I attended this year’s Waters USA 2012 in New York and on the content side, it did not disappoint – the content and the panelists, many familiar faces among them, were fresh and at times funny, some truly original. However I felt that this time around, there were few people from the buy-side in the audience, which largely consisted of IT folks from large investments banks. While there were a few buy-side speakers, overall the program weighed heavier on the brokerage and banking world. Little that was said, however, applied well for the proverbial mid-size Asset Manager. It seems the Buy-Side Technology Summit, held in October, is a better fit.
Several years ago President Obama announced the Blue Button initiative for Veterans, in order that they could easily download their medical data and share it with doctors and hospitals. This initiative has now become more popular and it has expanded to become something that everyone can use to access their personal medical information. As a result over 1 million Americans have already downloaded their health records and the number is expected to increase dramatically in the near future.
This seems like a great idea, but the U.S. government has not found a more developed technological solution and simply provides patients with their data in usual plain text format. It doesn’t allow export of more complex information which are still important parts of patient historical information such as X-Ray images, defibrillator data, or other medical sensor and devices output, that can be useful for export as well. Why not use all these years’ efforts and all these medical standards like EMR, HL7 etc.? What If the IT industry were to follow this route and all systems outputted plain text to the end user and let them decide what to do with it?
Ever increasingly companies in the Travel, Tourism & Hospitality industry are putting mobile at the center of their strategic business focus. Some, like HotelTonight, have gone so far as to make it their entire focus.
It’s no secret that the traveler/consumer is “always connected” via their mobile device. Google’s latest mobile reports states: “94% of smartphone users look for local information on their phone and 90% take action a result, such as making a purchase or contacting the business.” (source: http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/mobileplanet/en/)
The primary task of a fund administrator is to independently calculate the net asset value of a fund on a monthly basis. In order to do so confidently the Fund Administrator needs to be able to:
- Verify that trades/subscriptions/redemptions took place in reality and were settled correctly
- Verify that the investment manager used fair pricing while purchasing or selling the assets
Verifying the trades is usually accomplished by comparing the books stored by the investment manager with that of a broker used by the investment manager. Subscriptions and redemptions are verified much the same but instead of broker books agent books are used. Among commonly used verifiers are CUSIP, ISIN, SEDOL and SYMBOL. One of the bigger challenges during this stage is to cross-reference securities reported by the investment manager against those reported by the broker. The financial industry still doesn’t have a common security identification code and investment managers trading through multiple brokers are likely to have a slightly different internal set of identifiers than the one in use by brokers. So in order to do reconciliation correctly, a fund administrator needs to be able to freely switch between CUSIP/ISIN/SEDOL or any other identifier and fill in the blank ones if needed.