May 1, 2014

Cutter Associates, LLC, the leading provider of operations and technology expertise to the investment management industry, recently completed an in-depth Research Report on Research Management Systems (RMS) and the various tools available for investment management firms to organize their research. As the volume of research created by investment firms both internally and externally has increased, these firms are taking steps to implement suitable tools to ensure that the data is organized, accessible and reliable.

“When we last did a study on RMS in 2008, there were a few systems in the market but adoption by investment firms was slow,” noted Mary Storrs, Head of Research at Cutter Associates. “Since then there has been a dramatic shift in both available solutions and adoption. The proportion of Cutter member firms using a specialist RMS has more than doubled in that time.”

One factor contributing to the need for research solutions is the broadening diversity of asset coverage. As allocations to alternative investments such as private equity, real assets and funds of funds have grown within the industry, many investment managers have seen a need to automate the management of the data involved in investment decisions. Firms also see the benefits to be had from collaboration between investment teams in different areas and from centralizing their research data. Reliance by an investment firm on local or shared drives, email folders and even stacks of paper exposes the firm to risk of loss, duplication of efforts and inconsistencies.

CutterResearch analysts undertook an extensive evaluation of a number of vendor solutions, looking at both the feature components and any potential risks associated with the product. They assessed a number of functional areas - including data configuration, queries and reports, productivity tools and mobility – carefully scoring each criterion that went toward the overall product assessment.

“We found that vendor solutions varied considerably in their capabilities and technology,” said Judy Blackwell, Director Cutter Research. “There is no clearly defined model of what a Research Management System does. We’ve seen broader scope emerge and functionality beyond just the management of research data.”

Certainly, the landscape for RMS has come a long way since 2008 and vendors continue to enhance their product offerings. Investment managers in the market for a solution will need to carefully assess their options and product features closely. The full 134-page report on Research Management Systems will be available for CutterResearch clients and presented at the upcoming Spring meetings in London, New York and Boston.

About Cutter Associates, LLC

Cutter Associates, LLC provides truly independent investment process expertise for the investment management community. Through three interrelated services, Cutter Associates provides investment management firms the knowledge and tools to ensure that their business technologies and processes are competitive. CutterResearch offers member firms detailed, actionable research to reduce risk, lower costs and keep up-to-date on systems and operational processes. CutterBenchmarking provides bespoke reports measuring firms’ investment processes by capabilities, risk and effectiveness through comparisons based on tried and tested capability models. CutterConsulting partners with firms to evaluate, select, and implement systems and to develop leading technology and operational strategies. Cutter Associates, headquartered in Rockland, MA, has subsidiaries in Canada and the UK.

Whether developing operational strategies that drive meaningful value, or evaluating, selecting, and implementing systems, Cutter is here to help.