In this report, which features some of the winners in the Service Provider categories at the Hedgeweek European Awards 2021, Hedgeweek celebrates the firms which have excelled in 2021, taking on the minutiae of day-to-day tasks or providing technology solutions to assist managers in generating the best returns for their investors.
The 'European Service Provider Insights 2021' special report comprises 25 separate articles listed below, these can be read individually or as a sequence.
By A Paris – Any hedge fund managers who were unsure of the power of technology and the ability to work efficiently using virtual media have most likely been converted over the course of the last year. 2020 was a spectacular proof of concept that remote working and outsourcing can facilitate business processes and support managers in achieving their objectives.
Cowen Outsourced Trading: Best Outsourced Trading Solution Provider – The past year has witnessed a growing acceptance of outsourced trading as a credible alternative solution by investment managers. As a result of the global pandemic, larger players acknowledged that working with traders remotely works well, which in turn opened the door to the outsourced solution.
Aravis Capital: Best Third Party Marketing Firm – Given the increase in regulation and the resulting extenuated due diligence process, fund raising is now taking longer. In this context, the need for third party fund marketing firms is felt more acutely, even by smaller, niche asset managers.
FIS: Best Fund Accounting & Reporting Software – The past year has seen the role of the technology service provider evolve from a more transactional function to a coveted consultative partner.
RFA: Best Cybersecurity Provider – The past year highlighted the importance of tenacity alongside the agility to absorb shocks and respond rapidly to new ways of working. In addition, the drive to build sustainability into a business has also come to the fore.
Sanne: Best Administrator – Hedge funds reinforced their value as risk managers in times of volatility and market shocks. Their position in the market will be further strengthened as market intelligence shows investors most likely will be increasing their allocation to these funds.
Arcesium: Best Treasury Management Solution Provider – As the dust settled following the initial surge of the Covid-19 pandemic, many hedge funds began re-evaluating their internal infrastructure and operations. As more look to centralise their technology infrastructure, there is now renewed interest in understanding how to best leverage technology within their business.
Crestbridge: Best Regulatory Advisory & Compliance Firm – The alternative funds industry has continued to see a shift from unregulated structures to funds, a trend which is expected to persist. With increased scrutiny from regulators, managers will have to invest in additional resources covering for independent control functions.
BMLL Technologies: Best Data Science Solution Provider – An increasing number of market participants are depending on more granular quality data to improve alpha generation and manage risk exposures. This results in new resource and cost challenges which many are alleviating by looking at alternatives to building these systems in house and buying-in data and analytics capabilities from third parties.
AlternativeSoft: Best Risk Management Software Provider – In the year since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, investors and managers have had to grapple with shifting due diligence processes to virtual platforms. This has driven innovation among service providers who sought to ensure their clients’ operations remained smooth.
Linedata: Best Data Management Solution – Existing in a constantly evolving environment means that the ability to be nimble and capture value when it presents itself is a differentiator in the world of hedge funds. Technology is a driver in this as it supports managers getting value faster.
One Ten Associates: Best Hedge Fund Recruitment Firm – The pandemic has changed the way fund managers recruit professionals. The industry has embraced the new, virtual way of working and post-lockdowns the majority of the process will continue to be performed through video conferencing, meeting only end-stage candidates face-to-face.
SEB: Best Prime Broker – Although client interaction has increased through the shift to virtual working, the importance of relationships in the hedge fund business means physical meetings remain critical.
Sentieo: Best AI Technology Provider – There is still a lot of friction in the adoption of technologies which could accelerate the move to more efficient and successful research to drive investments. This is despite a growing appetite for cloud solutions and artificial intelligence on behalf of all types of institutional investors.
Waystone: Best Offshore Regulatory & Compliance Firm and Best UCITS Platform – The DMS Group and MontLake, now jointly known as Waystone, are delighted to have been recognised with European Hedgeweek awards with DMS announced as the winner of the Best Regulatory & Compliance Firm category and MontLake taking the Best UCITS Platform award.
Lockton: Best Insurance Service Provider – As the insurance market strives to achieve profitable underwriting, insurers are reducing line sizes and introducing coverage restrictions, alongside rate increases. As they navigate this tough environment to the best of their ability, providers must be prepared for better times, while managing risk on behalf of their clients.
SS&C Eze: Best Cloud Based Technology & Best Portfolio Management Software – Complex and volatile market conditions put pressure on the technology tools available to hedge fund managers, especially in the front and middle office. Remote work has heightened cybersecurity and risk management concerns. Additionally, a challenging fundraising environment and complex investor demands drive the need for technology partners to provide a secure and robust infrastructure. Technology vendors like SS&C are rising to the challenge.
Tradeweb: Best Trading & Execution Platform – Institutional investors are trading electronically more than ever before as they fully grasp the benefits of this fast, efficient and stable way of accessing liquidity. This bodes well for the outlook on further electronification in the hedge fund arena.
Investcorp-Tages: Best Seeding Platform – Investcorp-Tages anticipates increased investor demand for alpha generation and portfolio diversification. Investcorp-Tages was created in May 2020 as a joint venture between two major players in the alternatives space, Investcorp and Tages. It brought together, in a single entity, the absolute return businesses of both firms, including their industry-leading seeding platforms. The global reach and strength of the combined seeding capabilities of Investcorp-Tages can be demonstrated by the fact that the firm won both Best Seeding Platform in the Hedgeweek European Awards 2021, and the same award in the Hedgeweek US Awards 2020.
BCS Global Markets: Best Boutique Prime Broker – The prime brokerage landscape has seen significant changes over the last couple of years, making it difficult for funds to source the right prime partner. BCS Global Markets has established itself as a boutique prime within the equities space and has recently won Hedgeweek’s Best Boutique Prime Broker award.
Edge Technology Group: Best Cloud Services Provider – Flexible working is likely to be part of the “new normal” as the past year demonstrated the power of the cloud and the benefits enjoyed by firms with a robust digital platform. As managers significantly increased their use of unified communications and collaboration tools, service providers are seeking to better meet their needs in this regard.
RepRisk: Best ESG Solution Provider – It’s a very exciting time to be working in the field of ESG. The industry has recently experienced a sea change in sentiment and it is now accepted that having a risk-focused approach and looking beyond company disclosures are key elements of ESG investing.
SS&C Advent: Best Managed Accounts Technology Provider – As the global asset and fund management markets grow, so do their operational challenges.
Prosek Partners: Best PR & Communications Firm – Managing a brand and its reputation in a digital world, which moves at speed, means hedge funds are deploying a more sophisticated marketing approach. They’re having to consider the implications of an environment in which information is more transparent and where stakeholders respond in a different way.
Options: Best Managed Services Provider – Cybersecurity continues to top the list of challenges the hedge fund industry is facing and the key to tackling it is being prepared and ready to react. Transparent and frequent communication is also more important than ever.