The client, a state investment board that manages the assets of several state trust funds, including the state retirement system, had built up a real estate portfolio of direct investments, limited partnership investments, pooled funds, REITs, real estate debt, and funds of commercial mortgage-backed securities.
The diversity of these investments, and the difficulty acquiring timely data at relevant levels of granularity, rendered its investment processing systems and processes cumbersome and inefficient, particularly in the areas of reporting, risk management, and investment decision-making.
The client asked Cutter Associates to help find or develop a solution to facilitate better investment decisions and to support risk management with consolidated reporting.
We began by assessing existing workflows and meeting with key stakeholders from portfolio management and operations to discuss pain points and requirements. We then reviewed different vendor solutions and their capabilities for meeting the client’s specific requirements.
We came up with two approaches for our client to consider ─ make incremental improvements to its existing systems and infrastructure and, second, invest in a front-to-back vendor solution to manage all aspects of processing real estate investments, from deal capture and portfolio analysis to capital calls processing and ongoing financial reporting. After we reviewed the pros and cons of the two options with the board, it agreed to move forward with Cutter’s recommendation for a front-to-back vendor solution.
With the client further engaging us to help select the specific vendor solution best suited to meet its unique requirements, Cutter took the following steps:
After following up with the recommended vendor to clarify some information, and coordinating reference checks with the vendor’s customers, we made a final recommendation. We then designed a roadmap for implementing the vendor solution, including target state business process workflows and requirements to prepare for implementation, as well as estimated costs, resource requirements, and implementation time requirements.
With our help, our client was able to find the vendor solution that best met its unique strategic and tactical objectives to support its real estate investments. We prepared our client for the implementation with our roadmap and target state workflows and requirements. By capitalizing on collateral created in prior vendor selection engagements, and on vendor-agnostic Cutter Research on alternative investments, we reduced our client’s costs for the selection process and increased the investment board’s confidence that it was making the right decisions.
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