March 2012

RISK MANGEMENT SURVEY: It’s all about treading carefully

BeartrapRisk system vendors tell Funds Europe what the major risk-based challenges for fund manager are and how prepared they are to provide support. Compiled by Nicholas Pratt.

Algorithmics
Product: Portfolio construction and risk management for hedge funds – risk and reporting edition
Spokesperson: Martin Botha, director, buy-side solutions

What is the single biggest risk-based issue that will affect buy-side firms in 2012?

Higher quality and more transparent stakeholder reporting was on every regulator’s list of requirements in 2011 – Alternative Investment and Managers Directive (Aifmd) , Dodd-Frank, Ucits IV.

In 2012, we see stakeholder reporting as the key challenge that buy-side firms will begin to address. Stakeholders include not just the regulators, who are driving the need for more frequent and higher quality risk reporting, but also investors who, post-Madoff, have no tolerance for weak governance of the funds managing their assets. In addition, hedge funds, keen to reap returns from their investment in external reporting, are extending their internal risk and investment reporting to provide fund managers with risk analytics for risk-aware fund management.

How have you adapted or upgraded your risk products to deal with this issue?

Algorithmics launched a reporting edition of its buy-side solution in 2011 that meets the increasing need for cost-effective risk reporting and incorporates advanced risk analytics to achieve regulatory compliance, support better investment decisions and enhance investor confidence. This solution provides hedge funds with a choice of any of three pre-configured comprehensive risk reports. These include regulatory reports, designed to comply with present and future regulatory requirements while supporting appropriate levels of transparency; investor reports, for better communication with clients; and investment reports, to provide managers with analytics to better manage their fund(s) from a risk measurement, portfolio construction and decision support perspective.

Calypso
Product: Calypso Portfolio
Spokesperson: Paul Kegelmeyer, managing director, business strategy and development

What is the single biggest risk-based issue that will affect buy-side firms in 2012?

It is the same issue that is hitting the entire capital markets structure, which is the incorporation of counterparty risk into every aspect of the business. Counterparty risk is the driving force behind the macro movements toward central counterparty clearing, toward adoption of common industry databases for legal entity identifiers and global trade repositories, toward moving collateral management and optimisation out of the back-office and rewriting all pricing toward credit based differentiated pricing. The textbook method for pricing a swap we all learned in college is officially obsolete – this is a once-in-a-generation shift of pricing and processes on OTC [over the counter] derivatives.

How have you adapted or upgraded your risk products to deal with this issue?

Calypso’s response to this issue has mirrored the market’s response – to move the treatment of counterparty risk into every aspect of our solution. Calypso’s solution has been upgraded to support credit-differentiated pricing leveraging OIS  [overnight indexed swap] discounting, counterparty-specific pricing, and moving CVA [credit value adjustment] into the deal initiation function. Calypso has also made collateral management and collateral optimisation tools available to the buy-side user to allow cash and securities to be organised (and prime brokers selected) for more efficient borrowing, while maintaining credit limits.

Finanalytica
Product: Cognity
Spokesperson: David Merrill, chief executive officer

What is the single biggest risk-based issue that will affect buy-side firms in 2012?

Competition between investor needs and regulator mandates will be the driving risk-based issue in 2012. Sadly, investor demand for transparent risk models and processes that go beyond marketing hype and check-the-box reporting will get the short end of the stick as resources are siphoned off to meet the myriad of regulatory requirements from Solvency II, Ucits and Dodd-Frank. Asset managers that pull off the trick by outsourcing or delegating regulatory compliance and enhance focus on the ultimate investor with non-trivial risk management advances that reflect the new reality of high and persistent volatility will have a clear advantage.

How have you adapted or upgraded your risk products to deal with this issue?

Responding to the loud call from the market for clear and accurate tail risk estimates across multi-asset class portfolios, FinAnalytica continues to enhance our patented award-winning fat-tailed risk measurement models. Facilitating transparency, Cognity has new dashboard reporting offering side-by-side comparisons of fat-tailed risk analytics alongside traditional methods. New flexible what-ifs and backtesting show the potential pre-trade impacts. Workflow improvements that focus on aggregated views of risk and return potential across disparate assets classes, including alternatives and private equity, enable asset managers to more effectively control their enterprise risk and more efficiently engage their boards, regulators and investors.

Quantifi
Product: Quantifi Risk
Spokesperson: Rohan Douglas, CEO

What is the single biggest risk-based issue that will affect buy-side firms in 2012?

The biggest issue is cost pressure. Implementing new regulations will increase this pressure and may result in higher transaction fees, wider bid-offer spreads, lower liquidity, more complex valuation, and more detailed reporting. The increased complexity of even vanilla OTC products places more demands on risk systems and makes their implementation more challenging and expensive. The requirement is now live comprehensive risk management based on valuations incorporating OIS/CSA [credit support annex] discounting and CVA, integrated with STP [straight-through processing] trading linked to central clearing. Despite all this, buy-side firms must be prepared to invest in systems in an environment where capital and cost need to be closely controlled.

How have you adapted or upgraded your risk products to deal with this issue?

In this environment our buy-side clients need increasingly sophisticated risk management and valuation. We have a long track record of first to market with all the major innovations in the OTC markets including OIS/CSA discounting and CVA pricing. We have also invested significantly in expanded trade and data connectivity to support central clearing, and more sophisticated reporting to support more detailed investor and regulatory requirements. Expanded reporting includes all the new regulatory metrics and capital charges calculations, based on both standard as well as Internal Model Method formulae.

Misys
Product: Sophis Value
Spokesperson: Sylvian Privat, product manager

What is the single biggest risk-based issue that will affect buy-side firms in 2012?

The most significant for European buy-side firms is going to be the indirect impact of Solvency II on the investment management industry. It is now clear that insurance companies will have to rethink the way they manage their assets in order to mitigate their solvency capital requirements. Opportunities will arise for investment companies that provide a product offer that includes the solvency capital requirement (SCR) vision. The challenge in 2012 will be to deliver adapted solutions for insurance companies that rely on a standard solvency model by providing full transparency, option-based capital guarantees or structured products.

How have you adapted or upgraded your risk products to deal with this issue?

Our solution enables investment companies to perform the risk measures required by Solvency II standard models. This provides the architecture needed to build new and innovative products dedicated to institutional investment companies aiming to optimise their SCR. Furthermore, Misys Sophis has partnered with alternative management companies, such as Lyxor Asset Management, to build a platform to launch and manage structured funds, continuous portfolio protection insurance and net asset value [Nav] target funds. The enhancements address risk management, streamlined front-office decision support, pre-trade compliance and operational risk mitigation and improve efficiency with a Nav control module.

MSCI Barra
Product: Liquidity Risk Reporting Service
Spokesperson: Jonathan Hudacko

What is the single biggest risk-based issue that will affect buy-side firms in 2012?

Regardless of the specifics of recent market events, liquidity risk has been a consistent theme and the industry still lacks a set of objective standards for measuring asset liquidity. Though models for optimal execution in equity trading exist, there is a need for a common measurement standard across other asset classes, particularly fixed income, that are appropriate beyond a very short trading horizon.

How have you adapted or upgraded your risk products to deal with this issue?

MSCI released the first phase of its liquidity risk reporting service based on RiskMetrics LiquidityMetrics methodology in January 2012. We will continue the initiative throughout the year by expanding beyond the fixed income and equity asset classes to provide an advanced liquidity analytics offering that will be fully integrated with RiskMetrics products and services.

Simcorp
Product: SimCorp Dimension
Spokesperson: Karl Dait, assistant vice president, head of global product marketing

What is the single biggest risk-based issue that will affect buy-side firms in 2012?

New regulation comes into force in the next twelve months: Dodd-Frank, Solvency II and European Market Infrastructure Regulation [Emir], which will require firms to be accountable for various factors, including market risk. This is a big challenge for firms whose systems’ architecture has grown organically and now have a number of disparate systems. Such configurations lack the transparency required by this new regulation. Many have tried master data management initiatives to consolidate data, without success. A recent survey of 92 executives from North American buy-side firms revealed that 67.4% believed that there is significant effort involved in reconciling data between disparate systems and sources.

How have you adapted or upgraded your risk products to deal with this issue?

SimCorp Dimension’s architecture is based on a core database that supports all instruments across all departments. This architecture has facilitated the addition of counterparty and credit risk facilities.  The counterparty risk facility enables data to be pulled together across a portfolio to assess counterparty exposure. The credit risk function supports liquid instruments, such as equities and bonds, as well as more complex instruments, like derivatives, and brings all this data together for the new central clearing party requirements – essential to comply with Dodd-Frank and EMIR. SimCorp has also evaluated all risk models and upgraded them to meet the new legislation requirements.

Statpro
Product: StatPro Revolution
Spokesperson: Dario Cintoli, product director

What is the single biggest risk-based issue that will affect buy-side firms in 2012?

If it is not regulation, whether it is the Ucits framework or Dodd-Frank, then it would be increased scrutiny by investors on asset managers. Either way, investors are increasingly asking for more transparency as managers find different ways to generate excess returns in more unpredictable markets, in particular, the credit market. Understandably, these managers should concentrate on what they do best, namely manage money. Complying with regulation or providing transparent risk reports involves significant investment in technology and expertise.

How have you adapted or upgraded your risk products to deal with this issue?

At StatPro, we have developed a new model that is centred on this investor requirement. Our service-based cloud solution alleviates the technological burden from asset managers and provides investors with the advanced analytics that they need. The combination of StatPro Revolution and a bureau service is a unique solution in which investors can clearly see the drivers of their portfolio’s risk in an easily-understandable format which is backed-up by complex models that are at the forefront of quantitative finance.

Sungard
Product: SunGard APT
Spokesperson: Robert Mackay, chief operating officer

What is the single biggest risk-based issue that will affect buy-side firms in 2012?

Late last year, we conducted a poll of buy-side firms globally to find the risk-based issues that will be top of the agenda in 2012. We found that regulation, liquidity risk and the ability to foster a risk culture are the main challenges faced. In addition, the need for multi-asset class risk management – more than 80% of respondents rate multi-asset class coverage as either important or very important in 2012. Yet many firms still use multiple risk systems to cover all asset classes, resulting in a fragmented and siloed view of risk across the organisation.

How have you adapted or upgraded your risk products to deal with this issue?

APT is already widely used to comply with regulation such as Ucits and country-specific reporting requirements. To help with this year’s liquidity risk challenge, we added a new liquidity risk tool to our suite. To help with multi-asset class coverage, APT has expanded its extensive asset class coverage to include a vast universe of emerging market bonds, in addition to its specialist commodities and private equity risk models. To help firms create better risk cultures, we have rolled out more tools that enable firms to put risk at the heart of the investment process – and demonstrate this to investors.

Wolters Kluwer Financial services
Product: FRS Global
Spokesperson: Ioannis Akkizidis, global product manager

What is the single biggest risk-based issue that will affect buy-side firms in 2012?

During 2012, buy-side firms will continue phasing losses in the value of their assets; this will be due to market fluctuation but, more importantly, this will be due to the expansion of counterparty risk. The latter is a result of systemic risk which will increase the credit spreads in most credit portfolios. Significant political decisions are also expected but the behaviour of the market under such stress and volatile conditions will be harder to anticipate. The loss in values of assets will directly impact the income as well as the liquidity strength of the institutions.

How have you adapted or upgraded your risk products to deal with this issue?

Our solutions provide all the tools needed to apply integrated stress scenarios where market, counterparty/ credit and behaviour risk parameters can be combined for analysing their impact in value, income and liquidity. The results can be reported from high level to detailed contract/instrument level (top-down to bottom-up views). Thus, we can provide institutions with a global view on the actual and future status of their portfolios and accounts.

©2012 funds europe