Asset Owners

DB & DC pension funds, insurers, sovereign wealth funds, endowments and foundations are facing an environment where traditional investment profiles no longer meet the needs of their beneficiaries. Paired with tighter regulation and a greater focus on economic stewardship, this amounts to a major challenge. Asset Owners have evolved so significantly over the past 50 years that they are virtually unrecognizable compared to what the early DB pension pioneers expected, and individual asset owners must continue to evolve, making complex decisions and keeping in step with the demands of a rapidly changing world.

How we work with clients

We work with Asset Owners of all sizes and degrees of maturity. We have expertise spanning the pensions lifecycle, including supporting pensions aggregation, ESG and operating model innovation, and we provide services across all functions of an Asset Owner.

Our support includes:
  • Target Operating Model: Designing and implementing enterprise operating models and investment models
  • Technology: Selecting and implementing leading tools across all functions
  • Reporting: Enhancing client and regulatory reporting, including the integration of ESG
  • Data: Designing and implementing operating models to make the most of complex data
  • Service Providers: Selecting and migrating to new middle and back-office operations service providers, including benchmarking
  • Regulatory Compliance: Providing compliance, regulation and risk advice and support

Why Alpha?

Alpha has designed and delivered a number of complex projects for Asset Owners. Put simply, no other consultancy can match our experience in this space.
We offer our clients a unique mix of industry experts with backgrounds in actuarial consultancy, FinTech, big data and regulation (to name a few) who truly understand the challenges faced by Asset Owners in delivering value to beneficiaries in a way that is efficient, sustainable and compliant.
Our insights are grounded in deep implementation experience, and we are readily able to turn advice into delivery.

Q&A with Nick Barbone, Director

What are the main challenges facing Asset Owners?

Asset Owners are faced with a landscape defined by increasing competition driving the need for ever more competitive investment returns across both traditional and alternative asset classes, and increasing life expectancy. In short, they must do more, with less, for longer.
Continuing to succeed in this arena requires increasingly complex, illiquid investment profiles. To support these investments, Asset Owners must combine innovative business processes, rich data and cutting-edge technology.
This is against a backdrop of increased regulatory scrutiny requiring more robust investment processes and ever-more complex reporting requirements
On top of their responsibilities to their clients, employees and shareholders, Asset Owners also have to meet the expectation placed on them as stewards of the global economy, driving change by investing for the common good and keeping the end investor abreast of how and why they are doing so.

Where are we seeing Asset Owners innovate successfully?

Innovative investments taking ownership of long term cashflow have been a talking-point recently. Infrastructure investments providing continuous income have reduced dependency on bond markets. This sort of investment drives the need for a new breed of Asset Owner, one that can maintain assets when that means steel and tarmac, rather than ink and paper.
ESG innovation has also been rife as Asset Owners take their stewardship responsibilities to heart, and set out to better inform beneficiaries and allow them to take greater ownership of the externalities of their investments. Technology and data are front and centre in providing a foundation for innovation.

How can operating model change provide benefits to Asset Owners’ beneficiaries?

Pension funds have a unique lifecycle that requires smooth transitions across operating models. Getting the model at the right moment is crucial to operating efficiently.
Data is a key driver of change. As the volume and granularity of data available to Asset Owners has increased, so too has the processing power required. The majority of Asset Owners expend 80% of their energy processing data and 20% gleaning insights from it. The right people, processes & technology can reverse those proportions. In short, it costs the beneficiary less to get a better informed, more agile Asset Owner providing greater insight into their investments. Everyone wins!

What are the key Data themes we are seeing in Asset Owners today?

There is a desire, indeed a requirement, for a comprehensive, reliable, fit-for-purpose view that can be configured to meet different needs of investment teams. Asset type coverage is also key –covering private as well as public markets is a must, as is look-through capability including a real focus on underlying risk/return drivers. We see Asset Owners who are tackling data successfully having a clearly defined holistic data strategy across both investment and corporate functions, and alongside this, a developed data governance and data quality model to engender trust in the data is key.

What value can Alpha add to Asset Owners?

Asset Owners exist within a uniquely collaborative market and Alpha sits at the centre of a global network of organisations with similar goals and challenges - we have learned from extensive experience what works for Asset Owners and how to deliver results. We can provide subject matter experts to help transform organisations to be slick, efficient and future-proof whilst delivering maximum value for beneficiaries, stakeholders and regulators.
Alpha can help you to focus on what you are trying to achieve, illuminate the best ways of achieving it, and partner with you to make it happen.