Investment Book of Record special report


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IBOR to the Fore

From a buy-side perspective, no business process or trend has garnered more interest over the past 12months than the investment book of record (IBOR). And while the IBOR moniker might not be all that familiar to every capital markets practitioner, given its relatively recent addition to the industry's lexicon, it represents little more than the formalization of a catch-all term used to describe the process by which asset management firms extrapolate well-defined, reliable and transparent start and end points for the portfolios under their purview, allowing them to monitor and ascertain positions on an intra-day basis and by so doing, making more judicious investment decisions. That might be a bit of a mouthful, but the fixation with accurately monitoring the "health" of individual portfolios has been around for years-it's just that now, buy-side firms have the necessary technology and operational expertise to make this aspiration a reality.

But like so many other processes across the buy side, IBOR projects can be notoriously taxing in terms of complexity, the timeframes needed to complete such undertakings, and the budgetary commitments required to ensure that they aren't just pie-in-the-sky projects that fall by the wayside due to scope-creep, underfunding, and technical ineptitude. Make no mistake, the sheer quantity and level of detail underpinning the inter-application "plumbing" which allows disparate parts of the business to seamlessly feed through IBOR-influencing data and contribute to its overall mosaic, is not for the fainthearted.

The Q&A section of this special report, which starts on page four, is similarly not for the fainthearted: It's all of eight pages long and represents more than a little light reading on the subject. But it also contains some fascinating insights from four technology vendors in this space-Bloomberg, SunGard, DST Global Solutions, and Eagle Investment Systems-and two well-established asset managers-Chicago-based BMO Asset Management and M&G Investment Management, based in London-on the operational and technology challenges facing buy-side firms as they grapple with how best to go about producing such reports on an on-going basis. As previously mentioned, the IBOR road is likely to be a rocky one, although, as all our respondents agree, the business benefits that can be realized on the back of such projects, are far too valuable to ignore.

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