The Front Office of Tomorrow. A Survey of trends in the Front Office

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1 The Front Office of Tomorrow A Survey of trends in the Front Office 01/01/2013

2 Table of Contents Introduction... 3 Management Summary... 3 Detailed Findings... 4 Views... 4 Automation... 7 Strategy Concerns Predictions Appendices Survey Population Survey Method Survey Questions About CityIQ Feedback Copyright Statement The information contained herein is the property of CityIQ Limited. Reference may be made to its content without the prior approval of CityIQ Limited provided that the content is clearly attributed to CityIQ and specific reference is made to this report. Liability Under no circumstances shall CityIQ Limited be liable for any loss, damage, liability or expense incurred or suffered that is claimed to have resulted from the use of the information contained herein. 2 CityIQ

3 Introduction In a market facing a multitude of different challenges, we were keen to understand what was happening and what was likely to happen in the Front Office. Therefore we decided our final survey of 2012 would focus on this area. As we developed the question set, we realised that to give context, we needed to look not only at the Front Office, but also what was happening in the wider market. This report summarises the findings of the survey, consolidating the views, opinions and intentions of respondents from many of the industry s leading organisations. Full details of the survey population, method and questions asked can be found as appendices to this report. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated in the survey. Without them this report would simply not have been possible. We would particularly like to thank Linedata who assisted us with the development of the questions and delivering the results presentation. Management Summary Our survey addressed four major areas, the key findings for each area are shown below. Industry Trends Eighty seven per cent of those who took part in the survey agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that outsources services (defined as outsourced operations, managed services and software as a service) were in the ascendant. Coupled with this was a belief that organisations will seek to rationalise their number of third party suppliers, with 80% agreeing with the suggestion. Client engagement also scored highly, with 96% of respondents agreeing (and 53% agreeing strongly that effective relationship management is more important than ever in the current market. On a similar theme 76% of those who took part reported that they were increasing the amount of information made available to clients. Automation Most respondents, particularly those from the largest investment management groups, expected to be spending on systems going forward. Post trade reporting, decision support and pre-trade compliance were all hot spots, with the majority of those who answered the question saying they were likely or highly likely to invest in these areas. Risk mitigation was identified as the most important driver when it came to on-going investment in systems, with 84% of respondents citing it as a major influence. Concerns Regulation was a theme that permeated both the survey and responses to it. AIFMD was the regime that generated most concern, with 67% of those who expressed an opinion describing themselves as being concerned or very concerned. Staying with the regulation theme, 84% of respondents were concerned about how they maintained multi-jurisdictional expertise. Predictions Looking forward, respondents saw an environment with increased regulation, further consolidation, continued cost pressures and a further move to outsourcing in its various forms. However, nearly 70% of respondents remained optimistic, believing they were well positioned to exploit current market opportunities. 3 CityIQ

4 Detailed Findings Views As with most of our surveys we presented respondents with a range of statements and asked them how strongly they agreed with them. The responses of the entire population were aggregated and a weighting algorithm applied to identify which questions resonated most strongly. We started with a set of high level questions, aimed at establishing the validity of a set of statements often regarded as perceived wisdom in the industry. Our methodology regards a score of 2.0 or more as being a strong positive and as can be seen from the chart none of these questions generated a strong consensus. In fact the responses were generally split down the middle, with the number of people agreeing only narrowly beating the number who disagreed with each statement. The largest organisations were the group who were most upbeat when it came to current market conditions as can be seen in the adjacent slide. However they were also the group that believed further head-count reductions were inevitable (58% supporting the statement against 25% in smaller organisations). Our interpretation of this is that many smaller organisations have already cut what needed to be cut, whereas larger organisations are still hoping to generate additional headcount savings from recent process improvements initiatives. Executive management were another group who were positive about the market when compared to previous years with a mere 20% supporting the statement and a sizeable 40% disagreeing. 4 CityIQ

5 Our next question looked at matters closer to home, asking those who took part in the survey about their own organisation. This time there was a stand out answer as can be seen from the slides below. The importance of relationship management, never something to be underestimated, is seen as being more important than ever in the current market. In fact 54% of respondents agreed with the statement and a further 43% strongly agreed. The second highest scoring statement evidences the faith individuals had in their own organisations with just over 70% of respondents giving a positive response. The next two bars on the chart relate to statements that struggled to get support. While over 40% of respondents thought that index tracking had had its day, 27% disagreed. Similarly, while 37% agreed with the statement that Our workflow is true STP, 30% thought the opposite. Responses to this question broke down by job type, with IT respondents being considerably more positive than their peers in the business (see left). The response to the final statement in this section, relating to the importance of hedge fund strategies is at first glance puzzling, as 27 organisations had already identified derivatives as an active asset class. We can only speculate that our use of the word core may have effected how the question was answered. Relationship Management More Important than ever 5 CityIQ

6 Our final question in this section looked at technology trends. Again we have strong positives, with 87% of those who answered agreeing that outsourcing (in its broadest sense) was in the ascendant. Surprisingly, this was consistent across all constituencies and regardless of organisational size, geography, job function or business type. We had a similar level of consensus with regard to our next statement; with both large and small organisations looking to rationalise their number of third party suppliers. This is supported by other research carried out by CityIQ. Taken together, we are looking at a future where fewer third party suppliers exist and those that do are focussed more closely on providing an outsourced solution. There was general acceptance that data was becoming a commodity and modest support for the statement regarding the strength of technical architecture (bolstered by a strong IT vote). The statement relating to the importance of minimising up front systems costs got a mixed response, with smaller companies supporting the statement and the big players being less concerned. Outsourcing in the ascendant in a world with fewer third party suppliers 6 CityIQ

7 Automation The second part of the survey considered automation, both current and planned, before looking at the drivers and benefits of automation. Respondents were asked to identify areas that had been automated and the extent of that automation. The results are shown in this chart which is a representation of current functional coverage. As can be seen most functional areas in most organisations are automated, although the extent of automation is perhaps less than might perhaps have been expected We then asked respondents to identify functional areas which they expected to invest in going forward (we omitted to ask for a timeframe. There were a few surprises. Not unreasonably, functional areas with the least automation can expect to receive attention going forward. However, other areas such as order management and pretrade compliance, which have received a lot of attention historically, also appear to be due a makeover. Equally noticeable was the expected level of activity, with nearly all respondents expecting to be doing something in the future. Plenty to do but when? 7 CityIQ

8 But which organisations are the ones looking to spend? Further analysis shows that it is the big players, (those with AUM of over $100Bn) who are the ones with expectations. Across the board, in all functional areas, it is the largest organisations that are looking to invest (see below). Next we looked at what was driving investment. We suggested six possible drivers for automation and got respondents to rate them. Risk mitigation was the biggest driver, with 84% of those who answered citing it as a major influence. Operational efficiency also scored highly and can be regarded as another key driver. Big firms most likely to invest, with risk mitigation driving them forward. 8 CityIQ

9 Having looked at drivers, we then considered benefits. As might be expected, risk mitigation and operational efficiency topped the list, although scoring less highly than in the previous question. Relative rankings remained the same except for cost avoidance and improved decision making which changed places, indicating perhaps that the opportunity for cost savings brought about by automation was perhaps less than expected. Drivers and benefits closely correlated only cost avoidance fails to deliver. 9 CityIQ

10 Strategy We asked two questions; one relating to business strategy and the other to technology. The strong positive for business strategy related to increasing the amount of information made available to clients. Over 75% said this was something they were already doing. None of the other statements in this set gave a clear consensus, with the survey population being almost equally split with regard to having a centralised trading desk and only a small minority supporting the statement relating to emerging markets. When it came to IT Strategy, outsourcing (in its various guises) scored highly, although not as highly as in previous questions. This, we suspect, is due to the fact that these statements related to the organisation specifically rather than the market in general. A target end state with best of breed solutions easily outscored a single integrated front end, although there was a significant minority who preferred the latter. More information being shared with clients, more outsourcing on the way 10 CityIQ

11 Concerns Our next section looked at Concerns and Regulation seemed like a good place to start. We asked survey participants which regulatory regimes were of most concern. Top of the list was AIFMD (the Alternative Investments Fund Market Directive), with 27% of those who answered the question describing themselves as being very concerned. AIFMD was closely followed by FATCA and then UCITS. Looking at concerns about matters other than Regulation, Liquidity and Risk Proliferation scored most highly. Managing liquidity, risk proliferation and complex modelling all areas of concern. 11 CityIQ

12 Our final set of statements continued to explore concerns. Again, we had high scores and, again, the implications of impending regulation were apparent. The statement that scored most highly reflected concerns about how to keep abreast of regulatory expertise. Close behind was the concern about how to keep up to speed with everything that was going on. Our third high scoring category was with regard to data requirements from a compliance perspective. 12 CityIQ

13 Predictions Our respondents gave us predictions as to how they expected the industry to change over the next few years. There were a number of recurring themes so we have only included a subset of responses below. To identify the most frequently used words (and by implication their importance) we have included all responses as a wordle. Consolidation and cost cutting. Front to back office from a single vendor with fully integrated system which works 'out of the box'. Businesses to look closer at cost of supporting fund teams and dropping them if not viable More outsourcing, more standardised solutions, less responsive to change Consolidation on both the buy and sell sides. a need to make specific service request and meet specific tailored requirements rather than one size fits all service which results in wastage of unwanted (but provided) services and resources I see more and more institutions having to centralise data for clients to enable to comply with regulatory requirements. Central Data Warehouses will be more widely implemented. Consolidation of counterparties therefore reducing liquidity 13 CityIQ

14 Appendices Survey Population The charts below analyse the survey population by job function, organisation type, organisation size, geography and asset under management. Responses came from most constituencies associated with or impacted by the front office with a particularly strong showing from IT. The majority of responses came from the UK & Europe. 14 CityIQ

15 Respondents were primarily fund managers.and came mostly from large organisations.which is reflected in asset class coverage 15 CityIQ

16 Survey Method The survey was carried out by CityIQ using our in-house tool set. All respondents were asked to include their address as part of the survey and were subsequently contacted as a check against impersonation. A small number of responses, deemed to have been submitted by individuals outside of the industry or of questionable authenticity, were discounted from the survey. Most survey questions were optional. Percentages are shown to reflect the views of the respondents who answered the question and not the total population of respondents. Where questions allowed respondents to grade their response (strongly agree, agree, etc.) the results have been weighted when presented in graph format. Our weighting algorithm takes into account the number of respondents who answer each part of the question, so more responses doesn t necessarily lead to a higher score. 16 CityIQ

17 Survey Questions The Front Office of Tomorrow ABOUT YOU Name: Company Address Job Function Which of these job functions best describes your role? Executive Management Front Office IT Risk Compliance Middle Office Other, please specify... Geography Where are you based? UK Europe Americas Asia Pacific Rest of the World 17 CityIQ

18 Organisation Type Fund / Asset Manager Hedge Fund Pension Fund Private Bank / Wealth Manager Other, please specify... Assets Under Management (No Response) $1BN - $5BN $5BN - $25BN $25Bn - $100BN $100BN + Asset Class Coverage Tick all that apply Equities Fixed Income FX/MM Derivatives Commodities Property STATEMENTS How strongly do you agree with the following statements regarding market trends? Market conditions are the worst in living memory Across the industry further head-count reductions in the front office are inevitable London's premier position in financial markets is under threat Markets won't recover until the Euro crisis is resolved Excessive regulation is strangling the industry Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree 18 CityIQ

19 How strongly do you agree with the following statements regarding your organisation? Index tracking no longer gives the return our clients need Effective relationship management is more important than ever in the current market Our business workflow is true STP Hedge Fund strategies are a core part of our business We believe we are well positioned to exploit current market uncertainties Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree How strongly do you agree with the following statements regarding technology trends? Organisations will seek to rationalise their number of third party suppliers Outsourced operations / managed services / SaaS are in the ascendant Data is becoming a commodity Minimising the upfront cost of investing in systems is now a priority Our technical architecture makes it easy for us to respond to business opportunities Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree FUNCTIONAL COVERAGE Areas of automation (current) To what extent have you automated these functional areas? Fully Heavy Partial Minimal Manual Decision Support Order Generation Pre-Trade Compliance Order Management Price Discovery Post Trade Reporting or Regulatory Reporting Execution Management 19 CityIQ

20 Areas of automation (expected) Which areas do you expect to invest in in the future? Highly Likely Likely Neutral Unlikely Very Unlikely Decision Support Order Management Pre-Trade Compliance Order Management Price Discovery Post Trade Reporting or Regulatory Reporting Execution Management DRIVERS & BENEFITS Automation Drivers Which of these factors influenced your decision to automate? Operational Efficiency Cost Avoidance Risk Mitigation Competitive Pressures Improved Decision Making Inability to meet deadlines Major Influence Moderate Influence Minor Influence No Influence Don't Know Automation Benefits Where were benefits obtained? Major Benefit Moderate Benefit Little Benefit No Benefit Don't Know Operational Efficiency Cost Avoidance Risk Mitigation Competitive Advantage Improved Decision Making Ability to meet deadlines 20 CityIQ

21 Strategy Business Strategy How strongly do you agree with the following statements? We are moving towards a centralised trading desk for all asset classes We are increasing the amount of information we make available to our clients We are looking increasingly at emerging markets Selecting a combination of "best of breed" business solutions is viable Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree IT Strategy How strongly do you agree with the following statements? OMS/EMS Functionality will converge Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree Our target end state is a single integrated front end platform Our target end state is having best of breed providers We will move towards outsourced operations / managed services / Software as a Service Concerns Major Concern Some Concern Minor Concern Not worried Managing liquidity Risk Proliferation Validating emerging markets research Liquidity discovery / e-trading / dark pools Consolidated Performance Measurement across all asset classes Complex Modelling across multiple asset classes 21 CityIQ

22 Compliance Regulatory Regime Which regulatory regimes concern you? AIFMD ESMA Short Selling Major Shareholder Reporting UCITS IV / V 1940 Act FATCA OTC Derivatives Very Concerned Concerned Slight Concern Not Concerned No opinion / Not relevant Other Concerns From a compliance perspective which of these are of concern? Staying on top of / informed of changes Regulatory expertise / multijurisdiction Automation of monitoring Regulatory Reporting Client Reporting Data Requirements Supporting Infrastructure Pre-Trade Monitoring COMMENTS Very Concerned Concerned Slight Concern How do you see the industry changing over the next 2-3 years? Not Concerned No opinion / Not relevant Any other comments? 22 CityIQ

23 About CityIQ CityIQ is a specialist consultancy which for over fifteen years has worked exclusively in Financial Services. With extensive knowledge of investment management and all aspects of the investment process, we have a reputation for providing high quality project and programme management, business analysis and technical architecture skills. As well as domain specific expertise, we also provide consultancy advice in the areas of change, procurement, business continuity planning and HR re-engineering. Since 2003 our research team has conducted numerous market surveys, focusing on trends in the financial services industry a selection of which are available for download from the CityIQ web site. Our consultants are supported by our research team, who by running surveys, producing detailed reports and hosting industry events keep our consultants and clients up to date with what is happening in financial services. Feedback If you have any questions or queries about the survey results or would like to know more about the services CityIQ offer please contact: Paul Wiltshire on or by mailing CityIQ Ltd Token House Tokenhouse Yard London EC2R 7AS Tel: Fax: Web: 23 CityIQ

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