BST Awards 2011: BI-SAM's Performance and Attribution Q&A

Ian Thompson, director at BI-SAM.

BI-SAM Technologies has continued to impress with its B-One software this year. Chief among its functionality is its performance attribution and reporting functionality, which cinched it the gong at this year’s Buy-Side Technology Awards in London. Ian Thompson, director, tells Waters about this year and the company’s plans for the future.

What are the big enhancements you've made to B-One this year?
This year, as always, we have two releases, one minor and one major, for the product.

Is that a set schedule, two per year?
Yeah, two major product upgrades per year. What we've done this year is focus on our core areas of performance, risk and reporting. We've made some significant enhancements to the workflow module with the ability to incorporate deadlines, to assign tasks to users, and improvements in the way that monitoring takes place. We've made some enhancements in fixed income attribution, we've also incorporated some of the Key Investor Information Document (KIID) requirements for UCITS IV related to the calculation and monitoring of Synthetic Risk and Reward Indicator (SRRI). Also, we've further enhanced our Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) module during the year, and for the US market particularly, we've included after-tax returns and back-end fees. We've developed a new risk and attribution reconciliation module, which won one of the BST awards, and we're in the process of developing a fixed income, multi-factor risk model. That's just this year.

And what do you have in the pipeline for next year?
Next year, again, we have further attribution enhancements. What we do, and one of the reasons that we've been successful in these awards and with new business, is to significantly invest in the product. Even in areas where we have quite extensive functionality, we've continued to enhance it. So with attribution, we have various enhancements such as multi-level look-through analysis in the next release. We're looking at enhancements to the risk modules including further multi-factor models. We're looking at the distribution of information from the performance and risk analysis from B-One, with the ability to present that via a web portal. Within our total returns module, the ability to aggregate portfolios to multiple levels in the firm.

Are you enhancing automation across the entire product?
We've spent a lot of time over the last year in doing that; it's why a lot of the workflow enhancements have been geared towards further automating processes for providing analysis. We'll continue to do that, but I think a major focus for next year will be the distribution of analytics in a wider sense throughout an organization. So not just to performance and risk teams, but to the front office, to the clients, and more to senior management.

To ensure that everyone receives the same data?
Exactly, that's one of the key points really, having one consistent source of performance and risk analytics within the firm, so you don't have multiple systems. A lot of our clients are using B-One to replace a number of different systems, so there's one consistent source of analysis.

You've had a number of high-profile partnerships recently at BI-SAM, such as with Capco. Have they been beneficial to the company?
Yes. We have different types of partnership arrangements; we have implementation partners, we have data partners, integration and technical partners. From the point of view of implementation, firms like Capco allow us to provide additional capacity for our implementations, so as we grow our business it gives us more flexibility to be able to implement the system, to be able to scale up more quickly. That's been particularly useful in the US so far - we have a lot of prospects and implementations starting up there, it's allowed us to support that effectively. We've been able to certify consultants from firms like Capco to ensure that they're up to speed, that they're up to the right standard, that they understand the product, they're capable and understand the business. That's quite useful, as it gives us more flexibility on resourcing. Then, on the data side, for people like RIMES it's a different sort of relationship. Our clients always need data, and it works well when you have companies that are used to working together - it makes the whole process much easier. For the future, to make sure that we're able to stay ahead technologically in making improvements to the product, we're utilizing some partnerships with companies such as Oracle, where we're able to make sure that we can scale up as effectively as possible.


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