Funds Europe talks to Amundi Services about the extension of its ALTO* offering for discretionary portfolio management and advisory.
Amundi Services is extending its ALTO* portfolio management system (PMS) platform with Discretionary Portfolio Management and Advisory (DPM&A) functionalities.
First designed 15 years ago by Amundi Technology for internal use, the French asset manager made the pivotal decision to make ALTO* available in software-as-a-service (SaaS) mode to third-party asset managers and institutional investors so that they benefit from its strong culture of internal IT development.
Amundi Technology is composed of more than 650 technology experts around the world in charge of developing asset management platforms for investment, trading, middle office, retail solutions, employee savings and corporate tools.
According to Amundi Services, the demand for IT outsourcing is rising and the ALTO* platform has become a key player in the industry, with ten new clients in 2020. As the platform is growing, Amundi Services is also getting more and more requests for discretionary portfolio management through RFPs.
“Consequently, Amundi has looked to add more functionality to the platform specifically for the DPM and advisory market including wealth managers, asset managers, private banks and family offices,” says Cécile Falcon, Global Head of DPM and Advisory platform, Amundi Technology.
“This side of the market has been experimenting with big changes in the last few years, including the modification of its distribution model,” adds Christophe Bellot, Global Head of Retail Network Services.
One of the main reasons for offering ALTO* DPM & Advisory to portfolio managers and advisors in the branches in the DPM market is to meet their new challenges, says Bellot.
“Their own customers’ needs are changing. Individual investors want their own portfolio based on their own risk appetite rather than an off-the-shelf vehicle. There are also more regulatory constraints and a move from transaction-based fees to advisory fees. So everybody is transitioning their model.”
The new models have to cater for the need for more regular and transparent reporting, the need for more web-enabled functionality, and the ability to train advisors to better understand the market and subsequently offer the best services to investors.
ALTO* DPM & Advisory is a new solution to Amundi Services catalogue but neither the platform nor the firm’s relationship with the DPM market is especially new, says Falcon. “We have always had a strong relationship with this market.”
The difference is that the platform has been reinforced and improved and now, ALTO* DPM & Advisory is ready to use for external actors. Today, more than €8.5 billion in assets and 200,000 clients’ portfolios are managed through the platform.
Wealth managers, advisors and family offices often have limited technology and innovations capabilities and white-labelled platforms have not always been available on a market-wide scale. Consequently, many were left relying on in-house tools that were not robust enough to meet client needs or compliant with industry standards and best practice guidelines.
“Now the platform is cost-effective and meeting these client needs, we want a wider selection of clients to experience the benefits,” says Bellot.
The objective is to offer the best possible support to clients with their distributor networks. “This means helping them with their investment choices, granting access to new technology and covering the entire value chain” says Laureline Pascal, chief of staff of ALTO* DPM & Advisory platform.
To this end, ALTO* DPM & Advisory is a well-established allocation engine for client portfolio management, analysis and optimisation with high volume capacity. In addition, there is a digital application for advisors and end-investors, a single entry-point for users to access a full range of digital services including training for advisors, market updates, client on-boarding, financial planning services and more.
ALTO* DPM & Advisory covers a large investment universe and all asset classes. It can be used in both front and back office, says Pascal. “For example, daily real-time rebalancing can be used by individual portfolio managers as well as the back-office for data management, performances and risk controls purposes.”
In addition, the ALTO* platform offers web-based applications that can be used by bank-based advisors via smartphones and other remote devices. The front-end applications can be used within branches for advisors who work closely with clients. Those features and client profiles are fully integrated with banks, custodians and fund administrators on one side and Amundi’s back office on the other.
Wealth managers, like their asset management counterparts, are increasingly embracing the use of third-party systems from large providers such as Amundi, says Falcon. “It brings them closer to their end clients and it means they are not spending time managing operational issues.”
The ALTO* platform is available on a SaaS basis, meaning it can be offered on a modular basis, providing clients with simpler connectivity and a range of options in terms of functionality as opposed to one global platform.
“During the implementation period, we can examine the project scope while the client can get a better understanding of the platform’s capabilities and decide if they want to take on more functions,” says Pascal.
ALTO* covers the entire value chain, and the breadth of its coverage, both geographically and in terms of asset classes, helps to distinguish it from other systems, as does the platform’s flexibility.
“We are able to offer our expertise as an asset manager but we are also able to keep that modularity” says Falcon. The ALTO* platform can be used as a PMS by an asset manager or as a web-based app by an advisor or end investor, so it has the scale effect but also an improved user experience because it helps unify all breaks in the value chain when you have to employ different systems from different providers and intermediaries.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this document is deemed accurate as at 30 June 2020. Data, opinions and estimates may be changed without notice. Document issued by Amundi Asset Management, a French “société par actions simplifiée”- SAS with capital of 1 086 262 605 euros - Portfolio Management Company approved by the AMF under number GP 04000036 — Registered office: 90 boulevard Pasteur — 75015 Paris — France — 437 574 452 RCS Paris - www.amundi.com
© 2020 funds europe