UK Managing Director George Ralph recaps his attendance at the European Hedge Fund Intelligence Summit.
Last week I spent an interesting three days in Paris, at the European Hedge Fund Intelligence Summit. Being a specialist technology partner in this sector means that I have to keep abreast of the latest and greatest issues our customers are experiencing. Technology plays a huge part in the smooth running of this sector, from the front office trading systems, to the middle and back office business processes, and it is crucial for hedge funds to have slick systems in place.
Following the first night’s cocktail party, on day one there were some slightly fuzzy heads and an informative keynote speech. I listened with interest to the presentations on the future of hedge funds, geo-political impact and particularly those on the compliance and legislations that are either in place now or imminent.
There seemed to be a focus on Basel III ( with lots of mention about the Leverage Ratio) and AIFMD, as priority regulations. Particularly AIFMD, which is probably due to its huge scope. I was quite surprised that MiFID II didn’t make much of an appearance, but as the deadlines are early 2017, it probably feels like there is some leeway.
During the course of the show and the associated networking drinks and dinners, it was encouraging to speak to so many CEOs, investment managers and portfolio managers who really seemed to like our approach to service management, and critically allowed me to hear about current changes face to face. Possibly due to the fact that we don’t talk about technology per se, more about it being a business enabler and a way of creating and retaining a competitive edge. I tend to find that clients simply want the peace of mind that comes with knowing their IT infrastructure is taken care of and just works.
Julie Meyer, of Ariadne Capital talked about her investments in the tech sector, in particular about her investment in Skype, which was fascinating stuff. Predictably, she was very popular and as such I couldn’t fight through the crowds to have a one to one.
As expected, cybersecurity and regulatory compliance were the top two topics most closely related to RFA. We find that cybersecurity is being taken very seriously amongst our client base and with reports of cyber espionage, and data security breaches hitting the press regularly, it is rapidly moving up the priority list of firms of all sizes and our approach to risk management is really making an impact.
We recently created a Virtual Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) service in response to our client’s growing fear of a breach of data security. Aimed squarely at the hedge fund and alternative investment sector, it has attracted a great deal of positive attention.
So after a worthwhile three days in Paris, I concluded that the show was very well run, had a great speaker line-up and an excellent attendance. We will definitely be returning next year!