Given that we are now into the thick of the NFL season, I figured it was time to lift an idea from one of my favorite football columnists Peter King. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. For those of you that don't live, eat and breathe all things American football, there is a widely read column that comes out each Monday called the Monday Morning Quarterback, or MMQB. It is a must read for pro football fans, and usually consists of upwards of 5000 words covering everything from the previous weekends games to his beer of the week. Towards the tail end of each Monday's MMQB missive, Mr. King pens a section called "Ten Things I Think I Think", which I have stolen as the template for this blog. So without further ado, here is my version of Ten Things I Think I Think about the FinTech, Asset Management and Consulting space, with a few non-industry thoughts thrown in for good measure.
I think that we are seeing massive projects (especially in the Middle Office) with spiraling costs time and again in our industry. It is time for asset management firms and their partners (vendors and consulting firms) to treat their enterprise projects with increased transparency, and realize that major programs of work are expensive and lengthy endeavors. They are not for the faint of heart, so it's time to embrace the journey. Rome was not built in a day.
I think the vendor consolidation in our space over the past 3+ years has left the industry with precious few choices with which to entrust functions vital to their business – OMS, Portfolio Accounting, EDM, Middle Office Outsourcing and Client Reporting, to name a few, have all been impacted. I don't think this is a good thing.
I think that judging by the short-lists of vendors that espouse an "IBOR solution" that the industry is still in dire need of a definition or some level of commonality. We recently received a short-list compiled from an asset manager with supposed offerings from vendors traditionally associated with investment accounting, mutual fund processing, enterprise data management, order management and risk management. Distilling the list to pull the contenders from the pretenders becomes a task unto itself.
I think that we are seeing a number of firms that have eschewed "required" upgrades to their enterprise software applications paying the price in the form of invasive overhauls to their post-trade lifecycle systems and processes. This is certainly a pay now or pay (more) later scenario taking hold.
I think that it is high time that a prominent software vendor in our space takes the plunge and comes to the market with targeted solutions for ETF processing. ETF assets are now over $2 trillion, yet most firms are relying on service providers and vendor software that is not fit for purpose.
I think that most asset managers are drowning in a sea of data. 90% of the world's data has been created in the past three years, and yet Data Governance and proper oversight still lags in our industry. It is about creating a culture of data within our industry and it has to happen now.
I think that any vendor in our space that isn't investing aggressively in a managed service or ASP offering is a dinosaur. The days of installed software are indeed numbered.
I think that I've highlighted vendors, software and costs in several of the items above, but I've yet to mention the PEOPLE! As I've written in past blog installments, it really is all about the people in our industry, and the reason why I feel Citisoft is at the forefront of change. We painstakingly recruit and develop talent that is a cut above our competition and enable us to advise our clients on the proper path and execute upon critical change initiatives. We hire consultants that "have been there and done that", and will continue to do so!