Investment funds come in numerous shapes and sizes. Mutual, pension, hedge, ETF and the list goes on. But at the end of the day, a fund is a fund and from a manager’s point of view there are some common elements to them all. Within this commonality can also be found some shared administrative issues.
The life of a fund manager…
Funds can be structured in a number of different ways and for various purposes. As the fund manager you’re in charge of managing both the day to day and long term operations of the fund. You decide how to invest the money, allocate assets, diversify risk and balance the portfolio. Other aspects of running the fund would include marketing to potential investors, implementing procedures and policies in the office and establishing ethical standards for the business. When you add treasury activity, negotiating ISDA agreements and other administrative tasks, it’s fair to say you’re juggling a few balls.
Chances are you’re also supported by a large number of staff. This could include people to focus on monitoring stock values, opportunity research teams, and personnel maintaining ethical standards and compliance, not to mention personal assistants and other back office workers. On top of all that, you probably need to run your ideas by an investment committee consisting of the CFO, CIO and other investment managers.
And lest we forget, decisions need to be made using portfolio theory. Clients need to be attracted using and refining the four Ps on investment (performance, philosophy, process and people) which in themselves can be somewhat esoteric. The perfect balance of the four are achieved over time with good people doing good work.
Point is, managing an investment fund isn’t as simple as picking good looking stocks from a hat; it’s a well founded and complex process involving lots of people and plenty of administration. So, with that said, how can such a significantly collaborative operation be streamlined with an enterprise collaboration platform?
The over-arching benefit is being able to carry out business (whatever it may be and with whomever it may be) in a single, secure space that’s available 24/7 from any device. Now that we’ve tipped our hats to that obvious but all so important fact, let’s get specific and start by talking about communication.
Enterprise collaboration platforms offer an array of social tools that allow you to communicate with stakeholders (such as employees, regulators, banks, investors and so on) in numerous ways. Blogs and wikis allow you broadcast messages to groups and individuals, invite them to comment and notify them of updates. No more emails lost in the wind and forgetting to Cc the right people.
Perhaps you need to generate some investment ideas. Kick off a brain storming session on a wiki and invite your team to give their thoughts and make amendments to develop and refine the idea. Do your best ideas sometimes hit you in the middle of night? No problem, simply update the wiki via your phone there and then. By the morning it could have evolved into the next sure thing. Improve client and stakeholder relations via a blog. Update them and invite their feedback on important fund information, stock picks and market commentary.
Potential investors are going to have lots of questions before signing up. Why not systemise the question/answer process with a Q&A module. For example, create ‘Four Ps’ categories so similar questions are bundled up and answered by the appropriate people in an orderly way. No more repeating the same answer, and, internal sign off ensures answers are checked for veracity.
Next let’s talk about workflow tools. A good enterprise collaboration platform will offer a tasks module that allows you designate jobs, and then follow up on them using reminders and alerts. Perhaps your fund doesn’t allow any cash drag so excess cash must be put into money market funds, structured deposits and fixed deposits (as examples). The tasks module will ensure the deadline for such deposits are met.
An events module is also a great tool that should be on offer. Plan meetings, functions and investor events, add participants and track responses. Send email notifications as reminders and make sure you’re where you’re supposed to be and on time.
Spreadsheet & database tools
Finally in workflow tools, a spreadsheet/database module will make number crunching a walk in the park. Create comprehensive asset portfolios which can be viewed according to specific parameters, whether it’s in order of market cap, shares issued, PE ratio and more. Picking the right stock is the difference between profit and loss, and a spreadsheet/database module will mitigate your risk exposure via meticulous analysis and research.
File sharing & document metadata
Now, no enterprise collaboration platform is complete without a secure file sharing module. This pretty much speaks for itself, but really good software will offer a robust document metadata functionality within file sharing. For example, you and your team will need to store and share thousands of company prospectuses, containing various types of information on each company. Things like PE ratios, industry type, which index they trade on, which country they are based in, how old they are, so on and so forth. With document metadata you can upload these prospectuses and tag them with such meta information. Then later, if you need to find all prospectuses for companies with a certain PE ratio (for example), you can do it instantly by scanning the appropriate meta tag.So there you have it, just a few ways a good enterprise collaboration platform can help you manage your investment fund with ease, efficiency and dare we say, panache.