Another week, another opportunity to network with hedge funds. This week, UK Managing Director, George Ralph is at the Hedge Fund Emerging and Startup Forum in London and the first day has been a real eye opener for him. As with last week’s conference, conversations have been wide ranging, but along similar lines. First on the unofficial agenda, is Brexit an opportunity or a threat? Quite a few hedge fund managers that George spoke to said that despite an initial negative impact on performance following the referendum, performance had improved quite quickly and remained high. Looking ahead, most of the fund managers he has spoken to are uncertain about the impact of the referendum on business in the coming years, but many do feel quite positive. A lot of firms are maintaining their bases in the UK, with no plans to move, which is good news.
MiFID II is of course still dominating, with the data element looming large. Firms must ensure that their data is accurate, complete and available and submitted on time. There are more transactions and more data fields to report on, and these have to be near real time, and certainly no later than one day post transaction. The impact on firms will also be far reaching, with changes needed in the business model, internal processes and back office functions, and an IT infrastructure which can cope with the extra requirements.
On a different note, George said it was interesting to hear how there has been a lack of confidence in outsource providers, and that poor experiences have prevailed for many firms who have outsourced services. Many firms do not feel comfortable handing over their important data, with the perceived lack of control. Especially in the present climate of data governance, with GDPR approaching. IT partners like RFA have to work doubly hard to convince clients that outsourcing will deliver benefits, that standards will remain high and that they will be watertight in terms of compliance. It feels like the tables are turning at last though, especially for startup firms, which seem to recognise the value that outsourcing partners can bring. Any good outsourcing partnership has to be built on trust.
Startup firms are a really exciting proposition, they take calculated risks, they embrace innovation and they have huge potential. These are all important and will stand the firms in good stead moving forwards. It’s crucial for firms to have a USP to help them stand out to potential investors, and using technology to innovate, and to bring innovative financial products to the market, is a great USP.
Startups are the future of the industry and that’s apparent at this event!