As information technology’s development accelerated, the investment industry took notice and began developing systems that would automate formerly manual tasks. Over time these systems have evolved into something more. While their benefits are continually vaunted by vendors and end users alike, the processes of ensuring that these systems are properly implemented and maintained belong, first and foremost, to the firm.
It is easy to become seduced by the technological attraction that systems offer but if an investment firm does not clearly and thoroughly understand the purpose of a system, the technological dream will quickly turn into a nightmare. In general, systems are there to facilitate tasks, such as data management, analysis and reporting. Once that is known, a system must be properly “placed” within a firm. That is, it is to be maintained by the operations team, supported by IT, managed by specialists (performance, risk, etc.), used as a feedback tool by the front office and fund sponsors, and as a means of communications to the clients.