the board, the operating guidelines, and definitions of the technology categories to be used. We helped lead the inaugural meeting of the board. The success of this project was demonstrated during a subsequent assignment, which had as part of its mandate to advise the board about a particular technology product being evaluated.

  • Because of the unbiased view we brought to this effort, we were able to
    brainstorm with the project sponsor -- the global head of Information Technology -- about his vision and the true mandate of the board, and
  • focus on developing effective operating guidelines within a constrained timeframe.


International Information Technology Management

We conducted a review of this top-tier asset manager’s Tokyo IT organization. Our review covered project management skills, key projects underway, alignment of initiatives and resources with local and global business objectives, resourcing levels, and management effectiveness. It was conducted via on-site interviews over a period of weeks with IT staff, business personnel, and senior management, and resulted in a detailed analysis of issues and a set of urgent recommendations for action on the part of the client, all of which have since been implemented.

Based on our experience with the Japanese asset management environment, we were able to provide the client with:

  • a clear and comprehensive exposition of IT issues in its Japan office, and
  • a set of specific recommendations that the client was able to act on quickly.

Our written report was accompanied by an oral presentation to senior IT and business management.


Database Management System Strategy

This firm’s database management system (DBMS) strategy had been called into question because of several third-party packages requiring the use of a product other than their standard. The chief technology officer engaged us to evaluate the field of choices (Sybase, Oracle, DB2, SQL Server) from a business perspective and to make recommendations regarding the client’s future strategy (i.e., we were not evaluating these products on the technical merits, but rather focusing on such attributes as the vendors’ market shares, their commitment to further developing the DBMS products, total cost of ownership, and appropriateness for enterprise-wide applications). We partnered with internal staff to create the evaluation model and perform the research, which culminated in a set of sound recommendations adopted by the client.