The FTF Performance Measurement Americas conference kicks off this afternoon in New York City, and BISAM is pleased to once again participate alongside our PMAR industry colleagues and customers. Our own Sean Murray, BISAM’s Director of Product Strategy, will moderate the closing discussion on Thursday afternoon, and in today’s BISAM Insights blog post, he shares a sneak peek of what participants can expect from the panel.
Erika Alter: Sean, you are moderating the last session of the day at FTF tomorrow – a panel that FTF has defined as a “gathering of voices to air profound concerns about the future of performance measurement and the ever-evolving trends toward performance and risk integration.” So what can participants expect from the discussion?
Sean Murray: My goal is to recognize that in any challenge that performance and risk managers have in analyzing, producing and distributing performance and risk results, technology has a role to play. Whenever anyone thinks about the impact of technology across ops teams, results sets, how analytics are interacted with, etc. – technology is a big part of that.
ESA: So you want to take the conversation beyond just the business aspect, but also delve into how technology is enabling the evolution?
SM: In my personal opinion, the role of technology is underrepresented in these conversations.
ESA: True. Industry conference agendas that are more business-oriented in terms of attendance and themes, tend to avoid “techie” topics, but technology in the context of the discussion you’re hoping to draw out doesn’t necessarily mean technical.
SM: Correct. Technology conversations don’t need to be relegated to IT/CTO conferences. Let’s hear technology needs articulated by the practitioners themselves. Our panel on Thursday afternoon is comprised of very seasoned industry professionals who have been managing very large teams, very demanding recipients of PMAR data, and analytics for a long time. There has been an evolution, particularly over the last year with practitioners and vendors positioning themselves to move beyond “Performance + Risk” as a theory, and actually put the ideas into practice. So I will ask the panel to discuss where they are now and what they’ve had to deal with over the last year to get there. For example, over the last year I’ve participated in numerous discussions about the concept of unified performance and risk – but more in the context of what P+R means for PMAR teams and operations – less about the results output and distribution, and almost nothing about technology’s role as an enabler. For example, technology rarely comes up in conversations about how PMAR teams might integrate. It’s as if the technology piece can be sorted after processes are agreed. But sometimes it is the capabilities of technology that allow PMAR teams to deploy and become integrated.
ESA: So should technology be defining processes, or the other way around?
SM: Neither, really. There are three legs to the “integration stool,” if you will. The first is the operational PMAR team structure. The second leg is meeting the needs of investors and the front office, and the third leg is the technology. If any of those legs are unstable, the stool is going to topple over. Naturally as a solutions provider to the buy-side we are always looking for ways to help people leverage software, data and technology in order to streamline their operations in the face of transition – to help people be more efficient, and even do more with less when needed. In other words, we stabilize the technology leg.
ESA: Speaking of toppling over (sorry), it seems like ever since Bloomberg announced its acquisition of Barclays POINT over a year ago now, there has been quite a bit of upheaval and discussion re: supporting the needs of the front office, which in turn are driven by investor needs.
SM: Yes. Market events like the retirement of POINT have really put a spotlight on what we should be providing to the investor vs. what we’ve traditionally provided to investors. The perspective we have now – nearly 18 months into the POINT announcement is different from what we had previously – our notions as PMAR professionals of how to best serve the investor and support the front office has collectively changed. For example, the market has transitioned from unofficial results to official results, in turn resulting in the “middle office-ication of the front office. Also, risk is becoming increasingly less grey and much more black and white. The needs of the front office have shifted.
ESA: What we knew 18 months ago is certainly evolving and nowhere near done. I very much look forward to hearing what your panel thinks about where we have come from, where we are headed – and of course, what technology’s role has been, currently is and should be in shaping their goals. Thanks Sean.
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