Show Report: TSAM Europe 2014

By Saajan Raja | 7 April 2014

Bobsguide was present for TSAM Europe last week which was being held at the Lancaster Hotel in London. Europe’s biggest event on buy-side strategy, performance and operation technology had plenty to offer with a packed agenda for the day spread over three floors.

The event offered the buy-side the opportunity to receive the best advice from consultation with industry peers and a range of international expert speakers. This comes at a time when the buy-side is continually faced with tough market conditions and increasing regulatory pressure.

There were dozens of presentations and interactive sessions which took place across several streams covering:

  • Technology
  • Operational Strategy
  • Data Management
  • Client Reporting and Communications
  • Performance Measurement and Investment Risk
  • OTC Derivatives for Fund Management

In order to ease the process of navigating the sessions, attendees were able to follow four paths which moved you in and out of the six streams above:

  • Standards & Regulation
  • Risk
  • Outsourcing
  • Front Office

The number of streams and sessions made it impossible to cover the whole event which meant delegates and attendees were free to head in the direction of their professional preference. The performance measurement and investment risk stream focused on a number of hot topics such as multi-asset correlation dynamics and real estate portfolios.

The morning roundtable discussions in the Westbourne 3 suite certainly threw up some telling questions. In relation to performance and risk systems some attendees discussed the best ways to keep index costs down. Others tackled the question of optimising risk-based investment strategies in the post-crisis area. Is it maximum diversification or flexible asset allocation?

The Data Management stream in Westbourne 2 collectively analysed data management in the business. It looked at how the role of data in business is changing as CDO’s rise in financial services and data is outsourced. Exerting control over your data is becoming increasingly paramount as well as difficult.

In relation to this we had the chance to catch up with Mal Cullen who is Managing Director, Head of the Americas & Eagle ACCESSSM, at Eagle Investment Systems. Mr Cullen was sitting on the panel discussion for Investment Book of Records (IBOR). The panel consisted of, Phil Tattersall, Director at Simitas, Andrew Barnett, Head of Data Management at Friends Life Investments and Andy Flawn, Head of Investment and Market Systems at USS Investment Management.

Investing in IBOR technology has been up for debate and there were a number of contesting factors. For example, what is the operating model and how much data should you provide the front office with? Planning your IBOR project and implementation models can be daunting however Mal Cullen believes it starts with strong data foundations.

Mal Cullen, Head of the Americas and Eagle ACCESSSM, said: “The Investment Book of Record (IBOR) was one of the big issues for delegates this year with over half the audience at the panel session on the subject looking to develop one.  The main takeaway for anyone looking to develop an IBOR is that a successful project needs to start with a strong data management architecture.” 

Other highlights of the day included looking at reporting challenges within the regulatory environment in light of developments such as Dodd-Frank. Advantages of investing in middle or back office platforms rather than front office were also key discussion topics. Swinging the pendulum one way or another is often the key to success.

The ability to pull in high quality speakers and expertise from participants’ year-on-year is a clear reflection of the strong reputation that TSAM has built up over the last decade. The day was a great opportunity for the buy-side community to come together to discuss the issues and challenges having an impact on the industry.

Next stop is TSAM New York and TSAM Boston, OsneyMedia’s Buy-side and Operational Strategy conferences this June and November respectively.

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