Six Huge Risks Investment Managers Take When Using Spreadsheets for Client Fee Billing

June 05, 2019

 

By Doug Fritz

It’s natural to choose a familiar tool to make tasks easier, and turning to spreadsheet applications for calculations is no exception. In the investment management world, financial services teams, CFOs and operations teams often use spreadsheets for client fee calculation and billing. While the endless formulas, worksheet linking, and cross-tab capabilities may make spreadsheets a good choice at first, firms will quickly realize how much complexity and risk they end up creating. 

Investment managers must be able to prove the accuracy of their calculations and how access to the data is controlled. When selecting the method for calculating fees and billing clients, care should be taken to ensure the platform provides flexible and consistent fee calculation, fee collection capabilities, audit tracking and data security, external system interfaces and analytical reporting. Hands down, spreadsheets offer limited ability to meet these requirements.

Here are six substantial risks investment managers take when they use spreadsheets for client fee calculation, billing and cash flow management.

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Electra Blog Posts, Electra Information Systems, fund administrator, fee calculations, Electra Billing, Advisory Fee Billing, Investment Firms, Investment Managers

How Investment Firms Can Rise Above the SEC's Six Most Frequent Issues with Advisory Fee Billing

May 21, 2019

By Doug Fritz

It has been about a year since the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced a risk alert that “Most Frequent Advisory Fee and Expense Compliance Issues Identified in Examinations of Investment Advisers.” Such inappropriate fee billing and expense practices may violate the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and the rules implementing it, including anti-fraud provisions. Since the SEC announced the risk alert, there have been numerous fines and penalties charged to firms who have overbilled clients, whether intentional or not.

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Electra Blog Posts, Buy-Side Technology, Electra Information Systems, fund administrator, fee calculations, SEC Compliance, SEC, Electra Billing, Advisory Fee Billing, Investment Firms, automation

4 Reasons Why Hedge Funds Should Shadow Their Fund Administrator

April 30, 2019

by Todd Sloan

One of the most important responsibilities of the fund administrator is to calculate the fund net asset valuation (NAV). Before calculating the official NAV, the fund administrator must ensure the accuracy of the data by way of reconciling the investment manager’s data against that of the prime broker or custodian. Fund administrators are well-versed in the different ways that a NAV should be calculated and the need to agree with investment managers on the methodology to be used before posting an official NAV.

The question is, why does the investment manager need to reconcile the makeup and accuracy of their NAV if a service provider or fund administrator is already performing reconciliation? After speaking with several operations professionals across the hedge fund space, we identified four main reasons why an investment manager should shadow their service provider or fund administrator:

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Electra Blog Posts, Buy-Side Technology, Reconciliation Solution, Electra Information Systems, reconciliation, shadow accounting, Hedge Funds, NAV, fund administrator, Data Reconciliation

Improving Efficiency in the Reconciliation Investigation Process

February 25, 2019

by Todd Sloan, SVP Product Management

Most reconciliation solutions provide the data normalization and matching capabilities needed to identify and categorize exceptions. These features have helped buy-side firms to streamline post processing and improve the quality of financial records. However, the reconciliation process can become cumbersome when an exception is identified, and the investigation process begins. It is at this moment when different data sources (such as corporate actions, failed trades, collateral, missing funds, etc.) need to be accessed to troubleshoot a break and determine the root cause of an exception. The time and effort taken to open different applications and web pages, rummage through the information, and then research and manually compare results diminishes the productivity of the operations team or IT staff.

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Electra Blog Posts, Buy-Side Technology, Operations Management, Reconciliation Solution, Electra Information Systems, reconciliation

Bad Recs Can Halt Office Growth: Q&A

August 07, 2018

FTF News by Eugene Grygo

John Landry, CEO of Electra Information Systems, talks to FTF News about industry issues and why the company won the Best Reconciliation Solution award for the third time in a row in 2018.

(Growth can be a double-edged sword for some securities firms as it will bring in new revenues and the potential for more profits. However, incumbent systems and operations will have to be adjusted to meet the new demands of the front office. So says John Landry, CEO of Electra Information Systems, in an interview with FTF News. The need to scale operations to manage the growing demands of portfolio managers and others in the front office has been a big driver for overhauls of reconciliation systems. Landry spoke to us about Electra's selection as Best Reconciliation Solution for three years in a row, and other matters.)

Why did Electra embark upon four major client-driven changes in 2017 — enhancements for pending trades, approval workflow, auditing and historical data accessibility, and event-driven reconciliation? 

Electra views our clients as an extension of our own product management team and the features added in 2017 were the result of that partnership. Our clients identified areas of opportunity that could provide maximum time-saving for their staff and we worked closely with them to enhance Electra Reconciliation to address each.

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Electra Blog Posts, FTF News, Reconciliation Solution, Electra Information Systems

Electra Information Systems Intraday Reconciliation Functionality Increases Accuracy Throughout the Day

June 21, 2018

 Electra Reconciliation increases efficiency at London-based asset manager

NEW YORK –June 21, 2018 -- Electra Information Systems (Electra), the leading provider of state-of-the-art reconciliation solutions for the asset management industry, today announced that London-based Cardano has implemented Electra Reconciliation to support intraday reconciliation to increase efficiency and eliminate risks associated with waiting until the next day for exceptions to be resolved.

Intraday reconciliation has become increasingly important as managers accelerate the frequency at which they process reconciliation data and move away from overnight file processing. Electra’s intraday reconciliation capability addresses the risks associated with waiting until tomorrow to resolve exceptions identified today. Electra utilizes a proprietary algorithm that identifies and excludes duplicate data while allowing true reconciliation updates to enter the workflow. This approach to delta identification eliminates the importing of erroneous exceptions and the time lost investigating them. Electra Reconciliation also manages the migration of exception management-related material between the historical data in the solution and all incoming delta updates. This important feature safeguards the integrity of the investigation audit trail.

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Electra Blog Posts, Reconciliation Solution, Intraday

Electra Wins FTF Award for "Best Reconciliation Solution"

May 16, 2018

Electra Information Systems'
Third Consecutive Win for “Best Reconciliation Solution”
in the FTF News Technology Innovation Awards 2018

New York – May 16, 2018 – Electra Information Systems (Electra), the most innovative provider of proven post-trade solutions for the asset management industry, has won the 2018 FTF News Technology Innovation award in the category “Best Reconciliation Solution”.


 The FTF News Technology Innovation Awards 2018 are presented by Financial Technologies Forum and FTF News. Winners are selected by a popular vote of FTF News readers and industry participants, verified by a panel of judges.

“Winning the FTF Award for the third consecutive year validates Electra’s passion for innovation and delivering superior technology and demonstrates the loyalty of our customers and their enthusiasm for our products,” said John Landry, CEO Electra. “Electra and its clients are fully engaged in a true partnership where everyone is valued and we greatly appreciate our clients taking the time to cast their votes for Electra Reconciliation again this year.”

Electra is the largest independent provider of reconciliation solutions specialized for the buy-side and Electra Reconciliation has been nominated as Best Reconciliation Solution every year since the inception of the awards.

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Electra Blog Posts, FTF News, Buy-Side Technology

Machine Learning vs. Intelligent Integration?

March 14, 2018

During a recent meeting, a prospective client reiterated just how much time they spend every day resolving exceptions. Most of the vendors they met with prior to Electra were touting improvements made to matching rates through machine learning or another technology innovation. This prospect questioned the actual time they would save in the investigation process by increasing match rates for their holdings and transactions data by a few tenths of a percent. Instead, our prospect saw through the buzzwords and noted that the vast majority of their exceptions are true breaks that often require them to leave the reconciliation application to diagnose why the break occurred and what steps are needed for resolution. 

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Electra Blog Posts, Reconciliation Solution, Electra Information Systems

Electra Reconciliation — Tackling Your Complicated Recon Needs

November 22, 2017

We recently met with a large hedge fund who is looking to replace their reconciliation solution. Their problem is a common one where they have outgrown the capabilities of their current reconciliation platform. At the time when they purchased the tool, the reconciliation requirements were straightforward as they simply needed to reconcile long/short equities between themselves and their prime brokers.

Like many others in the alternative investment management space, our hedge fund prospect has grown their assets by capturing the attention of institutional investors and by expanding their investment strategy to include more esoteric asset classes. After taking in more institutional money, the hedge fund decided to enlist the services of a fund administrator who will help them demonstrate greater transparency. By opening up their trading strategy to include more asset classes, the hedge fund now deals with more internal systems and additional challenges related to reference data being stored across several silos.

Why would adding a fund administrator and additional asset classes cause a problem for their current reconciliation solution? For many of you who have gone down this path, the answer is obvious. Upon introducing an additional reconciliation source (fund administrator) and new internal systems meant to support the trading of esoteric assets, the prospect went from a simple one-to-one reconciliation requirement to needing true N-way reconciliation capabilities like those found in Electra Reconciliation. Their first goal is to perform a three-way reconciliation between their accounting system, prime brokers, and fund administrator. This eliminates configuring and managing two separate reconciliation processes (A to B and A to C) that are littered with redundancy. Their second goal is to reconcile security master information held in their data warehouse (golden record), OMS, accounting system, employee compliance and risk management systems. This assures staff that everyone is using the last security master information which removes unnecessary investigation work related to security identifiers.

Electra Reconciliation takes the pain out of identifying breaks when there are more than two systems. Its innovative, user configurable data dictionary allows our clients to tackle any type of reconciliation data. By eliminating the need to perform several one-to-one reconciliations, they remove redundancy in the reconciliation process, which lowers overall operational costs through a reduction in their cost per transaction. If you are a growing investment manager looking to move away from an inefficient reconciliation process where three or more data sources are being reconciled, we welcome the opportunity to assist you.

(Todd Sloan — Electra Reconciliation, Product Management)

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Electra Blog Posts

Electra Data — Electra Data and Custodian System Migrations

October 26, 2017

Day over day consistency in data delivery is an important part of choosing a data aggregation and delivery service.

Recently, a custodian from a major bank went through a system migration. The consequence of this migration was that many data points changed and clients using their platform were negatively affected because their feeds no longer matched their internal templates.

By contrast, customers of Electra Data were not affected by the change because our data aggregation is set up with a separate SFTP channel, which is not only secure but unchanging. Electra Data customers are unaffected by events that would normally cause downstream problems during upgrades and maintenance at custodians.

(Tiffany Bula — Electra Data, Account Manager)

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Client Testimonials

Tammy L. Johnson, Globeflex Capital L.P.
We’ve now been a client for over 11 years and the relationship remains strong. Electra keeps us well informed, continuously innovating and adding functionality. Electra provides information on the latest versions which allows us to take advantage of the latest enhancements as our business requirements change and evolve.
Tammy L. Johnson, Globeflex Capital L.P.

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