By Ken Akoundi
“Ignoring facts does not make them go away.”
— Fran Tarkenton
Technologically speaking, something has happened in the last few years. The long-term investor community has gone through a shift: they are upgrading their investment office technology out of the 1990s into the 2010s. What does this mean for asset managers and service providers? This paper focuses on the changes and the way it has and will continue to affect their interaction with their investors (LPs).
By Ken Akoundi and kartik uchil
“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
It has been increasingly apparent that investment offices need to define certain basics to have a more efficient dialogue with vendors. Without it, ample time is spent defining, in mid-conversation, what each party means and expects by the specific terminology.
In all contexts, I refer to Long-Term Investors, a term I first picked up from Ashby Monk and reflecting the fact that these institutions are built to operate for a very long time, say the next 100 years. …
By Ken Akoundi and Kartik Uchil 
“We have to understand the ubiquity of energy in everything we do.”
- Ernest Moniz
The Selfish theme has been on my mind, thinking of one of my earlier readings, Selfish Gene, where all genes by definition and for survival have to take a self-preserving stance. An article in the Collaborative Fund called Selfish Writing, based on a Barry Ritholtz interview with the revered Howard Marks, rung closer to home, and brought a confluence of thoughts and ideas. …
Originally appeared in the June 2009 Edition of Journal of Risk (Defunct).
Risk management is relatively simple in its essence: what is the probability of an event occurring, and, if it happens how badly will it hurt? However, if we consider how we estimate probabilities and losses, the answers to these seemingly simple questions become complicated very quickly. To estimate the size of losses, risk managers have increasingly turned to valuation models, some of which are well entrenched and are taught as gospel at many MBA and CFA programs despite their deficiencies. For probabilities, on other hand, we now rely…
By Ken Akoundi and Kartik Uchil
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” ― Socrates
It has been increasingly apparent that investment offices need to define certain basic definitions to have a more efficient dialogue. Without it, ample time is spent defining, in mid-conversation, what each party means by the specific terminology.
This particular piece is about knowledge and its definition. The investment office, the amalgamation of processes, people, and policies can be viewed as a manufacturing plant. One that manufactures Alpha. In that, it focuses on constantly becoming more efficient.
Professor Ashby Monk suggests that the…
By Ken Akoundi and Josh Smith
“I’m a very strong believer in listening and learning from others.”
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“We are not perfect, nor should we pretend to be.”
- Dr. Travis Bradberry
Most institutional investors have been or will be exposed to a technology decision at some point in their tenure. Those of you who have been involved in technology selection and implementation know these projects can be challenging and that vendors vary not only in software competency levels but implementation competency. The goal with this white-paper is to provide insights on potential challenges and best practices…
By Ken Akoundi and Kartik Uchil
Truth is ever to be found in simplicity,
and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.
- Isaac Newton
With one of our CIO clients, we were discussing the Investec vendors we had recently been considering and how annoying it was that they kept on using different nomenclature to describe the markets they served. Here is a typical conversation.
-CIO: “can you tell us how many clients you have?”
- Salesperson: “250 asset managers”
- CIO: “how many pensions?”
- Salesperson: “2. But we have 25 Fund of Funds”
We have all heard…
A cheeky interpretation of investment office problems
“it’s the engines captain she can’t take much more of this “.
Long-term investment offices often suffer from endemic technology and operations processes. Some are cognizant of the problem; others bury their head in the sand and hide behind a veil of “busy-ness.” For the latter group, there are some sure signs that the problem is present and serious. With the arrival of COVID, problems have become even more apparent.
It’s Lonely at the Top: Do you feel you have enough people in your investment office? You have more than $700MM…
Selling is something we do for our clients — not to our clients.
- Zig Ziglar
The Long-Term Investors (also known as allocators) constitute an elusive and potentially large market opportunity (i.e., think every Family Office, Endowment, Foundation, Pension, and Sovereign Wealth Fund -in all 30k+ entities controlling over 70 Trillion of assets, as proposed by some) for all technology firms.
The Investec landscape (a subset of FinTech) is littered by firms of all sizes and maturities, from startups to public firms, to formerly public (and now PE-owned); From a two-man shop (w 4 developers in Estonia) to those with…
“In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost.”
― Dante Alighieri, Inferno
If an institutional investment professional were to be guided through Hell (a la Dante’s Inferno), he would pass by five circles of torment … all of which would contain colleagues frantically checking calendars and clocks, desperate to get through to-do lists that grow faster than items can be checked off. Time is indeed a valuable commodity, and the lack of it can be hell on earth.
While the only way out of the Inferno…