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18 September 2020

Uncover Front Office Transformations: A Webinar Recap

By Boris Bykhovsky

Over the last three decades, asset and wealth management firms have made enormous investments in technology, focused primarily on increasing efficiency, automation, and scale in back office operations. In recent years, technology has made significant inroads into seamlessly enabling the middle office to connect the front to back, allowing the middle to create a more efficient front office experience built on a foundation of accurate and timely data.

Last month we convened a panel of clients from three firms – Great Lakes Advisors, Conestoga Capital, and Avalon Advisors – for a webinar on the growing influence of technology in the front office. I asked Will Trout, Celent’s Chief Wealth Management Analyst, to moderate the conversation, which spanned a range of topics that are of interest to firms rethinking their front-to-back operating models. Of course, with COVID-19, the front office – indeed, the entire office – has been dispersed to team members’ homes. Fittingly, the panel discussion was conducted via video conference.

During the webinar, we discussed:

  • How these firms have managed through the work-from-home transition – for the most part successfully. Haley Schumaker, Director of Equity Trading for Great Lakes, explained her workaround for lack of access to the office VPN. Duane D’Orazio, Managing Partner with Conestoga Capital, reported both institutional clients and prospects accepted the idea of virtual presentations, which will likely save time and travel costs in the long run.
  • How firms are adapting to the migration from OASYS to CTM for trade affirmations/confirmations. This is clearly a top-of-mind topic in the wake of the DTCC’s decision to change trade-matching platforms. All of the panel participants are in the midst of this transition, and spoke to similar experiences.
  • How firms manage their technology vendor relationships. David Warhoftig, Head of Trading at Avalon Advisors, explained the importance of developing personal relationships with key people on the vendor side, so firms have a go-to resource for questions and needs.

Panelists discussed more front-office activity can and should be automated – “We have far too many spreadsheets,” as one panelist put it. Moreover, panelists agreed the front office should not be isolated, but as part of a better-integrated, front-to-back solution providing access to consistent data across the firm.

As a solution to the front-office integration, Advent Genesis is a portfolio management solution that allows teams to manage models, build and rebalance portfolios, and create trades at scale. Genesis users who participated in the panel gave it high marks, noting they realized substantial efficiency gains.

Even before the work-from-home mandates, many buy-side firms were rethinking their operating models, with a focus on leveraging innovation that drives productivity. This webinar offers plenty of insights and ideas from firms going through similar challenges. View the full webinar to hear more from your industry peers; it’s time well spent.

Interested in learning more? Request a demo to see how Advent Genesis can help streamline your workflows.