Asset Management Hot Technology Vendors = Hard to Find Application Expertise

Following the reactionary period that ensued from the financial crisis and subsequent regulatory onslaught, the asset management industry has been ramping up its strategic spend on growth initiatives –   be it on new products, global markets, distribution channels, client servicing approaches, or operations models.  This has resulted in a spike in software upgrades, consolidations, and replacements.  This trend has spawned another reality — a significant dearth of talent to staff these mission critical projects that increasingly involve in-demand “hot" vendors.  Olmstead shares with you some of the leading vendors we believe present human capital expertise challenges into 2016 and why.

Hot Vendors in the Market today:

MarkIt EDM:  The flexible configuration of this solution is its strength, but that flexibility requires application expertise.  Client growth continues into 2016 along with expanded client use for ETL, reference data, pricing data and expanded functionality including trade hubs and risk / compliance data. 

Charles River Development:  With one of the largest footprints of any OMS, Charles River expertise has always been in demand.  New version support policies combined with expanded use across markets like wealth management and adoption of fixed income enhancements promise to increase demand for resources in 2016. 

Eagle:  Eagle is getting pulled in lots of different directions as it continues to grow its traditional client base, grow its Insurance client base, support expansion of deployment options and the needs of BNY Mellon.  The increased complexity of its clients’ needs will continue to create demand for Eagle expertise well into 2016.

Vermilion & Simcorp Coric:  Increased sophistication and demands of institutional clients requires stronger reporting capabilities.  Client reporting initiatives remain a key priority for many asset managers and Vermilion & Coric have been beneficiaries of this growth.  Coric is a relative newcomer to the US market so experience is hard to find while Vermilion’s certification policies make finding expertise a challenge. 

BI-SAM: Finding software application expertise in complex fixed income performance attribution has always been a challenge and this is where Bi-Sam is experiencing its growth and this domain complexity combined with a scarcity of application expertise and an exacting client base all point to significant demand for BI-SAM expertise well into 2016 and beyond.

Three Tips to Staff Projects Where Application Expertise is Scarce

ü  Shoot for the SuperStar, but look to build a team.  You want someone with product management certification with deep technical skills, who has spent the past 5 years single handedly implementing the vendor solution you have chosen while operating as PM, BA, BC, DA, QA and SME.  You are less likely to find this where expertise is scarce.  Consider separating your skills and knowledge needs as you build a team and as an alternative look to create a team of firm, vendor and 3rd party expertise that in aggregate can meet your implementation and deployment needs. 

ü  Add someone with prior experience working for a competitive software vendor.  They bring domain expertise and a deep appreciation for how everything from software release cycles to patch release work.  The ability to navigate vendors makes for a tremendously valuable addition.  This is particularly true when managing software implementations with vendors who are stretched to their capacity. 

ü  Ensure commitment of your internal resources:  Too often firms look to "reallocate" internal resources.  That allocation often looks like a second job to the affected individual.  They're less likely to have the required skill set and too often conflicted with disparate priorities.  If you need to allocate internal resources, backfill their prior role to allow them to focus.

Olmstead Associates works with leading asset managers in North America supporting their most challenging initiatives.  We have worked with all of the major application vendors in the market including the vendors mentioned above.


Olmstead Associates, LLC is a leading provider of advisory and consulting services for the global securities, asset management, insurance, wealth management and custodial markets.  Our focus is on providing strategic and tactical support at the intersection of our clients’ technology and operations challenges.  Email to learn more.