At Kurtosys, we are acutely aware of the growing challenges investment managers face, and our singular focus is to help them become more efficient, effective, and scalable.
When I joined Kurtosys in January 2022, most of the challenges and opportunities were known to us, and I was excited to help our team scale and deliver excellence to clients. We knew about ESG, Covid was still a relevant topic, and the ever-increasing appetite of investors to have more information, meant that investment managers had to become more agile in reporting.
None of this has gone away, but in addition we now have a war in Ukraine, ever soaring temperatures across the world, and a general reluctance to return to an office environment 5 days a week.
ESG, WFH and cybersecurity
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) themes have been topical for several years. Covid has accelerated some of these elements as we see the benefits of less travel both on the environment and our own health. For example, the need to jump on a plane for 24 hours to meet an important client is limited. The power of effective online collaboration using tools such as MS Teams and Zoom has reduced this need significantly. Although there is no real replacement for face to face meetings to build trust and empathy, for spontaneous or scheduled interim meetings the desktop camera has become a suitable replacement. As an aside, I remember trying to convince 1000 lawyers and accountants to use MS Teams back in 2019, but they were reluctant and, at best, would go to a meeting room to use WebEx (who?). This is in the past and everyone has their own camera and many a halo lighting set up at work and at home. Even the need to get dressed seems optional; real-time collaboration is right here and right now.
We are seeing new threats to cybersecurity, enhanced due to so many people working from home. There is a real need to increase training and implement more stringent controls.
Remote and flexible working have become the norm. Technically and logistically, companies have managed this transition well. This is great for individuals’ work life balance, the environment and reduces the infrastructure stress of peak hour commuting. However, have we gone too far?
Are new starters and middle managers missing the ad-hoc development they receive when surrounded by their mentors? Are experienced professionals drifting into retirement without imparting valuable insight and knowledge to their successors? We all know that culture eats strategy for breakfast, so are we able to build and maintain a team and corporate culture when working from our living rooms and only seeing each other via a camera? There must be a healthy balance.
From a funds perspective, the need for ESG reporting, to satisfy investor demand and regulation, has increased, as has the depth and breadth of information required. The data supporting this is mostly non-standard and often inconsistent across investment managers and their underlying assets. We have seen a marked increase in demand for Digital Portals where the reporting can be much more flexible and tailored to the needs of this new topic.
ESG is not just a new requirement from regulators and investors, it is something we all need to address. As we observe the scorching temperatures and resulting wildfires, the scary melting ice caps and the slow disappearance of specific fauna and flora, this is no longer an option. The social differences we see between the wealthy and the non-wealthy are ever increasing and the diversity gaps are not closing. It may feel bureaucratic at times, but we should not think of it like this, we must look at the real issues and address them.
The War in Ukraine
One thing few of us were ready for was the war in Ukraine. I have found the social support our teams have given to Ukrainian clients, partners and colleagues overwhelming and I am proud of the way they are responding to the war.
We also continue to support our investment manager clients who need to communicate with their investors in a fast and agile way as the situation develops. We pray for a swift end to the war in Ukraine and that its people can rebuild quickly.
In April, we celebrated Kurtosys’ 20th anniversary. We have reached a scale that requires different ways of working and to support this, we held our first ever client day in London in March, focusing on product, regulation, and client service delivery. The feedback from our clients in the room was incredibly informative and is helping us develop our model rapidly.
We ran subsequent workshops to help fine-tune functionality and new features for all our clients. We have introduced a red, amber, green (RAG) status; a plan and Rhythm of Business for all clients. We have implemented capacity planning, a continuous improvement process and client feedback loops.
We’ve been working on various initiatives focused on enhancing efficiency, including the launch of a chat function on our help site and new ways of working in client support functions. We are proud to report that our volume of tickets was reduced by 30% and elapsed time for remaining tickets dropped by over 50%.
Our partnership approach has evolved, encouraging professional services companies to learn and use our technology to serve their clients better.
We have reconfirmed our Values, stated a clear Vision, and cascaded concrete goals to the whole organization. We have developed our Brand Framework and Value Proposition, which state our purpose and priorities as follows:
We are a secure, cloud-based platform designed to make investment managers’ lives pain-free. Our easy-to-use tools integrate data and content seamlessly to put investment data and insight at their clients’ fingertips. From automated reporting to websites and portals, we ensure they deliver on time, every time.
We have also honed our promise to clients as follows:
Because our sole focus is investment managers, we understand your needs better than anyone. From our products to our people, we’re here to help you better service your clients and scale your business. No more dramas with data or presentations stuck in the past. Our tools will bring your websites and portals to market twice as fast. They’ll integrate and automate your data, eliminating errors along the way. And they’ll help you create engaging digital experiences that really stand out.
Kurtosys Client Day, March 30th, 2022
As we move into the second half of 2022, we will continue our evolution in all the areas mentioned above. We will be there to support our clients in their growth; our people in their personal development; and the community at large through our ESG-related endeavors. We will also develop a healthy balance for remote and flexible working to best support our teams and most importantly our clients.