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Examining the Evolution of Investor IT Due Diligence

By Kaleigh Alessandro,
Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

The below information is an excerpt from Eze Castle Integration’s 2016 webinar: The Evolution of Investor IT Due Diligence.
 
Investors have long been asking questions about firm operations and even technology. But with the way IT has evolved over the last 5-10 years, it’s no wonder investor inquiries have changed in both size and scope. Of course, in addition to technology evolution, we’ve also seen influences on the regulatory side, as the SEC continues to examine and evaluate firms’ security practices, which ties heavily into technology.
 
In looking back, it’s not unfair to say that 10 years ago, technology was what we’d call a “check the box” category. An investor due diligence questionnaire may have been one or two pages and focus mostly on firm investment history, performance, etc. On the IT side, it may have said “are you using an outsourced IT provider” or even “do you have a disaster recovery system” but beyond that, there was very little inquiry into the types of technologies being used at hedge funds as well as the protections in place to mitigate risk.
 
Of course, times have changed and now we see investor DDQ documents upwards of 5-10-20 pages in length and asking great levels of detail about technology, cybersecurity and operations. So let’s talk a little bit more about the influences for this due diligence evolution. 

Categorized under: Hedge Fund Due Diligence  Cloud Computing  Security  Disaster Recovery  Hedge Fund Operations  Hedge Fund Regulation  Infrastructure  Communications  Outsourcing  Business Continuity Planning  Trends We're Seeing 



You've Been Thinking About Hosted Voice All Wrong [Tech Tip Video]

By Kaleigh Alessandro,
Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

In today's Eze Castle Tech Tip: we're discussing myths about Voice over IP -- or hosted voice -- services. 

 

 

Categorized under: Videos And Infographics  Cloud Computing  Security  Disaster Recovery  Infrastructure  Communications 



Five Security Practices Your Firm Had Better Get Right (Tech Tips Video)

By Kaleigh Alessandro,
Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

It's time for another Tech Tip video! Today, we have five security practices your investment firm should not overlook. Watch and learn! 

 

 

Categorized under: Security  Hedge Fund Operations  Infrastructure  Communications  Trends We're Seeing  Videos And Infographics 



Grading your cloud provider: four critical criteria

By Kaleigh Alessandro,
Thursday, May 19th, 2016

This article was written by Bob Guilbert, Managing Director, and first appeared in Hedgeweek's 2016 Guide to Setting Up an Alternative Investment Fund in the USA. Bob Guilbert, Eze Castle Integration

You're a new fund manager, and somewhere on your task list the letters "IT" are probably followed by a question mark. Odds are, you don't have a technology background, so as your firm's Chief Operating/Financial/Compliance Officer (or in some cases, Portfolio Manager), the sudden responsibility you've undertaken as your firm's de facto IT Manager is intimidating at best. 

The good news is, as a startup, your IT options are pretty clear. In 2016, there's no better technology decision a new firm can make than selecting a cloud platform – an infrastructure that has proven benefits including scalability, flexibility and robust security, among others. And while the thought of hosting IT offsite was once a worry for allocators, today's investors find comfort in knowing hedge fund and alternative investment firms are focusing on their investment priorities and leaving the technology decisions to the experts. 

From our perspective, the cloud is now a tried and tested infrastructure environment that is acceptable to the institutional investor community. They have become very thorough in their operational due diligence process, understanding exactly what cloud providers provide from an operational, management and security perspective. This has allowed managers to become much more comfortable at appointing a cloud provider to deliver an infrastructure that will perform well in any type of trading environment. 

Where managers need to spend their time is deciding on the best cloud provider to work with, as opposed to thinking about whether or not they should use a cloud provider in the first place.

And how exactly do emerging fund managers embark on that decision-making process? 

Categorized under: Launching A Hedge Fund  Cloud Computing  Security  Hedge Fund Due Diligence  Hedge Fund Operations  Outsourcing  Infrastructure  Communications  Trends We're Seeing 



Email Security: Is Your Out-of-Office Bringing Criminals In?

By Katie Sloane,
Thursday, May 12th, 2016

You’re about to embark on a business trip or drift away with the waves and a margarita or two on an overdue vacation. To let your clients, partners, colleagues, and the like know that you won’t be able to respond to their emails, you create an out-of-office message.

The typical auto-reply includes a brief explanation of why the recipient is out of the office, an approximate date of return and who the sender can alternatively contact. You may also list your chain of command and if you manage multiple departments, perhaps include the names and contact information for each division. Although this may appear innocuous to the untrained eye, those who are well-versed in information security, or simply read the latest cybersecurity headlines, would immediately cringe at the various red flags.

Let’s examine the probable scenarios that could transpire upon the auto-reply’s launch.Out-of-office Email Security Risks; hedge fund cybersecurity, Employee cyber security training

Physical Security Threat

Auto-replies that disclose travel details pose a physical threat as they provide criminals or intruders with the recipient’s whereabouts. Regardless of whether location is provided, one can link travel dates to a popular industry trade show. Criminals may gather this information from other resources, such as a company’s posts and images shared across social networks (e.g. Twitter, Facebook).

Categorized under: Security  Hedge Fund Due Diligence  Hedge Fund Operations  Communications 



A Look at Everything Apple Announced at Keynote 2016

By Zorela Georgescu,
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

On Monday, March 21st at its California headquarters, Apple unveiled a new iPhone and iPad, as well as announced improvements to current products. Fittingly, CEO Tim Cook also discussed security at length – not shying away from concerns resulting from the current fight with the FBI. "We believe strongly that we have a responsibility to help you protect your data and protect your privacy. We owe it to our customers, and we owe it to our country,” he said. The key takeaways from the event are summarized below.

iPhone Family

The 4-inch iPhone SE

The new iPhone was introduced as having all the power of the iPhone 6s, but with the aesthetic of the iPhone 5. The reason, said Apple VP Greg Joswiak, is simple: “For some people, they simply love smaller phones.” With a $399 price point, analysts believe that the new phone is Apple’s attempt to penetrate the fastest-growing markets of India and China, specifically “prepaid consumers who cannot afford, or are not familiar with, bigger screen smartphones,” said Neil Mawston, an analyst at Strategy Analytics.

The iPhone SE promises an A9 processor with faster LTE and Wi-Fi speeds, better battery life, 4k and 240 fps slow-mo video recording, live photo support, and Apple Pay. The 16GB model, as well as a 64 GB model for $499 go up for pre-order on March 24, 2016, with the first units shipping March 31, 2016.

9.7 inch iPad Pro

The “baby brother” to the 12.9 inch screen iPad Pro that some consumers deemed too large, the new 9.7 inch model is roughly the same size as the iPad Air 2 but with features like Apple Pencil, Apple’s Smart Keyboard, a 12 MP rear camera with 4K video recording and live photo support, and a 5 MP front-facing camera. In addition, the screen of the new iPad pro will be 40% less reflective than that of the iPad Air 2, but will be 25% brighter.

A feature called “True Tone” will benefit designers by constantly checking the lighting of the room and adjusting accordingly for color accuracy. Three models will be available for pre-order March 24, 2016: the 32GB for $599, 12GB for $749, and 256GB for $899.

Categorized under: Trends We're Seeing  Infrastructure  Communications  Software 



How to Launch a Hedge Fund: Cap Intro, Legal & Tech Tips

By Zorela Georgescu,
Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Successfully launching a hedge fund is a complex endeavor. Not only must emerging managers evaluate traditional deployment strategies, but consider current factors influencing the financial landscape.

Last week, Eze Castle Integration presented a webinar, “How to Launch a Hedge Fund,” featuring an expert panel that addressed some critical areas for consideration, notably capital introduction, legal and technology. There was quite a bit of content discussed during the 1-hour event, so we’ve pulled out some key takeaways.

Click here or scroll down to watch the webcast in its entirety.

Capital Raising (Paul Schultz, Director of Capital Introduction, Wells Fargo Prime Services)

  • Examine both content and context, i.e. cash inflows and outflows as well as the “big picture” that accounts for volatility

  • Be aware of the kinds of investors coming into the hedge fund space. Large and institutional pension plans are currently the largest investor base.

  • Be prepared when speaking to investors. Target those who have a history of being receptive to founder share class and who may offer lower management and performance fees.

  • Show investors that you have a 3+ year budget for working capital without any performance fees.

  • Have a well thought-out blueprint. Clarity and intention make all the difference.

Categorized under: Launching A Hedge Fund  Cloud Computing  Security  Disaster Recovery  Hedge Fund Due Diligence  Hedge Fund Operations  Hedge Fund Regulation  Infrastructure  Communications  Outsourcing  Business Continuity Planning  Trends We're Seeing  Videos And Infographics 



Hedge Fund Technology Tips for New Startups, Part 2

By Kaleigh Alessandro,
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

The following is the second excerpt from our new whitepaper, Launching a Hedge Fund: 10 Keys to SuccessTo read part one, click here

Develop an IT budget for your first 2-3 years.

Operating capital may be limited in the first few years after your launch, so careful budgeting and long range planning will serve your firm well. Your information technology budget should include priorities and figures for at least two to three years, including infrastructure/hardware and software requirements. Some questions you’ll want to consider:

  • How many offices are you launching with? Do you plan to open additional offices in the near future?

  • How many users do you have on day one? How many can you expect to have in years 2 and 3?

  • Where are your offices located? Are there cost differences between domestic and international offices?

  • What are your trading practices and how does this impact your budget?

  • What kinds of systems do you need? (Order Management, Portfolio Accounting, Risk Management, CRM, etc.)

Ensure your technology budget coincides with your firm’s growth plan. Do you expect to grow quickly? Open new offices? Expand internationally? You will need to account for these changes.

Understand hedge fund regulations and how they affect your firm.

Governmental oversight of the financial industry has evolved dramatically in the last decade. Hedge funds, private equity firms and registered investment advisers now operate in a world where they are beholden to regulatory bodies with growing expectations and requirements. When launching your hedge fund, you’ll need to be clear up front with any responsibilities you may have to any applicable agencies – in the United States, that means the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Are you required to register? If so, represent your firm accurately and be descriptive of your operations. If not forthcoming, you may open up your firm to serious regulatory and criminal prosecution.

Categorized under: Launching A Hedge Fund  Cloud Computing  Security  Disaster Recovery  Hedge Fund Due Diligence  Hedge Fund Operations  Hedge Fund Regulation  Infrastructure  Communications  Outsourcing  Business Continuity Planning  Software  Trends We're Seeing 



10 Keys to Launching a Hedge Fund: A Video Premiere

By Kaleigh Alessandro,
Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Today's hedge funds are facing an environment defined by regulatory pressure, investor demands and fierce competition. For hedge fund startups, the challenges are even greater, so too are the demands. Successfully operating a new startup beyond the first year is a feat many managers struggle to accomplish, therefore it's critical for emerging managers to gain a full understanding of the industry that awaits them and the hurdles they should expect to face.
 
While the list of considerations is surely long for new managers, we've whittled it down to 10 Keys to Launching a Hedge Fund Successfully - a guide for new startups to use when setting off on their new journey.
 
Take a look at our latest video for a quick look at our 10 Keys to Success. And be sure to come back to Hedge IT later this week when we'll be sharing an excerpt from our brand new whitepaper on the same topic!
 

 

Categorized under: Launching A Hedge Fund  Cloud Computing  Security  Disaster Recovery  Hedge Fund Due Diligence  Hedge Fund Operations  Hedge Fund Regulation  Infrastructure  Communications  Outsourcing  Business Continuity Planning  Trends We're Seeing 



What is Spam and How Can You Avoid Sending It?

By Jordan DeSantis,
Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Spam is essentially a term used to describe emails that make their way into a recipient’s inbox without their consent. According tothe Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG), almost 90% of all email is considered spam. Due to this shocking number, spam filters are widely used to assist users in keeping tabs on emails that are actually relevant. How do these spam filters work? We don’t know a lot about the algorithms used to operate them, and that’s probably a good thing. With that type of information floating throughout the web, spammers would be able to easily beat these filters, and we’d see cluttered inboxes everywhere. But despite our lack of knowledge on the intricacies of spam filters, there are a few red flags to avoid and best practices to adopt to keep genuine emails from entering total oblivion.

How Spam Filters Work

As mentioned, no one can be 100% certain how a spam filter flags an email, as they use many different benchmarks to judge an incoming message. A few hallmarks include:

  • IP Address – If your IP address has been flagged for sending spam in the past, it will impact the deliverability of your mail. This extends to your ISP as well. Where some ISPs attempt to eliminate spam from their servers, some take a more relaxed approach to spam.

  • What The Email Looks Like – Filters will look at the subject line and body of an email. If the filter deems either of the two to resemble spam, then your email likely won’t make it into someone’s inbox. Words and phrases such as “free” & “buy now” are often cited as trigger words.

  • Code – An innocent mistake many users make is using text formatted from Microsoft Office applications. Unfortunately, this creates rather messy HTML code with unnecessary lines of coding.

Categorized under: Communications  Help Desk 



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