Posted on February 13, 2023
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Culturally, there have been many who champion the hybrid working model, claiming better work-life balance for teams, more flexibility for specific roles and increased workforce productivity and motivation. All of these benefits rely heavily on digitised working models .
Firms in the alternative sector have experienced less change than some other professional sectors, as the rate of digitisation and reliance on data plus global travel and investor relations over many years means the average fund manager has had an ability to work remotely and securely for some time. This doesn’t mean however that their current operational set up is best of breed.
Navigate changing markets and accelerate growth
As we see the hybrid working environment take shape as a longer-term solution, managers should review their cloud based SaaS platforms and take stock of what is necessary and what functionality is available, and should consider reassessing their security posture and tracking its progress if hybrid is their model going forward. Although there are benefits to operating multiple data platforms, and it is likely firms have found themselves adding additional platforms or tools over time, it can be incredibly complicated from an operations and reporting perspective to manage this as firms will often receive multiple data sets, across different fund portfolios in various structures and formats leading to duplication, errors and inefficiencies.
In many firms there is an opportunity to consolidate to a more streamlined and cost effective solution with equal or better functionality. Microsoft 365’s suite of products: Teams, Sharepoint and One Drive offer excellent collaborative functionality if used as part of well-considered policy and process governance. Teams alone enables instant messaging, audio and video calling and recording, rich online meetings, mobile experiences, and extensive web conferencing capabilities. In addition, Teams provides file and data collaboration, and extensibility features and integrates with Microsoft 365 and other Microsoft and partner apps.
Inherent cybersecurity and improved governance
Firms must consider whether there is consistent governance and policy around meeting recording and retention for meeting regulatory requirements, and whether you are able to easily demonstrate how these requirements are met. If the tools that are used for video conferencing, collaboration and chat are used disparately, or there is a variety of tools in play, meeting these requirements will become challenging amidst data volumes that are already increasing significantly, and collaboration arguably fragmented.
By having a less complex SaaS model, data is simpler to view and regulatory requirements are simpler to achieve , meaning managers can provide both regulators and investors with high quality reports. At a time when competition for investor capital is high, those managers which can demonstrate that they have best in class reporting systems will be in a strong position to attract mandates moving forward.
Doing more with less
There are also cost advantages to maintaining simpler platform relationships. Investment firms are facing considerable headwinds and should always consider how best to continue to carve out reasonable returns. Managers are facing growing client pressure on fees, increasing competition from inexpensive passive funds, and a tsunami of regulatory and operating costs. As these operational changes might cause margins to fall, asset managers are starting to look to identify cost synergies.
Firms also need to think carefully about whether their data is secure across multiple data platforms. When using a number of providers, there will by definition more touchpoints – and with that increased potential vulnerabilities for cyber-attacks. Atech’s comprehensive Managed Security Services work seamlessly with Microsoft 365, offering firms best of breed security solutions. This provides reassurance to both firms and investors, carrying out comprehensive due diligence, that their operational and cyber risk is mitigated, regardless of working environment.
To explore consolidation as a means to drive efficiencies and improved resilience, get in touch with our team to book a consultation.