Boston-based investment management firm Eaton Vance has implemented Eagle Investment Systems’ data management and mutual fund performance solution in order to build an investment systems data warehouse. The selection of Eagle’s offering is to support the investment manager’s plans to outsource the servicing of its institutional business to Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) Asset Servicing, of which Eagle is a subsidiary.
“Just over a year ago, Eaton Vance came to market with a requirement to look at an entire enterprise wide data management solution. They wanted to service the front and middle office with regards to data and they were also in the process of outsourcing to BNY Mellon,” explains John Lehner, president of Eagle.
“It is very common for people to deploy our data management solution alongside an outsourcing decision. We have many other clients that have chosen to do this. They do that so that they can outsource the accounting functions or other functions to the provider, but then have control of the data internally for their own reporting purposes,” he says.
According to Eagle, the implementation process took a period of seven months and involved automating and centralising data. Eagle’s data management solution was chosen to improve operational efficiency and data quality, the vendor explains. “It was a very successful implementation because they were very focused on what they wanted to accomplish. They had very clear goals and most importantly very clear leadership and guidance on the project. It is very easy for the scope of these projects to increase and the focus to be lost, thus elongating the process and adding complexity,” Lehner explains.
Eaton Vance’s goals for the project included consolidating its view of assets from multiple custodians, centralising its security reference data, and distributing the data to other middle and back office systems. “It allows them to provide the required level of service to their traders and portfolio managers in the front office. It is completely transparent as to where the back office is and who is providing that service,” Lehner adds.
What was interesting is that simultaneous to this project, Eaton Vance was going through an outsourcing process, he adds. “So there were changes going on within the back office and this made things a little more complicated. They were clear about the goals of the project and every challenge they faced they were able to overcome as a result.”
John Shea, vice president and chief information officer of Eaton Vance, says: “We chose Eagle’s solution to build our investment systems data warehouse knowing we had a short timeframe to complete a complex system integration project. In collaborating with Eagle, and applying its best practices, we continue to centralise, automate, and publish our data to internal and external systems quickly and efficiently.”
The investment manager has previously worked with Eagle; in 2006, Eaton Vance selected Eagle’s ASP service, Eagle Access, for its mutual fund performance reporting. The reporting of mutual fund returns on a tax adjusted basis is an SEC requirement and Eagle was chosen to provide a hosted solution to the asset manager in order to fulfil these requirements. Lehner says: “More and more, we see clients signing with us for smaller scale projects, which eventually leads to the selection of additional solutions as their business needs change.”
However, Eaton Vance did not select Eagle without looking at the rest of the market first. Lehner explains that investment manager searched the market for the best option and a number of other vendors were also in the running.
Lehner does not believe that the move from hosted solutions to installed versions is a general trend in the industry. He reckons that installed versions are generally the preference of larger organisations such as Eaton Vance that wish to retain a high proprietary level of control over their data.
“We actually see a fairly even split in our business – a lot of people like the hosted solutions and we have people of a similar size to Eaton Vance that like to have an installed version. I don’t think the trend is going from ASP to installed solutions. Firms are making individual decisions and smaller sized firms are especially interested in the ASP model,” he explains.
“The ASP model is a significant part of our business – right now, from a business standpoint, it is bringing in about 40% of our business. The rest are choosing to install the software,” Lehner concludes.