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Overcoming market complexity with a single integrated solution

Moving to one integrated platform enables Unigestion to realize award-winning growth strategy
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Hear Alanh Husson, Director, Chief Project Officer, Unigestion, talk about how moving to a single integrated system has enabled the company to realize its growth strategy.

Read this article and learn about:

  • Why operating on a single system enables you to tackle complexity
  • How having a unique IBOR ensures reliable data in the front office
  • Aligning processes and reducing system complexity to shorten time to market
  • Reducing cost and controlling operational risk with an integrated solution
 Picture of Martin 
Régis Martin, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Unigestion
 Alanh Husson Author photo 
Alanh Husson, Director, Chief Project Officer, Unigestion

The ability to effectively deal with market complexity – including new regulation, increasing data requirements, and the emergence of new instruments – is a requirement if you want to stay competitive. At Unigestion, we decided to have all these capabilities in one system.

Unigestion is a medium-sized, dynamic, innovative firm. Our single focus is to offer robust, tailor-made investment solutions to a limited number of sophisticated institutions and families. The stability of this client base allows for a long-term vision, and to be able to meet our growth targets, we focus on the following four main drivers: 

  • Innovation
  • Scalability
  • Flexibility
  • Operational risk management

The decision to move to a single system

In 2012, we could see that it was becoming increasingly difficult to meet our targets as these growth drivers were heavily impeded by a scattered systems landscape entailing multiple process flows, data sources, and investment books of records (IBORs). As a result, we were spending considerable resources on reconciliation, worrying about the trustworthiness of our data, and lacking the sufficient scalability and flexibility to offer a competitive time-to-market when faced with new client demands.

In that way, you could say that we had no choice in terms of changing our operational setup. We needed to become more robust and to be able to focus on our core business. After a thorough due diligence process, we decided to put everything into one system to get better quality of data, increase operational risk management capabilities, align our processes, and reduce our costs.

The successful implementation of a single integrated investment management solution, SimCorp Dimension, with a unique IBOR at its core, has enabled Unigestion to consolidate its system landscape by decommissioning more than ten legacy tools and systems. 

The successful implementation of a single integrated investment management solution, SimCorp Dimension, with a unique IBOR at its core, has enabled Unigestion to consolidate its system landscape by decommissioning more than ten legacy tools and systems.Alanh Husson, Director, Chief Project Officer, Unigestion

 

The benefits of a unique IBOR

We now have a unique IBOR, which gives us a big consistency in our investment data across the company, which is really important to us. Secondly, it improves our ability to onboard new data sources – market data, counterparty data, etc. – as there is only one unique recipient, the IBOR.

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.

A central IBOR allows everybody using the system to benefit from one central data repository, which is key, especially in the front office. 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.Alanh Husson, Director, Chief Project Officer, Unigestion

 

The benefits of one single system

Improved data management

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 we in August 2015 successfully completed the implementation of one single front-to-back asset management platform, it allowed the company to merge, centralize, and standardize data:

  • from 4 legacy in-house IBORs into a single IBOR through the new system’s IBOR Manager component
  • from 10+ stand-alone market databases into one Market Data Manager component
  • from 6 stand-alone in-house reconciliation tools into one Reconciliation Manager component

Better support of regulatory requirements

As financial authorities want to ensure stability and integrity in the financial system, we constantly see increased regulations. To ensure a better support of growing regulatory requirements, Unigestion took the decision to streamline its compliance process by embedding it in a full STP process. The objective was to fully integrate a ‘front-to-execution’ (Investment Managers to Traders) chain, aimed at ensuring the integrity of communication in the front office domain.

We realized this ambition by implementing SimCorp’s Front Office Suite, comprised of the three role-based components for portfolio management, order management, and compliance. To ensure we are always up-to-date on new regulatory requirements, we also subscribe to regulatory services, as monitoring regulatory constraints us not part of our core business. 

Meeting increased reporting demands              

As our investors want to be an active part of their investment’s life, we leverage our system’s Client Communications Manager component, which allows us to better centralize, standardize, and automate our client reporting capabilities. This has replaced a manual legacy reporting workflow with one that is both scalable and capable of supporting multiple data sources in addition to our system.

Currently, we are about to implement a Web Reporter component, which will provide both internal and external clients with an online portal to better serve their ever-growing reporting needs.

In addition, the use of our new end-to-end reporting solution has allowed our IT department to continue supporting the also constantly expanding reporting needs of our business unit.

Fulfilling stronger transparency requirements

As investors demand to know how and at what cost their returns are achieved, we benefit from our system’s ability to let us set up client portfolios representing their investment into our funds. These asset portfolios allow Unigestion to track not only the subscription and redemptions of our investors, but also their management fees accrual and rebates. This setup mimics the register of Unigestion’s investors and allows us to produce gross and net client performance reports.

The ‘look through’ feature also provides more transparency on investor exposure and performance contribution. This increases the Client Relationship Management team’s ability to respond to ‘on-the-spot’ requests from clients.

Handling growing technology complexity

As we independently deploy different add-on solutions and stand-alone systems, our consolidated platform has enabled us to successfully decommission eight legacy systems and tools, as well as their associated databases. In addition, the decommissioning of an additional five systems is underway.

As we independently deploy different add-on solutions and stand-alone systems, our consolidated platform has enabled us to successfully decommission eight legacy systems and tools, as well as their associated databases. In addition, the decommissioning of an additional five systems is underway.Alanh Husson, Director, Chief Project Officer, Unigestion

 

Successfully managing the emergence of new instruments, asset classes, and portfolio strategies

We continuously add new asset classes and new portfolio strategies to chase yield from untraditional sources. Our system has allowed us to achieve an improved time-to-market when implementing a new strategy. Implementation can now be achieved within weeks, as opposed to months.

Concrete examples of this improvement can be seen in the fact that, at the time of the implementation of our new single system, Unigestion had just two strategies in place. Within a four months period post go-live, this had been successfully increased to five. The implementation of these new strategies included the introduction of credit derivatives, listed equity derivatives, equity swaps, and fixed income.

In addition, Unigestion has also been able to fully integrate, in a period of just three months, the acquisition of an external Hedge Fund manager. This challenge would not have been possible without a fully integrated system.

Unigestion SimCorp award 2016

Unigestion, a leading Swiss asset manager with USD 20bn in assets under management, was the winner of the SimCorp Award 2016. The award was presented earlier this year at SimCorp’s International User Community Meeting in Hamburg attended by more than 500 industry professionals. From the right: Régis Martin, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Unigestion, Alanh Husson, Director, Chief Project Officer, Unigestion, and Klaus Holse, CEO, SimCorp. 

 

One system for a complex world – a winning solution

Moving all our operations to a single integrated system has allow Unigestion to:

Significantly improve time-to-market when implementing new instruments, now achieved in a matter of weeks rather than months

Achieve more effective and value-adding data management capabilities achieved by merging ten stand-alone databases into a central data management solution

Eliminate a wide range of manual reporting workflows, now replaced with standardized and automated processes in a scalable solution that supports multiple data sources

Benefit from a new ‘look through’ feature for Unigestion’s clients, offering an instant overview of key figures, including accruals, redemptions.

Perform a smooth and rapid system integration of a hedge fund acquisition in February 2016

Overall, we see the seamlessly integrated, simplified system architecture as the long-term solution for operating efficiently in a market with increasing complexity and competition. It has resulted in more lean and efficient processes, has improved our capacity to cope with considerable volume, and helped boost our ability to meet our sophisticated clients’ needs.

About the authors

Régis Martin, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Unigestion

Régis Martin joined Unigestion in 1994, and has been CFO since 1999. He is a member of several Unigestion Group companies and investment funds Boards of Directors. Régis supervises the teams included in Unigestion’s Service Platform (IT & Logistics, Finance, Legal, Risk Management, Operations, Organisation & Project, Human Resources).

Alanh Husson, Director, Chief Project Officer, Unigestion

Alanh Husson joined Unigestion in 2009. After starting his career in 2002 at CDC-IXIS Capital, Alanh moved to Altran SI in 2004, before taking on another consultancy role at 3S, focusing on Index and Structured Investment lines at BNP Paribas Asset Management. In 2007, Alanh joined CSC Consulting, working for the Global Equity Derivatives division of Société Générale Corporate and Investment Banking. Alanh graduated in finance from the Institut Supérieur de Commerce in Paris and holds a degree in European Business Management from the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland.

About Unigestion

Unigestion’s single-minded focus is to offer robust, tailor-made investment solutions to a limited number of sophisticated institutions and families. The company has USD 20Bn of assets under management, 94% is 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.


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