Earlier this week, it was reported that Nasdaq was reconsidering its Amazon-based cloud product, FinQloud. According to the Financial Times, FinQloud has failed to gain significant traction in the marketplace amongst financial services firms including broker-dealers and exchanges. If Nasdaq pulls out of the deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS), it would be a major disappointment to Amazon, who is actively pitching AWS to large financial institutions and enterprises.
Whether the limited adoption of FinQloud is a sign of a product flaw or a larger industry trend, we feel it important to draw attention to a longstanding debate within the financial services industry – a debate that we’ve shared our thoughts on here on Hedge IT many times: public vs. private clouds.
It’s certainly possible that the slow adoption of FinQloud is a result of concerns over mass public cloud usage – a stern reality for many financial services firms who expect and demand that their critical applications and data be stored in a highly secure and available environment. Hedge funds and investment firms, in particular, cannot afford unexpected downtime, and unfortunately, we’ve seen several public cloud providers experience major outages in recent years. Just last week, Dropbox users logged in to find the service was unavailable, and Amazon and Google have both found their services in the headlines in recent years over very large and public disruptions.
In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, which prompted a call to stricter regulations across the board, the European Commission decided to develop the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD). The European Commission pointed out that managers of alternative investment funds are responsible for the management of a significant amount of invested assets and can exercise an important influence on markets and companies in which they invest. Furthermore, the Commission believed activities of such alternative investment funds may amplify risks through the financial system. The directive has been developed to address a number of risks identified by the Commission relating to alternative investment funds, including systemic risk, through a single set of rules that would apply across the board.
The Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive came into force on 22nd July 2013. Since then, the alternative investment fund managers, including managers of hedge funds, private equity firms and investment firms, have been working on submitting the 35-page application form to get registered under the directive before it comes into effect in less than four months.
The Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive will most likely affect private equity funds if they are located in or have investors in the European Union and are identified as the alternative investment fund manager. Fund managers at private equity firms will need to obtain and comply with transparency and the reporting requirements of the directive in order to manage and market private equity funds within the EU.
Categorized under: Hedge Fund Regulation
Notice anything different? That’s right, your favorite hedge fund technology blog got a facelift, and we didn’t stop there -- we overhauled our corporate website too. Our goal with the overhaul was to make it even easier for visitors to get the valuable information they expect from the industry’s technology leader (us!). We hope you like it.
Now on to today’s hot topic. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), at a recent industry event, said that they plan to examine the cybersecurity policies and procedures asset managers have in place to prevent and detect cyber attacks.
Specifically, according to Reuters, SEC national associate director Jane Jarcho said, “We will be looking to see what policies are in place to prevent, detect and respond to cyber attacks [and] we will be looking at policies on IT training, vendor access and vendor due diligence, and what information you have on any vendors."
Some have indicated that the SEC cybersecurity exams could be coming by late-September 2014. In many cases they will be conducted as part of the SEC's routine examinations of investment companies, however, Jarcho advised that inquiries could be done as separate exams.
This week we have a contributed post from Deborah Prutzman, CEO of The Regulatory Fundamentals Group.
Since the summer of 2012 the SEC has embarked on a drive to change the culture within financial services firms, including those in the alternatives space. At first the SEC focused on education—both of its staff and of industry participants. Now the SEC is actively using enforcement as a hammer to drive deeper change. Enforcement cases in 2013 included a focus on boards that failed to properly steer the valuation process and on individuals who misled compliance, as well as the highly-publicized cases involving insider trading.
What does this mean for you in 2014?
1. The SEC will continue to focus on governance and on gatekeepers. This means you. Whatever your role-- as an adviser, on a board, or as a service provider-- you must have a grasp of key regulatory requirements. The SEC has announced an initiative to bring enforcement actions for inadvertent (or in technical terms “non-scienter”) violations. Do not let your firm be on that list. Take the time to learn what is required of you. Doing otherwise is like crossing the street with your eyes closed. Some may make it across, but do you want to be the one hit by a truck?
I know, I know, we say it every year. But can you believe another year has come to an end? Even more amazing? We’ve now been bringing you fresh content on Hedge IT for nearly four years – including close to 400 articles! As we look ahead to 2014, we want to extend a huge THANK YOU to our loyal Hedge IT readers and hope you’ll stick around to see what we have up our sleeves in the New Year. Here’s a hint: it may even include a fresh new look...
With that said, as we do every year, let’s take a look back at some of our most popular Hedge IT articles from 2013. Here are some of your favorites (and ours, too).
Back in September, we revealed the results of our 2013 Survey: Examining Cloud Usage within the Investment Management Industry. In conjunction with IDG Research, we surveyed more than 100 financial services firms and found that nearly all of them (87%) are using the cloud in some way. Other key findings included the dominance of the private cloud (74%) and the growing belief that the private cloud is just as secure as an on-premise infrastructure. Read the complete survey report here.
Categorized under: Trends We're Seeing Business Continuity Planning Cloud Computing Disaster Recovery Hedge Fund Operations Hedge Fund Regulation Infrastructure Launching A Hedge Fund Outsourcing Security Software
Yesterday marked exactly five years since the infamous Bernie Madoff was arrested for executing the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history. As a result, Wall Street and the investment community has undergone a plethora of changes designed to avoid such scandals in the future. Let’s take a look at the lasting impact of Madoff and what changes we can still expect to see in the future.
Unless you’ve been living under a cave for the last several years, you’ve heard the name Bernie Madoff and understand its association with all things negative: scandal, fraud and disgrace. The former NASDAQ chairman and founder of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS) swindled billions of dollars and affected more than 12,000 investors, faking investment returns over the course of multiple years.
Amidst the nation’s most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression, we all learned of Madoff’s devastating scheme. He eventually turned himself in at the urging of his sons and is currently serving 150 years in federal prison for his crimes.
As we look forward to 2014, we can expect that the hedge fund and investment management industry will continue to evolve and experience change as in years past. As more and more new funds launch, the competition for investors will increase and firms will be hard-pressed to live up to the successes of the top performing funds in the industry.
Earlier this week, we gathered several panels of experts in Boston to share their insights into the hedge fund landscape for startups in 2014 and the tips and advice for firms looking to compete in the changing marketplace. Following is a brief recap of the event.
Building a Hedge Fund is Like Building Any Successful Business
When starting a new firm, it’s critical to think about all aspects or forming a new business. Yes, your investment strategy is important, but if the foundation of your business is not critically thought out, it will wreak havoc for your firm. Following are a few areas you shouldn’t overlook as you go through the launch process.
Categorized under: Business Continuity Planning Cloud Computing Hedge Fund Due Diligence Hedge Fund Operations Hedge Fund Regulation Infrastructure Launching A Hedge Fund Outsourcing Security Trends We're Seeing
Last week, the Eze Castle Integration London team along with industry experts from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Investment Management Association (IMA), HSBC, and Simmons & Simmons got together to address the FCA’s “Dear CEO” letter on outsourcing, which was issued to CEO’s of asset management firms back in December 2012.
In the “Dear CEO” letter, the FCA identified that the asset management industry outsources a number of activities to service providers and the FCA’s major concern was if a service provider was to face financial distress or serve operational disruption, the UK asset managers would not be able to perform regulated activities.
Our panel of experts gathered together to discuss the letter in more detail and what practical steps asset managers should adopt, including reviewing contingency plans to ensure managers are minimising risk and have a continuity strategy in place. Let’s take a closer look at what was discussed.
Starting a hedge fund is an intensive task and there are many aspects of the business that a portfolio manager must consider. Expectations are higher than ever, and investors want to see that new hedge fund startups are taking the right precautions and steps to ensure that both the investment strategy and business operations are sound.
There are a wealth of considerations to review before starting a new hedge fund, and truth be told, most of these points are just as important to keep in mind if you are an established fund. Take a look and you’ll notice these best practices apply to more than just new launches.
First and foremost, Happy Halloween!
In honor of Halloween, I’m going to share a trick and a treat about the world of social media and investment firms.
First the trick.
Did you hear the story about how shares of bankrupt Tweeter soared when Twitter announced its IPO? If not, here goes. According to WallStreetInsanity, on October 4, 2013, “shares in bankrupt TWTR Inc. (OTC: TWTRQ) were up over 1500 percent as the company’s stock soared from $0.0 to $0.15 on extremely heavy volume. Seems some people thought the consumer electronics retailer was Twitter.”
This story demonstrates that traders are monitoring social media outlets for investment ideas even if they are not personally participating. It also shows that many of those folks buying TWTRQ didn’t quite understand how an IPO works or what Twitter will be valued at (certainly not pennies), but we’ll ignore that fact for the sake of this article.