operational alpha

The Dawn of Operational … Beta?

If you've heard of the term operational alpha, then you likely know that it is a trending concept - similar to digital transformation - that seeks to leverage the latest digital-era tools and methods to foster increasing operational agility and resilience, particularly among asset managers. (Think: Citadel, the creator of the term - and one who arguably walks this walk as well as anyone.) Moreover, if your current job is related to implementing tools and methods that are designed to foster operational alpha, then you are likely working with or for a leading, forward-thinking player that is culturally tuned to navigate real change. The problem with alpha of any kind is that you can't really have alpha unless it is measured in relation to something else. Beta. In any case, we have some illuminating news for you: It turns out that operational alpha does have something relative to it - which makes it more than a concept. It's also a number. And, that number is based on another number that [...]

By | 2018-02-28T16:29:16+00:00 November 1st, 2017|Alphacution Feed|

Context Machine: Introducing a Techno-Operational Benchmarking Framework for Asset Managers

Executive Summary Riding the wave of the FinTech juggernaut, technology now permeates all aspects of the financial services ecosystem; front-to-back, top-to-bottom and across the entire business segment spectrum. Any lingering gaps between technology strategy and business strategy are closing; making them indistinguishable from one another. And yet, for all the promise of the revolutions in artificial intelligence, cloud and big data, such attempts are met with unforgiving challenges. Most players in this ecosystem are still using dulled intelligence tools to navigate this rapidly changing and increasingly techno-centric landscape. Finding balance between the primary engines of productivity - information technology and human capital - continues to be conducted like a game of Marco Polo. Operational alpha - a kissing cousin of terms like digital transformation and process re-engineering - is a growing theme among the pantheon of new vernacular in this space that seeks to illuminate such challenges. However, despite its descriptive elegance, operational alpha remains an emerging and elusive concept. In the midst of an evolving supply chain, solution providers [...]

By | 2018-02-28T16:29:24+00:00 October 31st, 2017|Alphacution Feed|

Operational Clues: Asset Managers Shifting Strategies

You can track shifting asset class and/or strategy allocations over several years for a long list of asset managers, and then add it all up to arrive at a data-driven industry trend. Easier said than done. This is an extremely heavy lift without the aid of a database that has already aggregated such information - if at all.  But, we think there is another way to generate such a signal that yields a similar conclusion (if you know how to read the tea leaves). Hint: As always, it still comes down to the people... That preamble aside for the moment, we will spare you the geek-speak and give you the cart before the horse: In the exhibit below, based on US Securities and Exchange Commission Form ADV data for 181 large asset managers (w/ AUM >$10 billion) over the 5 years ending March 2017, Alphacution's newest analytic - assets under management per employee, or AUM/e - indicates, upon calculation of total weighted average AUM/e for all reporting funds per period, that strategy trade durations have been lengthening. Translation: On average, asset [...]

By | 2018-02-28T16:31:46+00:00 June 28th, 2017|Alphacution Feed|

The Dawn of Operational Alpha

They say, it is always darkest before the dawn. They don't say, however, that no one is up and working their asses off before the first light of a new day... By many accounts, the concept of operational alpha has been around for years. I first heard this term in the context of Citadel's launch of its eponymous, mid- and back-office technology externalization effort, Citadel Solutions - later known as Omnium. Citadel even went so far as to trademark the term, operational alpha. It was the exuberant days of late 2006. The timing for mainstream appreciation of such a seemingly hair-splitting concept was not particularly hospitable. Not too long later (during the immediate aftermath of the GFC), Till Guldimann - then Vice Chairman of SunGard - was loudly promoting his vision for operational analytics; a new category of data designed to help asset managers run their businesses better and respond to market shifts with greater agility. The timing was improving, but now market operators were way too distracted - by unprecedented dislocations and the specter of regulatory [...]

By | 2018-02-28T16:32:19+00:00 May 25th, 2017|Alphacution Feed|

Digital Noise in the Fintech Space – Numerix Video Blog Series

In this FIFTH and final installment of a five-part video blog series Jim Jockle, CMO of Numerix sits down with Paul Rowady, Director of Research at Alphacution to discuss the recent FinTech Revolution. They discuss how firms are gearing themselves towards a digital culture, and how companies are working to distinguish themselves in this new age. The five videos cover the following: Part 1: Paralysis by Analysis: Preparation & Analyzation for Digital Disruption Part 2: IT Outsourcing and Transformation Part 3: Revolutionizing FinTech: Looking into the World of Data Automation Part 4: Technological Implications of Cultural Transformation Part 5: Digital Noise in the FinTech Space Jim Jockle (Host): There’s so much noise, right. And whether its hitting the trades or the New York Post, you know, this company’s going to take down Bloomberg, this company’s going to disrupt payments for the next rest of the world. I’m now dealing with Apple Pay, you know, just naming names not pointing fingers. How do you cut through the noise? Paul Rowady (Guest): [...]

By | 2018-02-28T16:34:40+00:00 December 6th, 2016|Alphacution Feed|

Back to the Front: Post-Trade Processing Getting Sexy-er

If you happen to hear the drumbeat of these things called "operational analytics" getting louder, then you just may be dialed in to the subtle downstream impacts of some of today's most common headlines related to financial enterprise transformation. For instance, the fintech revolution we are living through - with all its new-fangled and often overly-hyped gadgetry - is really about harnessing the opportunity for unprecedented process efficiencies. But, while it is a soothing distraction to daydream about deploying new digital tools during the ongoing regulatory hurricane, the economic impact that they will have on the FSI landscape is barely going to move the needle anytime soon. Of course, there are exceptions to this broad brush stroke: The impact of evolving IT infrastructure solutions from Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to software defined networks (SDNs) to any number of other high-performance compute and storage tools are already sufficiently mature to be making a major impact on architectures and technology buying patterns. A similar statement could be made about open source big data tools such [...]

By | 2018-02-28T16:36:21+00:00 September 14th, 2016|Alphacution Feed|

Investing in #Transformation: What’s the ROI? | Numerix Video Blog Series

Understanding FinTech #Transformation: In this FIFTH of a five part video blog series Jim Jockle, CMO of Numerix sits down with Paul Rowady, Director of Research at Alphacution to discuss the concept of #Transformation. Jim and Paul provide their perspectives on the latest examples of transformation they’re observing in the financial services industry specifically around the cross section of IT spending trends, software vs hardware investment, human capital expense, IT infrastructure, data management and risk analytics innovations. The five segments cover: Defining #Transformation within Financial Services Quantifying #Transformation The Cost of #Transformation #Transformation and TCO: Hewlett Packard Enterprise & Deutsche Bank Case Study Investing in #Transformation: What’s the ROI? Video 5:  Investing in #Transformation: What’s the ROI? Jim: Hi welcome back to Numerix video blog, I’m your host Jim Jockle. Joining me today Paul Rowady, director of research at Alphacution. Hey Paul. Paul: Good to be here. Jim: We’ve been talking a lot about quantifying transformation. In our last segment we just talked about kind of a use case or [...]

By | 2018-02-28T16:36:50+00:00 May 17th, 2016|Alphacution Feed|

#DigitalMantra: The Key to Operational Agility

Clear your mind and repeat after me: “I am a revenue center.” Again: “I am a revenue center.” Again: “I am a revenue center.” Practice this mantra until it influences your perspective on your own work. I actually tried this stunt at the end of a presentation to an audience of data specialists and related personnel at a recent FIMA Canada conference. Though there appeared to be a quiet skepticism at such an unorthodox request from the stage, a surprisingly large portion of the group seemed to get the liberating nature of the exercise. A few actually participated in the audible! Others, we can only guess, participated in their heads. Either method is fine. In any case, the genesis for the need for such a realignment of perspective comes from the fact that many of us have been “sold” the idea (by management) that we are part of the cost structure; that we are part of the organizational algorithm where only expenses exist. However, in order for optimal operational agility [...]

By | 2018-02-28T16:39:26+00:00 November 10th, 2015|Alphacution Feed|