Buy-Side Technology Awards 2017: Best Buy-Side Data Analytics Tool—FactSet


FactSet’s suite of portfolio analytics stands out in a competitive marketplace due to its integration of data in a multi-asset class and global environment, as well as the integration of all its solutions into seamless workflows. “This includes a complete view of the investing cycle workflow, with a single point of entry and exit, with consistent data, which streamlines the process and saves money, offers choice and flexibility with models, while adding insight to investing in a timely manner where it’s needed, in the context it’s needed,” explains Sean Carr, director of risk and quant strategy at FactSet. 

Although its clients face various challenges, several themes that FactSet sees trending include: regulation; data concordance; the ongoing low-return, high-risk investing environment, and policy risk. Carr says that the added complexity of policy risk is that it is hard to find historical comparisons and predict its impact on a portfolio. This market uncertainty demands more stress-testing, more simulation activities, and more ways of analyzing the unintended bets in a portfolio. “All of this is exacerbated by a low-return, risky environment and expensive and onerous regulations that don’t add to investment returns, but do add to cost,” he says. 

The vendor has made several acquisitions and partnerships within the last two years, one of which being BISAM Technologies, which it purchased in March this year for $205.2 million from Aquiline Capital Partners and company shareholders (see write-up on page 62). BISAM specializes in portfolio performance and attribution platforms, and is known for its B-One and Cognity offerings. It is working on integrating its recent acquisitions across three dimensions: the people, the existing products themselves, and the potential from a combination of complementary products, according to Carr. “We are making great progress,” he says. “For example, we have enhanced our existing multi-asset class risk model to leverage Cognity’s fat-tailed approach, which came as part of the BISAM acquisition. We are also connecting FactSet’s wealth of data into the Vermilion Reporting Suite and the B-One products,” says Carr.

For 2018, FactSet’s priorities include further integrating its recent acquisitions to enable a smooth transition between applications in the investing workflow. Carr says it will also look to advance its analytics capabilities in multiple asset classes, including alternative investments and commodities, with greater focus on fixed-income spread models and exotic derivatives. 

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