Can Your Smartphone Make You Smarter? Mobility Applications for Institutional Investors

Barbara_Arnold_SS&CGuest Contributor: Barbara Arnold, Vice President, Product Management, SS&C Technologies, Inc.

Imagine you are an asset manager on the way to visit your largest client for your quarterly portfolio review. Now let’s imagine that big news hits the business world and the Yen takes a tumble, devaluing all of your Yen positions. While you know that the client is invested in the Yen, you don’t know the extent or the impact on the portfolio.  You are in a taxi and armed only with your smartphone and your iPad. Go.

Situations like this do happen and when you meet with your client you want to be on top of the situation before they even ask—they need to know that you know. First, you need to know that the big news hit and that the Yen has taken a tumble; second, you need to know that the client has investments in the Yen; and third, you need to be able to quickly calculate the impact. Since you have your phone and iPad the first hurdle is easy. Mobile devices are great for keeping up with news. You can also assume that, since you’re meeting your largest client, you have a sense of their portfolio mix of your client and know they have exposure to the Yen – but how much?

If you have a web portal you can probably look up the latest position reports on your iPad and then do some quick calculations to give you an idea of the impact. That’s good, and helpful, but is it enough? Can your mobile devices give you more? How do you make your smartphone even smarter?

Consumer applications for mobile devices can do everything from regulate the temperature in your home, help you monitor your banking and other financial accounts and even manage your health. The beauty of mobile devices is that they: a) are small and convenient to carry around; b) run on networks that are getting faster so information access is instantaneous; and c) naturally expose data from multiple sources with access to the web.

Let’s imagine some possibilities. In the best of all worlds, your “systems” trigger an alert and send you a text that the Yen has dropped and there is an impact on your client portfolios. Using your smartphone or iPad you can link into your portfolio data and look at the exposure across your clients (and particularly for the client you are on the way to visit) and calculate the impact on the Yen positions and on the total portfolio. Better yet, you can ask your smartphone or tablet to tell you those facts and perhaps e-mail them to you. You walk into your meeting with the client and can immediately show them you are on top of the situation.

While some companies may have some form of these tools today, they probably don’t have all of the automatic triggers to link an external event with a change in valuation. This is valuable – and, it starts with having systems that allow you to combine and “mine” external data with your portfolio management and accounting data. This gets the data into your hands (and head) so you spend your time analyzing the situation and not gathering the data. And it’s not limited to just the front office. The concept can apply at every level of your organization, from the operations staff who reconcile with your custodian bank and the IT team that supports your investment platform to your investment management, accounting and IT management teams.

Getting to this level requires that we rethink how we approach data consumption. What are the key data elements? What is the best way to combine them with triggers coming from external sources? How can we alert stakeholders at every level (as needed) that something has happened in the universe that affects them today? At the same time, we need to recognize that presenting such information on mobile devices requires it to be distilled down to consumable “byte-sized” pieces that really drive your portfolio and your operations. This is the exercise that will make the smartphone in your pocket, and ultimately you, even smarter.


Attend ReCon New York on October 22, 2013 to hear more from SS&C Technologies.  Leading experts in the area of reconciliations & exception management will discuss key issues such as typical reconciliation pitfalls to avert, portfolio reconciliation in the post regulatory environment, and how to get better reconciliation accuracy, efficiency and reporting.  Paul Change of SS&C Technologies will be featured on the session Why Better Ops Data Management Matters for Recs.

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