February 2016

SPONSORED FEATURE: Vendor Management and SupplierVision

Dean LumerAs firms reduce their list of suppliers – partly in response to regulatory pressure to manage provider risk – systems, such as SupplierVision, can play a strategic role, says Dean Lumer, a director at technology firm Knadel Software.

The discipline of supplier management has become more important in the investment management market for a number of reasons. Investment managers are increasingly reliant on third parties for their operations. Driven by rising cost and compliance pressures, they are choosing to focus on their core competencies – stock picking and portfolio management – and outsourcing many of their administrative and operational tasks to specialist providers. Consequently there is an increasing realisation among managers that their vendors should be aligned with their own long-term goals and not pursuing their own agenda.

There is also a recognition that vendors and suppliers represent a real business and operational risk. For example, if a major supplier fails, it can result in financial loss, regulatory penalties and reputational damage. The business risk of employing third parties for material processes has also been recognised by regulators, who are insisting that investment managers have contingency plans in place for their outsourcing arrangements. 

Firms now take a more mature approach to managing their outsourcing arrangements. They are no longer focused solely on price and do not see outsourcing as a panacea. Expectations are more realistic on both sides.

Similarly vendor management is no longer solely focused on ensuring daily service delivery. Now it is a more strategic and tactical process that enables firms to use their vendors as a means to support their own business development – expansion into new geographies, product diversification or an acquisition strategy. 

Kandel boxFirms are looking at supplier and vendor management in the same way they view other major exposures, like credit risk or liquidity – on a global and holistic basis, across the enterprise and at a corporate level with the results reported to senior management. 

Gone are the days when sales and marketing would announce a major new product launch and leave their unaware colleagues in operations just a few days to frantically ring around their list of vendors in search of a supplier that can meet their urgent demands. Now there are carefully plotted project timelines that include the supplier management team from the outset. 

Firms are also looking at their portfolio of vendors and seeing a double digit roster of different providers. Aside from the administrative challenge of dealing with that many entities, there is typically a lack of purchasing power. Consequently, firms are looking to reduce their vendor relationships to a handful of key global relationships and adopt a sensible sourcing strategy. 

But while the recognition of supplier and vendor management has developed, the systems have not. Investment managers have made do with an informal and ad-hoc collection of manual systems and spreadsheets. This approach is no longer sufficient and firms should look to employ a purpose-made supplier management system. 

Such a system will formalise the vendor management process and create an environment that not only makes the process more efficient but also demonstrates the use of best practice for the benefit of both regulators and senior management. 

As John Wright, M&G Director Investment Operations, says: “Good governance and oversight of suppliers is of material importance to our business. A system such as SupplierVision is a valuable tool to help us in this endeavour.”

©2016 funds europe

Sponsored Profiles

SPONSORED FEATURE: Smarter than beta

Jun 14, 2017

‘Smart beta’ investing is rapidly becoming a popular alternative to both conventional passive management and traditional active management.

SPONSORED FEATURE: Smart beta: Unlocking key drivers of return

Jun 14, 2017

Manuela Sperandeo, iShares Head of Specialist Sales EMEA, tells Funds Europe how investors can leverage smart beta strategies to target numerous outcomes.

SPONSORED FEATURE: Minimum variance indices: Rewriting the rules

Jun 14, 2017

The FTSE Russell indices tracked by lyxor lead to fewer specific risks, fewer valuation and crowding issues and more consistent performance.

SPONSORED FEATURE: The reflationary environment

Jun 06, 2017

Funds Europe talks to Andreas Wosol about the implications of a return to reflation and why the value part of the European equity market could support investors in such an environment.

Executive Interviews

INTERVIEW: Finding managers that can (and do)

Apr 18, 2017

Fabrice Kremer, a fund selector at Banque de Luxembourg Investments, has berated fundamental managers for failing to beat indices, but he remains committed to active funds. He speaks to Nick...

JERSEY INTERVIEW: ‘A steady sort of place’

Mar 21, 2017

The chief executive of Jersey Finance is keen to portray the island as a stable, trustworthy jurisdiction. He talks to George Mitton.

Roundtables & Panels

TRENDING: Smart beta indices continue onward march

Jun 14, 2017

We asked five investment experts how smart beta indices have performed against cap-weighted indices over the past year and what the investment outlook suggests about the prospect for different investment factors.

SMART MONEY: Following the smart money

Jun 14, 2017

We asked six investment professionals about the emphasis they are placing on smart beta and active ETFs and how platforms are adopting these products.