Worth The Investment: Improving Asset Management Research with a Modern RMS

Natalie McIntyre, George Liebscher, Sam Djurfeldt

The research process is one of the most important and influential functions of an asset manager. With increasingly sophisticated asset classes, investment strategies, and reporting requirements, the use of a Research Management System (RMS), the digital repository and core technology that supports managers to collate, collaborate, share, monitor, and report on their research, is becoming a critical technology for asset managers to generate more value and have greater control over their research processes.

It is no longer a question of whether a manager needs a clear strategy and approach for their research function. The question now is how to select an approach that suits the requirements of investment teams – driving collaboration and alpha generation whilst also leveraging technology to enable tracking and reporting on investments. Through this whitepaper, we will examine why sophisticated asset managers consider research to be their north star, and how they should assess their strategy and approach to enabling effective research management through a state-of-the-art RMS:

  • How have Research Management Systems evolved ? We identify four phases of evolution which have contributed to the evolution of the modern day RMS: [1] the building phase where the first research portals emerged, [2] the bundling phase with the first commercially available traditional RMS, [3] the unbundling phase when analysts gravitated to disparate new office applications, and [4] the great re-bundling phase where we are currently seeing the emergence of modern RMS vendors with best-in-class product capabilities.
  • What are typical drivers for change that cause managers to invest in a new RMS approach? We discuss the six main drivers that we notice when managers are looking to invest in their RMS. Namely, firms experience challenges navigating disparate data sources which often result in a limited path to scalability and missed opportunities. It is also common to see a lack of collaboration and data governance as well as issues responding to ESG and reporting requirements as drivers for investment in a new RMS approach.
  • What options are available to upgrade a RMS? We are frequently asked by our clients whether they should move from their in-house proprietary RMS solution to a purpose-built RMS from a third-party vendor. In this paper, we lay out the three most practical approaches for an asset manager: build, buy, or hybrid. As the RMS industry has matured, there are various vendor options for managers looking to buy an out-of-the-box RMS and implement it to suit their needs. However, the option remains to build in-house due to the flexibility and control over the roadmap and feature set. It is important to understand the opportunities and drawbacks of each option before deciding on the correct path forward for your investment teams.
  • How do you get started, practically? We have deep experience working on RMS implementation projects with our clients, so we offer up some guiding principles that our clients have used for continued success. We outline our ‘think big, start small, scale fast’ philosophy, the importance of fit-for-purpose configurability, and the value of interoperability with the broader managers tech and data ecosystem.

Read the whitepaper below to learn more:

About the Authors

Natalie McIntyre
Director, Head of Technology Services NA

Natalie is an Associate Director, Management Committee Executive and Co-Head of Data Science and Analytics in North America. Natalie has led large scale transformation programs and advised clients on business strategy, distribution management, investment operations and M&A due diligence for both retail and institutional asset managers. Most recently Natalie has been on the forefront of leveraging Data Science to drive digital sales and generate investment alpha. Prior to joining Alpha, Natalie managed distribution operations and business intelligence at Bridgewater Associates.

George Liebscher
Senior Manager

George is an experienced Senior Manager in Alpha's London office with a range of experience across asset management, including leading data strategy, selection and implementation initiatives as well as supporting large-scale Front Office transformations. Most recently, George led the selection and implementation of a Research Management System for a mid-sized UK asset manager.

Sam Djurfeldt

Sam is a Consultant in Alpha's Toronto office with experience supporting asset and wealth managers with technology-led transformations with a particular focus on Research Management Systems. Most recently, Sam led efforts at a large asset manager to build an in-house proprietary Research Management System for use across public and private investment teams.