Unigestion’s single-minded focus is to offer robust, tailor-made investment solutions to sophisticated institutions and a select number of families. However, the firm was facing a number of challenges caused by running a multitude of interconnected (legacy) systems.
As Unigestion’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Régis Martin, explains, “Working with an old multi-system structure is a challenge. It is difficult to get a clear understanding of the interconnection between the systems, as documentation is not always up-to-date. Furthermore, as several sources are providing the same information, it is hard to decide which one is the reference data source. Finally, reconciling data from several data models into one single data model is time-consuming and error-prone.” All these obstacles were making it hard for Unigestion to meet client demands for new asset class investment products at a competitive time-to-market.
The journey towards one single integrated solution
Unigestion had been working with a patchwork of applications as no one-system solution was able to meet all of the firm’s requirements when Unigestion first started its global asset management activities. Also, from a user perspective, a best-of-breed solution will always be the number-one choice when it comes to functionality requirements for a specific role. However, the drawbacks were significant, and as the operational challenges facing the company were increasing, the firm could not accept a status quo.
Fortunately, when Unigestion started to look for an alternative the investment management systems market had developed significantly. The solutions available had matured significantly and the firm no longer needed to depend on its in-house platform, which had become too risky, too costly, and too complex. For a dynamic, middle-sized company like Unigestion, allocating internal resources for running such a complex architecture, including middleware etc., was simply not be a sustainable solution.
After a thorough due-diligence process, Unigestion decided that a single integrated solution was the best compromise between the functional coverage achieved and operational requirements and implementation costs entailed. Furthermore, the selected platform from SimCorp offered the company a future-proof flexibility in terms of functional configuration coverage.
“The successful implementation of SimCorp Dimension, the single integrated investment management solution with a unique IBOR at its core, in August 2015 has enabled Unigestion to consolidate its system landscape by decommissioning more than ten legacy tools and systems,” explains Alanh Husson, Director and Chief Project Officer.
The successful implementation of SimCorp Dimension, the single integrated investment management solution with a unique IBOR at its core, in August 2015 has enabled Unigestion to consolidate its system landscape by decommissioning more than ten legacy tools and systems.
Benefits achieved from a simpler IT setup
According to Alanh Husson, Director and Chief Project Officer at Unigestion, a simpler IT setup has had a significant and positive impact on the company’s operating model. “With SimCorp Dimension, we have achieved a much simpler maintenance process that requires far less internal skills. The upgrade process alone is much less demanding as we only need to upgrade one system,” says Mr. Husson, who adds: “external reconciliation tools are no longer required as the communication between different systems is no longer a concern.”
A more compact and homogeneous infrastructure has also allowed Unigestion to focus on its core business and enabled it to focus resources on the most value-added activities, such as being able to offer a wider scope of asset-class investment and at a better time-to-market.
Meeting the challenges of a complex world with one system
Like other leading global asset managers, Unigestion has experienced that the market is becoming increasingly complex in terms of increasing data, regulation, reporting requirements, and emergence of new instruments.
Unigestion was faced with having to manage an increasing amount of data due to a rising diversity of markets and a growing number of systems and data sources applied. When the company in August 2015 successfully completed the implementation of one single front-to-back asset management platform, Unigestion was able to merge, centralize, and standardize data.
“A central IBOR allows everybody using the system to benefit from one central data repository, which is key, especially in the front office. Furthermore, there is no longer the need for reconciliation that we had before due to several IBORs. Now, we have only one version of the truth,” explains Alanh Husson, Director and Chief Project Officer, Unigestion.
A central IBOR allows everybody using the system to benefit from one central data repository, which is key, especially in the front office. Furthermore, there is no longer the need for reconciliation that we had before due to several IBORs. Now, we have only one version of the truth.
When it comes to the challenges of new mechanisms, the flexibility offered by SimCorp Dimension has enabled Unigestion to implement new investment strategies with a short and competitive time-to-market. “As an example, a long short strategy was designed and implemented in two months with the inclusion of new instruments type. This wouldn’t have been possible with our legacy platform,” states Mr. Husson. “With a single asset management platform, a new instrument that is set up for one investment line is automatically available for all the other ones. What’s more, the new instrument automatically includes all the aspect of its lifecycle (position holding, compliance, order execution, etc.),” he adds.
"SimCorp Dimension has enabled Unigestion to centralize all of its reporting, which is based on a common database. For the regular reporting templates, the generation is fully automated and does not require IT resources. The process has been fully transferred to the business,” explains Alanh Husson, Director and Chief Project Officer, Unigestion
Realizing the growth strategy of a dynamic, innovative firm
To meet its growth targets, Unigestion focuses on four main drivers:
- Operational risk control
By moving all of its operation to SimCorp Dimension as the operating platform, Unigestion has been able to support all these drivers. “Scalability is key for sustainable growth; so increasing AUM and expanding our funds must not be a burden,” says Régis Martin. He adds, “The automation of our operational process has improved our ability to manage more transactions without an increase in costs, and the capacity to manage high volumes of data allows for the swift onboarding of various data sources and counterparties.”
Similarly, the easy replication of existing set-ups facilitates innovative new portfolio launches with a competitive time-to-market. To stay competitive, Unigestion needs to be flexible enough to adapt as quickly as its clients adjust to changing market environments. Leveraging market best practice embedded in SimCorp Dimension gives us the opportunity to activate modules or features as activity changes. Furthermore, the system configuration offered in SimCorp Dimension contains sufficient flexibility to change strategies to clients’ needs in a short period of time. As an example, the flexibility of the system allowed Unigestion to integrate new business acquisitions in about two months by leveraging the existing set-up.
When addressing operational risk management in a growth context, the increase of business volumes and changes in activity lead to an increase of the operational risk that needs to be contained. Here, the unique IBOR offered by SimCorp Dimension ensures Unigestion has consistency of data across the board and guarantees a shared view of investments. Furthermore, introducing STP with SimCorp Dimension has enabled the company to decrease operational risk significantly. Likewise, the fully integrated compliance workflow improves order controls and spots human errors before they impact positions.
Overall, Unigestion is confident that replacing the firm’s legacy systems with a single platform has future-proofed the company’s growth strategy by offering the flexibility and scalability that is required to meet the challenges of a complex world.
Name: Unigestion SA
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
Industry: Asset Management
Unigestion’s single-minded focus is to offer robust, tailor-made investment solutions to a select number of sophisticated institutions and families. The company has EUR 17.2bn of assets under management, 94% are managed on behalf of more than 270 institutional investors and 6% on behalf of a few high-net-worth families. The stability of this client base allows for a long-term vision.
Unigestion is headquartered in Geneva and has offices in major financial centers around the world. This international presence ensures both comprehensive local market research and a good understanding of the local dynamics, which govern the company’s clients’ activities and requirements.