2018 marks the 15th year since the mutual fund industry was rocked by the worst scandal in its history: the market timing scandal. It was in September of 2003 when New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer filed a complaint against the hedge fund Canary Capital Partners — charging they had engaged in “late trading” in collusion with a mutual fund in order to market time their trading in the fund. This was quickly followed by more charges by the New York AG as well as the SEC charging numerous mutual fund companies with allowing market timing in their funds. This scandal became a black eye for an industry that had a fairly strong track record of avoiding scandal. Read more
The relationship between a mutual fund company and its mutual fund sub-advisor is an important one. These trusted partners are relied upon for their expertise in managing strategies and products critical to the success of a fund company. Read more
Every year at NICSA’s General Membership Meeting, the top initiatives, technologies, and personalities in the asset management industry are presented with NICSA NOVA Awards. This year, we’re proud to announce that FundBlast won its “Innovation in Technology” Award, and are honored to have received this prestigious distinction. Read more
On August 31, 2018, President Trump signed an Executive Order on Strengthening Retirement Security in America. This EO directs the US Department of Labor and the Treasury to consider issuing regulations and guidance that would (1) make it easier for businesses to offer association retirement plans, also known as multiple employment plans (MEP), (2) improve the effectiveness of and reduce costs of furnishing required plan notices and disclosures, to include broader use of electronic delivery, and (3) update life expectancy and distribution period tables for purposes of required minimum distributions. Read more
As a firm dedicated to helping funds and distributors “stay ahead of the change,” we’ve been following the liquidity rule closely over the past year. Starting in the late fall of last year when ICI sent a letter to the SEC urging the regulator to delay the compliance date, to February of 2018 when the SEC did elect to grant firms a one-year extension, and continuing to present day where fund shops are in the midst of formalizing the processes needed to comply. Read more
Twenty years ago, email was coming into its own as a simple and effective solution for counterparty communications important information to large groups of people – a significant technological upgrade to faxes. For the fund industry, this has long been the standard for disseminating important information about products to the firms who distribute and service them. As the years went on, the industry has clung to the email based system ever since, despite the industry growing and becoming more complex. Read more
Last week, I attended SIFMA’s Fintech conference in New York. I sat through panels discussing the topics of the day in financial services operations – emerging technologies, the ever-evolving regulatory landscape, you name it. Overall, it was an engaging event with interesting insights into how fintech is transforming the financial services sector. As I reflected on the event and the topics explored, it became clear that many of us face the same challenges in grappling with new technologies that promise to transform the industry. Read more
Recently our firm completed the end of what can only be called an odyssey. For years, we sought to acquire the domain Deltadata.com from a company who bought up “swell sounding” domain names in the mid-nineties. Their business model may have been sound, but the execution ended up being quite poor. Despite our best efforts to reach them, we didn’t receive a response from the domain owner for more than 15 years. We felt like someone else had lost the blockchain hash key to our domain name! Read more
It’s indisputable that fintech is rapidly changing the landscape of financial services. It seems as though there’s a new innovation every day promising that Mutual Fund asset managers can leave their outdated legacy systems behind. Broker-dealers have been particularly hampered in recent years due to where they sit in the mutual fund supply chain. They are pulled in all directions, whether it’s their fund company partners adding or altering share classes or responding to demands from their investment managers around product availability, performance, and transparency. Read more
Fund Communication is Ready for an Upgrade
Tech innovation is necessary to cut the industry’s ties with legacy software, FundBlast System.
The industry’s move to an email-based system has been the only minor update to the blast fax infrastructure in the last 30 years with regards to communicating fund changes and events. The mutual fund industry is rooted in a complex data set and has embraced its own way of processing data.
Fund companies currently send thousands of emails to their distributors. Recipients of these emails must parse through each one to determine if the communication is even relevant. In the case that an email is pertinent, that firm must then figure out the appropriate changes to process and move it downstream in their organization. It is a time-consuming process that relies heavily on manual intervention, making it riddled with risk.
We recently had the privilege to host some of our clients and Mutual Fund industry leaders for a roundtable discussion in Boston. It was an opportunity for us collectively to step away from our daily workplace rituals and talk about the future of our industry. Read more