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Fund Forward

Fund Awards Once Again Bring Innovation to Light

It is an honor for Money Management Executive to sponsor SourceMedia's 2007 Fund Operations Awards, our fifth annual, and we would like to thank all those who entered their thoughtful submissions, as well as this year's panel of judges, who gave so generously of their time to assess the impressive entries: T. Neil Bathon, managing director, PMR Associates, Peter Delano, senior analyst, investment management, TowerGroup, Bob Goldberg, president emeritus, The National Investment Company Service Association, Burton J. Greenwald, president, B.J. Greenwald Associates, Vincent Walsh, managing director, advisory services practice, KPMG and Kathleen Whalen, managing director, Dalbar.

What amazes me each year is the progress that the asset management industry is making in terms of technological developments.

Take the nine automated initiatives that John Hancock Signature Services, the transfer agent for John Hancock Funds, accomplished last year. The firm can now turn all hard-copy documents into electronic documents, bar-code them and route them through its work flow.

Moving away from e-mails and phone calls as the main form of communication among representatives at T. Rowe Price's call center, the firm has turned its intranet into a veritable real-time forum where reps are now empowered to update customer information and communicate ideas about how to improve processes up to management. MySpace.com it is not, but perhaps the IT team was inspired by this wildly popular community website.

Citigroup and the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. have made great strides in automating trades in the separately management account and hedge fund industries.

DTCC Wealth Management Services has developed a platform to connect the disparate systems of SMA managers with the sponsor firms' proprietary software. Set to launch this fall, it has Citigroup Smith Barney as a charter member. If this takes off, it could spur even greater growth in the SMA industry.

Most hedge funds still submit orders and receive confirms via fax, e-mail or regular/overnight mail. Last September, Citigroup launched a straight-through-processing order, portfolio management and accounting system for hedge funds that can handle multiple strategies, asset classes and currencies.

Empowering employees, automating more processes and creating seamless open architecture between the major players in the investment industry. That's really what this year's entries are all about.

Congratulations to all the winners.

(c) 2007 Money Management Executive and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

http://www.mmexecutive.com http://www.sourcemedia.com

Recent Posts

Mutual Funds Must Go High-Tech-v. 3.0

Over the last number of years, mutual fund transfer agencies and shareholder communications companies have tried to convince shareholders to accept paperless summary prospectuses, proxies, trade confirmations and electronically stamped signatures. Fund supermarkets and web home pages have broadened their horizons to include market commentary, videostreaming and personal financial news. At the same time, exchange-traded funds, funds-of-funds, hedge FoFs, unified managed accounts, target dates, 401(k) auto enrollment and heightened awareness among people throughout the country of the difficulties of being retired-have taken off.

Test of the Massey Mine

Fund giant boards of directors at AllianceBernstein, American Funds, Fidelity, Vanguard and others are reportedly starting to bring about meaningful change in the corporations in which they are invested. Proof should come any day now, when the shareholder proxy votes from the annual meetings are released. Fund chief executive officers spoke about the power and influence their proxies wield in an interesting Reuters article last week, "Mutual Funds Seek to Shed 'Rubber Stamp' Tag."

Milestones

In 2011, 401(k) plans will turn 30, but the milestones the mutual fund industry has reached in this time are but a nanosecond in the history of U.S. retirement policy. Executives we interviewed for this special edition of Money Management Executive for the Investment Company Institute's meeting in Washington, speak to important milestones of the recent past and into the future. Look inside for observations and forecasts by Ted Benna, Robert L. Reynolds, Dan Fuss, David C. John, Steven Miyao and others.

At Age 30, It's Time for a Revamping for the 401(k)

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the 401(k), the revolutionary retirement savings vehicle that has been annihilating pension plans, empowering individuals to take part in the stock market-and, sadly, that left retirees with the misfortune of leaving the workforce in 2000 or 2008 very badly off. The cracks in the system are prompting many asset managers, regulators and retirement experts to take a hard look at 401(k)s and how they can be fixed.

Index of Posts

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Lee Barney

Lee Barney served as editor of Money Management Executive from 2002 to 2010. Previously, at United Media’s Wall Street & Technology magazine and Risk/Waters Information Services, she covered financial IT. For TheStreet.com, she wrote the daily “Meet the Street” column covering a broad spectrum of market-moving events. Lee began her career as a reporter in Tokyo with The Japan Times and was executive editor of Spotlight magazine.