QWith the wave of regulations that has swamped the buy-side over the last few years, just how important is it to keep systems agile?
In a landscape where priorities are constantly changing it is really important to be able to be flexible with your approach. We have a mix of 3rd party tools and in-house developed tools using a range of technologies to give us maximum flexibility. The real challenge lies in determining the true priorities and the most appropriate solutions to best deliver a robust but relevant platform.
QAs COO for Fixed Income, what was the greatest challenge for you personally during 2013?
Schroders Fixed Income has a wide breadth and depth of product offerings, incorporating strategies in everything from Rates and Credit to Convertibles and Insurance linked securities. Managing and keeping abreast of all the regulatory driven change while delivering the business driven change has been really challenging in 2013. We created three new investment desks and integrated four new teams over the course of 2013 against the backdrop of constantly evolving regulatory environment.QAnd moving into 2014, has this changed?
I think 2014 will be equally challenging, we still have a whole swathe of regulatory changes expected globally and timeframes are still uncertain for many of them. We will also start to see the markets evolve as the implications (both intended and unintended) of the regulations gradually filter through. The ability to adjust our processes to react to these changes will be a key differentiator over the next few years.
QFrom an operations perspective, what are the most significant benefits that can be gained by optimizing front office tools?
Risk mitigation and operational efficiency are the two key operational benefits to come from optimizing your front office tools. In the ever more complex investment and regulatory environment, it is imperative that we try to simplify and standardise processes as much as possible. A clear priority for Fixed Income at Schroders is to optimize our toolset so that we have one version of the truth and a consistent approach globally rather than multiple tools which can give differing or even conflicting information. Standardising our tools also allows us to focus our development effort and get the most value from them.QHow has Schroders approached this? Has it been a success?
We are halfway through a two year project to globalise our Fixed Income tools. Our approach has been to work in partnership with the local offices to ensure that we don’t just deliver some software but actually deliver a full service. This means committing to having resources on the ground who can ensure that the requirements are properly understood and the service is fit for purpose. With global roll outs the major challenge is the uncertainty of what you are going to unearth when you start digging into the detail of local market peculiarities, and the challenges of delivering to each local start of day. We went into the project with our eyes wide open and there were all the difficulties and challenges that we expected, along with a few extra we didn’t expect, but so far it has been hugely successful.