RiskFirst, a UK-based risk analytics provider, is building out its business in the US with the support of partner Winklevoss Technologies and early client wins with its PFaroe real-time, web-based valuation, analytics and reporting platform at Rocaton Investment Advisors and Nuveen Asset Management.
The company, formerly known as PensionsFirst, introduced PFaroe in the UK market in 2009 as a risk management platform for defined benefit pension plans. In 2012, it expanded the platform to license it to intermediaries selling products and services to defined benefit pension plan sponsors.
With 380 pension plans using the platform in the UK, RiskFirst is partnering with technology provider and distributor Winklevoss Technologies in an effort to replicate its success in the US.
Rocaton Investment Advisors, the first investment advisory consulting firm to adopt PFaroe in the US, is using the platform to help its clients better analyse and manage pension plan risk. Joe Nankof, consultant and partner at Rocaton, says: “PFaroe’s asset, liability and risk analytics provide a holistic view of clients’ plans built on a robust analytical framework. We are confident PFaroe will enhance dialogue with our clients and enable them to implement decisions more effectively by directly accessing real-time reporting and enhanced analytic capabilities.”
Nuveen Asset Management will use PFaroe to develop and deliver customised investment strategies to institutional clients, particularly defined benefit pension plans, in anticipation of a $1 trillion move from equities to long duration bonds over the next five years. David Wilson, managing director and head of the institutional solutions group at Nuveen Asset Management, says: “As we built our technology platform, we found there were good analytics systems on the asset side, and good pension liability systems, but there were very few systems that pulled both sides of the equation together on one platform – something we deemed essential to efficiently design liability driven investment strategies on behalf of clients. PFaroe does this, while also offering insight into the key risks pension plans should be concerned with.”
RiskFirst has identified three types of potential PFaroe users in the US – investment consultants, actuarial consultants, and asset managers building investment funds for pension plans – and says the platform can replace disparate, often Excel-based analytics solutions with a single view of consistent and consolidated analytics.
RiskFirst is a Microsoft shop that uses SQL databases and high-performance computing grids for computation and web-based technologies for data delivery. Matthew Seymour, managing director at RiskFirst, explains: “PFaroe has the power to aggregate liability, asset and risk information that is typically held in silos on one platform and run analytics on a consistent set of assumptions. Users can look at any pillar of information, combine asset and liability data for stress testing, or calculate risk across the net asset value of a pension plan.”
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