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Digital Readiness in the Wealth Management & Financial Planning Sector 2020
The third year of Alpha’s Digital Readiness Survey provides a unique barometer of how far the industry is progressing with its Digital Transformation journey. Client expectations are still outpacing wealth firms’ digital capabilities, despite this being recognised as a top priority.
Founders Exiting & Succession Planning for Private Equity Firms
The prospect of founding partners in Private Equity firms moving on poses a number of potential challenges and firms will need to manage these through careful succession planning. Conversely, such a major transition also provides firms with a great opportunity to take stock, review their operating models, and re-evaluate their priorities going forward.
A Quick COVID Freeze Will Soon Thaw as the Underlying Drivers for M&A Persist in the Asset Management Industry
The 2020 rollercoaster rolls on for asset managers, with record highs and dramatic falls for financial markets; and we are now emerging from the crisis and firms are beginning to plan again for the long-term. As the world slowly returns to the “new normal”, these firms should do so with deal opportunities higher-up the agenda. Rob Owen discusses the post-COVID thaw in M&A.
Enterprise Technology: The silver bullet in a crisis?
Throughout the COVID crisis, Asset Managers have distinguished themselves by their readiness to adapt to unforeseen operating conditions. Alpha’s Investments practice asks whether the move to remote working has changed the industry’s views on Enterprise Technology.
The UK Stewardship Code 2020: Are you prepared for a major step up?
Alpha’s ESG SMEs discuss their key observations of the changes made in the UK Stewardship Code 2020, and what Managers should do to ensure they can meet these new and increased expectations
Client Portals: Are They Worth the Investment?
Are client portals worth it? In our view, this question is more nuanced than before and is no longer a binary ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Sam Large and Mark Webb unpack the decisions facing asset managers.
Hybrid Advice: Risk & Compliance
The growing pressure on advice firms to consider how best to use digital within their operating models is not new. Efforts to attract the mass market, expectations of younger investors and the need to reduce costs have all formed pressures to date. This article is the final piece in a series of three articles on Hybrid Advice during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Alpha FMC hires Jill May as a Non-Executive Director
Alpha FMC is pleased to announce that Jill May will be appointed as an Independent Non-Executive Director of the Company with effect from 1 July 2020. On appointment, Jill will join the Nomination, Audit and Risk and Remuneration Committees.
Wealth CRM Technology: From Cost to Benefit
Every good wealth manager prides themselves on building proactive, trusted client relationships. But when fees are compressed, and prioritisation is required, advisors can often find themselves wondering: which are the relationships and conversations that will yield the greatest returns?
Transitioning to the New Norm
The current pandemic has revealed several weak points within the financial industry and has forced market leaders to revisit their top priorities. The financial sector may not operate the same as it did before COVID-19, and we should use this challenge to forge the new norm and set the course for the years to come.
The Leading Asset Managers are focusing on Strategic Scale ahead of Cost Reduction
Asset Managers are seeing their revenues tighten due to competition, market volatility, regulation and client demands; all of which erodes margin. To grow and achieve scale, many are now focusing on ways to maximise their unique selling point and leverage the value it brings to clients.
Hybrid Advice: Productivity
The growing pressure on advice firms to consider how best to use digital within their operating models is not new. Efforts to attract the mass market, expectations of younger investors and the need to reduce costs have all formed pressures to date. This article is the first in three on Hybrid Advice during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Future of Value Assessment and Product Governance
Many UK Authorised Fund Managers (AFMs) have now completed their first ever Assessments of Value (AoV). Asset managers are now considering how to streamline future work and efficiently integrate it with wider Product Governance. Speak to our experts here at Alpha to find out more.
Alpha Digital Readiness Survey 2020
Digital Transformation is a key theme which links various factors currently driving change in Asset Management. The third year of Alpha’s Digital Readiness Survey provides a unique barometer of how far the Asset Management industry is progressing with its Digital Transformation journey. Speak to our experts here at Alpha to find out more.
The ESG Regulatory Landscape: Are you ready to comply and are you prepared to compete?
Alpha’s ESG SMEs discuss the key themes of ESG regulation and ask if Asset Managers are ready to meet the new, elevated standards coming into place across the industry.
Hedge Funds See 300% Growth in Digital Client Engagement
The COVID-19-induced lockdown has been the catalyst for an unprecedented spike in the adoption of digital channels by investors, including fund subscription solutions and the use of investor portals. Hedge funds seeking ‘Operational Alpha’ will ride this wave to higher net flows and revenue.
From Manufacturing to Mining: Asset Management Data Strategies Reach for ‘Knowledge Alpha’
Our Data Operations Survey explored how far asset managers have come in establishing foundations for data management, across both technology infrastructure and governance. In total, 33 asset managers participated from Europe and the US including 11 firms with headquarters in the UK. This article presents our key findings and the main themes from the research.
Fund Ranges & Responsible Investing in 2020: What you need to know to stay ahead
The Responsible Investing product landscape is changing and firms should ensure they are well-prepared to tackle the challenges that this will bring. Alpha discuss four key facets of change within Responsible Investing revealed by the recently conducted 2020 Product Trends Survey
Product Trends in 2020
Alpha questioned 17 major asset management houses on what they believed the trends in Product would be in the coming year, our ‘Product Trends in 2020’ report details the findings.
Hybrid Advice: Operating Model
The growing pressure on advice firms to consider how best to use digital within their operating models is not new. Efforts to attract the mass market, expectations of younger investors and the need to reduce costs have all formed pressures to date. This article is the second in a series of three articles on Hybrid Advice during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Steps to Success: Embedding Agile Effectively in Investment Management
Alpha have developed a framework for the effective embedding of agile within the Investment Management industry. This ensures that the changes you want to make land well and are sustainable. One thing we have learnt is that “agile can be fragile”, so this approach is designed to deliver a transformation that can last and produce the right kind of benefits. Read on to learn more.
M&A in Unprecedented Times
Governments around the world are taking unprecedented emergency peacetime measures as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Whether bullish or bearish, the effect on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is likely to be profound. Speak to our experts here at Alpha to find out more.
Scale Up or Sink Fast: Opportunities for European Fund Management Companies
The ManCo industry has real potential for M&A activity. Our Alpha M&A SMEs across London and Luxembourg offices have shared where we see these opportunities arising for the ManCo industry and step through some best practices for evaluating them. See our latest report for a full review or get in touch with our experts here at Alpha.
COVID-19: Embracing a new way of working and understanding the lasting impact
COVID-19 thrust the Asset & Wealth Management industry into working remotely more quickly, extremely and fully than many of us thought possible just a few months ago. After a stressful few weeks for both leaders and employees experimenting with how to balance the COVID-19-related impacts on their personal and professional lives whilst working from home, many organisations are now successfully bedded into a remote way of life. Get in touch with our experts at Alpha to find out more.
Calculating Operating Cost Synergies
Operating cost synergies are a common deal driver. Yet the availability of information can often make them complex to calculate. In this piece, Alpha’s M&A SMEs set out some pointers on how to best approach establishing the overall cost reduction.
Remote Wellbeing: From Surviving to Thriving
Remote working, virtual meetings, and social distancing have become our ‘new normal’ during the unprecedented times under COVID-19. This has brought with it a myriad of challenges that companies are now trying to navigate without experience or best practice to guide them. Speak to our experts here at Alpha to find out more.
Operational Resilience – Regulation, Risk, and Recovery
Operational Resilience is firmly at the top of the Asset and Wealth Management agenda following recent events; however, this has been a developing ‘hot topic’ for the FCA over the past few years.
ESG and Responsible Investing in UK Wealth Management: Extensive Thought, Limited Action
Due to increasing client demand and upcoming regulatory changes, Alpha engaged a small group of UK Wealth Managers during Q1 2020 to explore how these firms were progressing their Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) and RI efforts. The findings indicate a wide spread of activity, but with only a small number who could be classified as having made good progress.
Delivering Business Intelligence to Executive Stakeholders
Wealth and Asset Managers have made significant improvements to both core business systems and the management of data and are now looking at ways to surface data in a way that provides meaningful and actionable insights to senior executives.
Technology and Remote Working
Technology will have been top of mind for many organisations and employees over the last month, as we all find ourselves navigating a new remote-working reality. Now more than ever, technology is pivotal in keeping us all connected and keeping the show on the road.
Rebates: Getting it Right. On Time. Every Time.
Rebates and commissions are commonplace in the asset management industry, but many firms find them costly, complex, and time-consuming to manage. With distributors now ranking managers on rebate servicing quality, the cost of errors is high.
Remote Working – Example Best Practices
Alpha recently published an article discussing the ‘new normal’ for organisations brought about by the COVID-19 global pandemic and called out four key areas of challenge. In recent weeks, Alpha has been working with clients and has gained a unique view of the most effective practices that allow businesses to continue and develop in these unprecedented times.
Alpha FMC hires Nick Dekker as Director
Alpha FMC (“Alpha”), the global leader in asset and wealth management consulting, today announces the hire of Nick Dekker, a well-respected industry distribution and risk expert. Nick joins Alpha as a Director, to lead the Distribution Operations proposition in the UK. Nick joins from KPMG, where he has spent a decade working within their Asset Management Consulting team, focusing on efficiency savings and risk reduction in Distribution and Operations functions.
FinTech in Illiquid Alternatives: Now is the Time to End Reliance on Excel
Alternative Investment firms are looking to improve their end to end operating model efficiency by formalising succession plans, better-integrating analytics, and making use of digital and big data tools. Our Alts team tell us more.
Alpha FMC hires Claire Wallace as Director
Alpha FMC further strengthens its growing Regulatory Compliance practice with the hire of Claire Wallace as Director.
Optimising Product Launches
The need to maintain a relevant product range is increasing the pressure on asset managers to make new launches a success. Alpha outline five main reasons why challenges in launching new products and mandates continue to be an industry problem.
ESG Data: Are you set up for success?
The ESG performance of firms has been increasingly tracked in recent years. Alpha’s SMEs examine some of the barriers to effective ESG data integration and outline some key considerations for success.
Women in Business – Best Practice Heatmap
Alpha’s Gender Equality Committee has been working on our ‘Women in Business – Best Practice Heatmap’; a ‘toolkit’ of initiatives to promote gender equality and non-discrimination against women in the workplace.
COVID-19: Collaboration in Isolation
Over the last few weeks, we have witnessed the rapid development of the COVID-19 crisis across the world. Alpha looks at some of the themes emerging through the day-to-day shuffle towards a “New Normal”.
Leadership in Agile: 6 Things to Get Right
Agile has promised to make organisations better able to cope with a constantly changing environment, and transform employee engagement, financial results and organisational longevity – but like all change, it needs committed leadership to succeed.
ESG: 8 Tips for Effective Communication
The importance of integrating ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) has unquestionably grown for investors. Alpha’s SMEs share why it is essential for Asset Managers to effectively communicate their strategy.
Enterprise Agility: Delivering Change for Asset & Wealth Managers
Our 2019 Digital Readiness Survey revealed that 91% of firms are exploring agile initiatives, yet only 5% consider themselves mature Agile Leaders. But what conclusions can we draw from these statistics?
Enterprise Agility: State of Play for 2020
In recent years, changes have swept through the financial services industry, requiring firms to think about how they operate. To adapt, firms have had to become more responsive and ‘agile’.
The Alpha Outlook 2020
Our industry is facing significant changes: the need to digitise, the need to respond to fee and margin pressure, and the changing needs and expectations of customers.
Wealth Management Transformation: An Open-Ecosystem Approach
The challenge for Wealth Managers today? Balancing the exciting pursuit of front-facing opportunities to enhance the client experience, while simultaneously addressing core legacy systems, culture and talent gaps.
Accountability and Conduct: The End of the Beginning
The Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR) is now live for all FCA-regulated firms in the UK. Is this the end of the journey? We don’t think so.
Value Assessment: What Next?
As asset managers conclude their Value Assessment design phase and start to move into implementation, many are starting to ask, ‘what next?’. Alpha’s SMEs discuss how to take the approach defined on paper and translate it into practice.
Alpha Joins The Panel of The Sutton Trust Pathways to Banking and Finance Conference 2019
2019 marks the second year that Alpha has joined the panel of the Sutton Trust’s annual ‘Pathways to Banking and Finance’ conference to inspire high-achieving young people from less advantaged backgrounds.
Pre-Deal M&A: Reinventing Operations Due Diligence
Due diligence of a Target is often limited to revenue and assets, with the cost base treated to cursory year-on-year trend analysis. Even when Operations and IT due diligence is commissioned, we believe the current approach misses three key areas.
Alpha acquires leading cloud SAAS business Obsidian Solutions Limited
Alpha strengthens product offering with acquisition of Obsidian, a leading cloud-based SaaS business.
Pricing in Wealth Management
Wealth Managers are now increasing their focus on customer growth and the exploration of operational efficiencies. Intrinsically linked with these themes is the subject of pricing.
Pre-Deal to Post-Merger: Key Opportunities for The Front Office in M&A
Having led some of the most complex end-to-end integrations in the industry, Alpha has identified several considerations which will help contribute to successful integration.
Alpha FMC launches dedicated Pensions and Retail Investments Practice
Alpha announces the launch of a dedicated Pensions and Retail Investments Practice. Bruce Davies and Dan Mahony have joined as Directors.
Alpha FMC hires Arnaud de Batz as a Director in the Paris Office
Alpha announces the appointment of Arnaud de Batz as a Director in their Paris Office. Arnaud has 25 years of experience in financial markets.
Celebrating One Year On
It has been over a year since the partnership with The Lucy Faithfull Foundation (LFF) formally concluded in January 2018 and we have been thrilled to look back and consider all that has been achieved in that time.
Strong Foundations: The Rise of ESG and Responsibility in Investing
89% of firms say they will be devoting additional resources to sustainable investing in the next 1-2 years. Alpha has identified three broad investment approaches that incorporate ESG and/or sustainability factors.
Alpha FMC hires Paul Tan as a Director to strengthen its offering in Singapore
Alpha announces the appointment of Paul Tan as a Director for its Asia Pacific regional team. Paul brings 15 years of experience to Alpha, having served global, regional and domestic financial institutions across Asia.
Content Management: How to Avoid the Content ‘Cul-de-Sac’
By thinking about published content as the sum of its parts and looking at documents as blocks of data on the page, you can take steps to better navigate the path ahead.
Digital in Wealth Management – Cutting Through the Hype
We have ridden the wave of hype around digital and are beginning to better understand how new technology and ways of working can be introduced to augment and improve customer experience, increase efficiency and drive profitability.
The State of Digital Readiness of the Asset Management Industry 2019
Digital Transformation is a key theme which links various factors currently driving change in Asset Management. This survey is designed to be a barometer of how far the industry is progressing with its digital transformation journey.
Alpha FMC hires Emma Haffenden to strengthen its benchmarking practice
Alpha announces the hire of Emma Haffenden, a well-respected industry benchmarking expert. Emma has joined as a Senior Manager to broaden the types of benchmarking that Alpha currently undertakes.
Alpha FMC acquires specialist consultancy Axxsys
Alpha has acquired specialist consultancy Axxsys – recognised industry leaders in Simcorp-related implementation and advisory support.
The Next Generation Private Equity Investor
Alpha’s SMEs look at the impact and opportunities of the ‘Next Generation’ of Private Equity investors, which includes family offices, retail investors and pension funds, as well as how Alpha can help utilise this growing market.
MiFID II Research Unbundling: a few miles down the road
In almost every asset class investment research plays an important role as a source of intelligence and guidance for investing. Recently, new European regulations in the form of MiFID II have changed a lot in this field.
Alpha launches dedicated ETF & Indexing Practice
Alpha strengthens market offering with dedicated ETF & Indexing Practice to respond to the growing significance of index funds and ETFs, and demand for consulting support from clients.
Happy Birthday MiFID II
MiFID II came into force just over one year ago, bringing over 30,000 pages of regulation with it. While asset and wealth managers achieved a great deal in preparation for go-live and throughout the year, it is fair to say the journey has just begun.
Dutch asset managers still in early stages of digital transformation
Research from Alpha FMC shows that Dutch firms see the benefits of digital, but lag behind other European asset managers in allocating resources. Alpha investigates the main barriers to becoming a digital innovator.
Alpha continues global expansion with new hire: Bastiaan Aalders
Alpha has strengthened its offering in Europe with a new Director: Bastiaan Aalders, who has been appointed to extend Alpha’s consulting service offering to Asset and Wealth Managers across the region.
Alpha launches dedicated FinTech & Innovation Practice
Alpha announces the formal launch of its new dedicated FinTech & Innovation Practice. Led by Director Olivia Vinden, the Practice will initially focus on four key themes: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Automation & Robotics, and FinTech Partnerships.
Buy-side Automation: Some Inspiration
Manual processing adds cost, risk and time. Not to mention it’s really boring – and your staff could be deployed to more high-value work. Here at Alpha we are helping clients with their automation objectives in a number of ways.
Make the Complex Simple: Performance Measurement, Attribution and Risk (PMAR)
The ability to understand the key drivers of performance and risk is fundamental to the investment management process – but calculating accurate value-add analytics can raise significant challenges for technology, data and process.
Client Experience and Digital Operating Model
A major global asset manager wanted to redesign their strategic governance and core Digital, Sales, Marketing & Client Services processes with the aim of improving the overall client experience, focusing sales & improving internal efficiencies.
Target Operating Model & Marketing Technology Assessment
Following merger activity, this global asset manager engaged Alpha to define the new target operating model for their Global Marketing function, focusing on becoming digital- and data-led.
Wealth Management: The Challenges of MiFID II Costs & Charges
For those firms that get it right, there is an opportunity to highlight competitive advantages, engage with your clients to discuss their other providers and possibilities for increased wallet share with new or further investment opportunities.
Client Data Maturity
Buzzwords such as AI, machine learning, blockchain and ‘big data’ are everywhere and are quickly attracting the attention of corporate investment. Data is transforming every industry and Asset Management is no different.
M&A: A Toolkit for Integration – Operations
Alpha have led some of the most complex operations integration programmes in the industry. Our experts share some of the essential toolkit that helps ensure that these programmes are run and completed successfully.
Technology and data are changing the Distribution organisation, giving Asset Managers valuable business awareness and client insight that is influencing Sales & Marketing activity and attributing to real growth in AUM.
Gender Equality in the Workplace
In May 2018, Alpha’s Gender Equality Committee ran a “Collaborating in the Workplace” survey designed by Dr Jill Armstrong, a Cambridge Fellow specialising in gender studies.
Wealth Management: Challenges Overview
Alpha’s Wealth Management experts summarise the key challenges Wealth Managers are currently facing, including pressured margins, regulations and changing clients. Find out how Alpha can help our Wealth Management clients.
Diversity & Inclusion Programme: Partnership with The Sutton Trust
Earlier this year, the Alpha Diversity & Inclusion programme formally launched its partnership with The Sutton Trust – a pioneering educational charity dedicated to improving social mobility and achieving equality of opportunity.
Advanced Business Intelligence in Asset Management Distribution
As the asset management industry faces tighter margins and an increasingly digital client landscape, effectively leveraging data has become crucial to remaining competitive.
System consolidation enables the asset manager of the future
Asset managers are increasingly seeking not just to reduce the cost of their systems, but also to maximise the value provided. Find out how effective system consolidation and intelligent op model design can enable the asset manager of the future.
Value for Money in Outsourcing
Ensuring value for money is an essential part of negotiating an outsourcing tariff. But how do you know if you are getting a ‘fair deal’, without going through a lengthy and labour-intensive RFP process?
The Problem with KPIs
Service KPIs form the basis of service reporting for most outsourced relationships. A good KPI set must be effective in identifying healthy (or unhealthy) functioning of the service – and this is sometimes trickier than it first appears.
Regulatory Reporting and Disclosures
Regulators across the globe expect increasing volumes of complex reporting to regulatory bodies and clients/investors. Find out how to achieve cost efficient compliance with strong governance and control.
Do you have a FinTech Strategy and is it any good?
There’s a lot in the news about fintech, but looking at the buy-side there’s not much evidence that it’s changing the way we work. Here at Alpha we have put together our ‘must haves’ of a good fintech strategy.
Fintech Strategy – laying the technology groundwork
Gone are the days of multi-year waterfall projects, overnight batch processing and on-prem customised installations. The technology stack of the modern firm will be based on cloud, APIs and microservices.
Senior Managers and Certification Regime
In October 2015, the government announced that its Senior Managers and Certification Regime would be extended to Investment Managers, Insurers and Consumer Credit firms. Alpha’s experts summarise the key considerations of SMCR.
Compliance Data Model: Asset Tree
The power of a structured compliance system data model design is often underestimated. Set-up correctly, it can be a source of quality and efficiency for Asset Managers Investment Compliance Monitoring and Coding programme.
Digital Transformation Top Priority for Asset Managers
The industry is shifting its focus to investing in customer experience via digital transformation, with 85% of surveyed Asset Managers saying that improved client engagement was a key benefit from digital transformation.