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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  Infrastructure  Communications  Outsourcing  Trends We're Seeing 



Tech for Hedge Fund Startups: Mistakes to Avoid and Guidance for Success

By Zorela Georgescu ,
Thursday, April 28th, 2016

The financial services industry is currently under tremendous pressure to meet both investor and due diligence requirements. Thus, it is increasingly important to maximize technology to meet these pressures. To conclude our six-part hedge fund launch webinar series, we spoke with Eze Castle Integration’s own managing director Vinod Paul, who shared insights about current IT challenges and demands and how today’s hedge funds can employ best practices for operational excellence.

Key Priorities for New Managers

Paul defined cybersecurity and scalability as two primary technology considerations for new managers. You must first understand your firm’s specific vulnerabilities and exposures. One of the most common mistakes new launches make, according to Paul, is assuming that they only require the basic bare minimum in terms of technology. He urges new managers to pick an IT solution with operational growth in mind -- considering the business not at the onset, but in three to five years.

Service Provider Selection Criteria

Paul continued to place emphasis on customized IT, stating that when it comes to outsourcing, it is imperative that a firm carries out proper due diligence in choosing a provider to meet the firm’s unique needs. “You want enter into a true partnership that offers open lines of communication, flexibility, and ultimately, trust and accountability,” he said. Brand and reputation, long lasting relationships with clients, and industry experience are some of criteria Paul feels are most important when selecting a service provider. “Don’t step in to it with the attitude that a current provider is good enough, for right now,” he cautioned. The service provider should not only address day-to-day operations but also anticipate potential problems down the road.

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



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 Create A Cyber Security Culture + Employee Security Awareness

By Mary Beth Hamilton,
Thursday, March 10th, 2016

Did you hear the story of the Central Bank of Bangladesh that lost $81 million to hackers? It happened in February 2016 and goes like this. The bank believes hackers executed a hack that allowed $81 million to be taken from the bank’s foreign exchange account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It appears that the initial point of entry for the hackers was a spear-phishing email, potentially sent weeks before the fraud took place, which allowed the criminals time to remotely monitor and probe the bank’s networks without detection.

This is just the latest advanced threat facing financial organizations. Beyond cyber technology (which is essential), organizations need an internal culture of security, an ongoing, organization-wide commitment to defining and adhering to careful, thoughtful policies that reduce or eliminate “people vulnerabilities” through assessments, awareness, and education.
 
We recently published a Four Step Guide to Creating a Culture of Security. Here are some highlights – you can read the full paper HERE.

1. Create a Computer Incident Response Team

Create A Cyber Security Culture  At Hedge Fund

Your first step is to find the right people who can oversee your information-security policies and be part of a “Computer Incident Response Team.” Although IT professionals are responsible for overseeing and maintaining your computing infrastructure, you also need business users to play a central role in your security initiatives. 

After all, they’re the ones who use these resources – and the ones who can represent the biggest vulnerabilities and risks. While the team’s responsibilities can vary, many CIRTs are active in several key areas:

  • Create a Plan

  • Create Training Programs

  • Respond to Incidents

  • Communicate with Peers/Industry Groups 

Categorized under: Security  Launching A Hedge Fund  Hedge Fund Operations  Infrastructure  Business Continuity Planning  Trends We're Seeing 



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.Hedge Fund Launch Webinar Series

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 



The Key to a Successful Hedge Fund Launch? Building a Real Business

By Kaleigh Alessandro,
Thursday, February 25th, 2016

The following is the third and final excerpt from our new whitepaper, Launching a Hedge Fund: 10 Keys to Success. Click here to read Part 1 and Part 2

Take the time to build a real business.Launching a Hedge Fund, Eze Castle Whitepaper

Investment firms often place too much emphasis on managing portfolios and not enough on managing the business as a whole. Particularly for startups entering a competitive marketplace, expectations are high. That means you have to demonstrate to investors that you take your business seriously and that you’ve made investments in your operations, technology, etc. that will fortify your firm and provide a solid foundation for investment success.
 
The decisions you make from the outset will define how your firm is regarded within the industry, by both investors and competitors. By taking into account all aspects of your firm and relying on trusted service providers to support operations, you prove to the greater investment industry that you should be taken seriously and can operate successfully in a challenging environment. 

Transparency is of critical importance.

Since the 2008 economic collapse and scandals caused by the likes of Madoff, transparency has become a key requirement for investors. Nothing less than full disclosure is expected of firms from the newest launches to the most established investment firms. As such, fund managers should take this to heart and make strong efforts to comply with increasing investor expectations.

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



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 Success. Don't forget to visit Hedge IT on Thursday as we reveal the last of our key considerations for starting a hedge fund.

To 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 



Four Reasons Why Financial Firms Need Data Backups

By Evelyn Villemaire,
Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

With threats of data loss increasing in both numbers and severity, it is no surprise that data security is on everyone’s mind within the financial and investment industry. Regulatory agencies and investors now expect businesses to have backup solutions and comprehensive record-keeping practices. Understanding the need and importance of implementing a backup solution can add instrumental value to your business.

We at Eze Castle Integration have identified the top four reasons why backups are critical to not only a firm’s growth, but also their survival. 

Data Backup - Eze Vault

1. Regulatory agencies demand security of financial records.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has instituted regulations on the storage of financial records and electronic communication, and financial industry regulatory agencies such as FINRA now provide standards and guidance information on potential threats. In addition, international regulators such as the FCA, a financial regulatory body in the United Kingdom, are also demanding firms to have a data backup solution. 

The reasoning behind these recommendations is the volume of things that can go wrong with your data storage solution. From hardware failure, software corruption, virus or network security breaches, to natural disasters and human error, the threat to your data is endless. With today’s financial services companies managing exponentially growing volumes of sensitive data, the risk of loss grows as well.

Categorized under: Disaster Recovery  Security  Hedge Fund Operations  Infrastructure  Trends We're Seeing 



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