Five things we learned about hedge fund research management this month

It’s been a busy few weeks in the world of investment research management. We’ve seen SEC enforcements, new RMS product releases, cybersecurity scares and more. Worthy of a round-up, we thought. So here’s what we learned from the recent industry headlines…

1. Failing to safeguard research data is bad. And enforceable.

Okay so we already knew this, but Deutche Bank AG found this out the hard way in October. According to news reports it will pay $9.5 million to resolve SEC allegations that it failed to effectively guard non-public information generated by its research analysts.

We also learned that the bank fell short on its ability to preserve and provide certain electronic records sought by the SEC during its investigation. A clear demonstration, if ever you needed one, that compliance safeguards, processes and systems at the research level are no longer a ‘nice-to-have’.

2. Front-office technology is ‘outdated’. Survey says funds plan to fix that.

A new study by KPMG, AIMA and MFA found that fund managers plan to increase their investment in technology to create new competitive advantages and to address regulatory compliance (9 in 10 to be exact). Which is of little surprise when almost 7 in 10 admit that front-office systems are either ‘outdated’ or at best ‘on par with the industry’ and still relying on legacy systems.

The study’s main headlines speak to ‘innovation’, with plenty of talk around blockchain and AI. But there are interesting findings on the realities of fund IT today too, if you dig a little deeper (full report available here) you’ll find ‘buy vs. build’ insights and cybersecurity investment stats hidden amongst the innovation buzz.

3. Evernote may not be that secure. Loses data, really annoys some users.

Some Evernote users were alerted of a serious bug that caused data loss in certain versions last month. It was only a small number of Mac users, and of course the company did everything it could to restore lost data, but success wasn’t universal and some attachments were unable to be restored, automatically or otherwise.

Perhaps this is fine if your Evernote app is primarily used for shopping lists and thanksgiving recipes, perhaps less so if it’s used (formally or informally) as the primary note-taking tool for work purposes, say for critical investment research data and ideas?  (Refer to Deutche Bank example in #1.)

4. Research analysts like ‘web apps’. Legacy systems finally get it.

Tamale RMS, the stalwart of Research Management Systems, finally decided that a web app is something they can’t afford not to offer. An SS&C press release announced the web-app last week. About time? Too right. A secure, flexible, accessible cloud-based app has been a given in any modern RMS worth its salt for the last three years.

It will be interesting to see how this version stacks up, and how a company rooted in traditional RMS will further develop and support an additional cloud-based service. One thing’s for sure, it stands as further acknowledgement of the heightened demand for mobile, accessible RMS solutions in the market.

5. Modern RMS keeps developing. And fast.

The thing about working in continuous delivery and development, is there’s rarely a spare moment for a big-ticket product press release. In the last few weeks, Bipsync has introduced a new research automation rules featurea revamped stock price chart with enhanced custom data functionality, and a new audit trail view in the compliance app.

That, and over 30 other improvements to our software. So, yeah, perhaps it’s not quite headline grabbing stuff in the same way as Deutche Bank’s research compliance woes, but it does serve as a great example of how much can happen in the research management space in a month. A lot.