Model Buy Side

Introduction to the Model Buy Side Awards

The Model Buy Side award recognizes best practices of technology usage in the portfolio management and trade execution life cycle within the management of institutionally held assets.

Celent’s Model Buy Side seeks out exceptional examples of the use of technology across a wide variety of areas critical to success in the buy side. We support initiatives across all areas within institutional asset management supporting the portfolio management, trade execution and asset administration functions.

We plan to recognize one initiative as the overall Model Buy Side of the Year, the top honor. It is not a specific category and institutions do not nominate themselves for this award. Celent judges select one initiative from those already submitted.

There are no specific criteria for Model Buy Side of the Year. However, the winning initiatives typically deliver distinctively impressive business benefits to the financial institution.

A Model Buy Side award presents a number of PR opportunities for the winning firm. Celent analysts will write detailed case studies of each winning initiative. These case studies will be included in Celent’s Model Buy Side reports, thereby generating further exposure for the winning firms and their initiatives.

Celent also celebrates the winners with dedicated social posts highlighting the winner and initiative. Winners can issue their own press release announcing their award and why they were recognized as a Model Buy Side winner.

Applying to the Model Buy Side Awards

Eligibility to Apply

The nomination must be submitted by a Financial Institution on the “Buy Side” (e.g. institutional asset manager, fund manager, hedge fund, etc.). We welcome technology vendors to encourage their Buy Side clients to participate, but vendors themselves are not eligible for an award.

Any firm can apply, irrespective of whether it has any prior relationship with Celent. Celent does not charge any fees to participate in the Model Buy Side process.

Any IT related initiative, regardless of the date when it was executed, is eligible for the Model Buy awards. The initiative must be in production at the Financial Institution.

We seek initiatives that demonstrate how the use of technology has directly impacted business model / workflow, created a quantifiable improvement to customer experience, or deployed emerging technology bringing tangible results to the business.

For initiatives that rely on technology vendor solutions and expertise, the award often leads to an even stronger relationship between the winning firm and its vendor(s). While not explicitly awarding vendors, Celent recognizes their contribution to the initiative. In response, vendors often issue their own PR statements celebrating the achievements of their clients.

In that context, vendors may help firms to submit the nomination form, but the entire process belongs to the firm.

Application Process

All nominations must be submitted online via the Celent website. Please look for the 'Submit Nomination’ button on this page.

Submissions for our 2024 program are now closed.

The financial institutions are welcome to submit multiple nominations, but they must be substantively different. Do not submit the same initiative more than once.

If the improvements relate to the same solution (e.g. different functionalities to your digital platform), we would recommend submitting a single application and highlighting the various functionalities as key features for why you believe your platform merits an award. We expect competition to be fierce, and by fragmenting your platform functionality into discrete components, you run the risk that none of them individually will be strong enough to win. Remember, it’s about quality, not quantity.

Yes, please upload the material to the Additional Material section of the nomination form.

We will send an email confirmation to the contact indicated in the submission and, if applicable, vendor contacts also listed there. If you haven’t heard from us within a few days of your submission, please contact us at


Protecting the confidentiality of the firms with whom we have a relationship is an obligation we take extremely seriously.

We may use anonymized data from any submission for research purposes. We will not, however, publish or disclose any information about the nomination that could be directly attributed to you. We will ask your permission before mentioning your company by name in the context of your Model Buy Side submission.

If your nomination wins an award, we will work with you to publish a case study of your initiative. Your firm will be mentioned by name, and we will publish the case study only after you have reviewed it in a timely fashion and given your approval. Once published, we may refer to the case study again in other publications as an example of good practice. Please refer to the section “WHAT HAPPENS IF WE WIN A MODEL BUY SIDE AWARD?” for more details on this.

No, we will never disclose the fact that you submitted a Model Buy Side nomination, unless we recognize you as a Model Buy Side award winner. In the event that we wish to refer to your nomination in another context, we will contact you to obtain permission before doing so.

Judging Criteria and Evaluation Process

We will judge the initiatives on three criteria:

Business Benefits

The most important of the three evaluation criteria. We are looking for initiatives with a clear and sustainable impact on the financial institution’s business, so make sure to include quantifiable business benefits. We appreciate that some benefits are hard to quantify, but vague statements about expected benefits from the business case will not be sufficient. We also appreciate that you don’t want to divulge potentially competitively sensitive information. If you are not comfortable sharing absolute figures with us, feel free to talk about relative performance (for example, percentage revenue increase or cost-saving).

Degree of Innovation

This measure looks at how innovative the initiative is in using technology to improve sales or service results, reduce risks or costs, or improve business processes. The initiative doesn’t have to be the “world’s first,” although that obviously helps. We are interested in how you experiment with emerging technologies to drive your business. However, innovation doesn’t only mean “bleeding edge” technology; often it is about how you apply technology to enhance your customer experience or to transform the ways of working.

Technology or Implementation Excellence

Some initiatives are noteworthy for their extreme difficulty, complexity of technology, or implementation excellence. Did you find a really interesting way to collaborate with a third party? Have you woven a complex ecosystem to deliver the solution? If so, we want to hear about it, and such an initiative will score highly on this dimension.

All Celent Capital Markets analysts are involved in the judging process, although the exact approach should perhaps remain “a secret sauce.”

No. We will not give preference to clients in the selection process and will ensure that we were not directly involved in the creation or deployment of any of the initiatives that will be recognized. To do otherwise would mean compromising Celent’s values and risking our reputation we have taken such great care to build.

Naturally, the main factor determining a nomination’s success is the strength of your own initiative. Remember, we will only award “live” initiatives which are already delivering business benefits, although we will also accept advanced stage pilots, as long as they have measurable results.

  • Focus on essential points, but don’t skimp on detail. It is surprising how many entries suffer from lack of clarity. Please do not expect us to understand internal acronyms or team names. Your initiative might be brilliant, but if we can’t understand it, you won’t win. Clarity of your submission is crucial!
  • If applicable, don’t hesitate to involve the vendor when submitting your nomination form; however, make sure that you (the financial institution) are actively engaged in and own the Model Buy Side process.
  • The final success factor is the strength of competition. As with all the awards, it’s all relative, and Celent appreciates that it’s not something you can do much about. It can be the case that we have many entries in one theme category and yet be starved of quality entries in others.


Submissions for our 2024 program are now closed.

We expect to notify the award winners in November. We will send an email to the individuals with contact details on the submission form. If there is a vendor involved and contact details are available, we will copy the vendor as well.

We will also email all nominees who did not win the award, typically a couple of days after we communicate results to the winners.

What Happens if we Win a Model Buy Side Award?

Privileges and Responsibilities of Model Buy Side Winners

Winning the Model Buy Side award gives the institution a number of privileges including a case study featuring the award-winning initiative included in the Model Buy Side series, available to all Celent research subscription clients as well as social promotion from Celent celebrating your win.

Celent will ask all Model Buy Side award winners to:

  • Support Celent in writing the case study and recording a short video interview about your initiative. Typically, this involves one to two telephone interviews and/or a few emails interchanged with the analyst authoring the case study, including your review and approval of the case study and video.

Yes, we will ask all Model Buy Side award winners to observe the following timelines:

  • Acknowledge within 24 hours the receipt of our email informing you that your initiative won the award.
  • Unless you inform us otherwise, this acknowledgement will confirm that you are happy to accept the award and fulfill the winner’s responsibilities.
  • Identify relevant executive(s) for case study interview(s) within one week of the original email.
  • Confirm the executive who will accept the award as early as possible.
  • Approve the case study for publishing – as early as possible, but no later than two weeks prior to the awards ceremony.
  • Participate in, and approve, a short video interview that complements the case study – as early as possible, but no later than two weeks prior to the awards ceremony.

Of course, even with the best will in the world, things do not always go as planned. We will work with you to manage the process along the way as closely as possible. At the absolute minimum, we need to have the case study written and approved by the financial institution, in order to still proceed with the award.

In the extreme scenario, if the financial institution does not support the case study or doesn’t respond to an email congratulating them on winning the award, we will have no choice but to disqualify the initiative. Over the years we only had to do this on a couple of occasions, but came close a number of times.

Case Study Support

A Celent analyst will be responsible for writing the case study and at their discretion recording a short video showcasing the initiative. The analyst will be identified and introduced to you via email informing you that your initiative has won the award. They should be your first port of call for any additional questions you might have about the Model Buy Side program. Of course, if you are an existing client, your account manager will continue to serve as the primary point of contact at Celent.

The information you will have supplied in the application form will serve as a great starting point for the case study. In addition, we ask all award winners to support us by:

  • Helping us arrange one or more interviews with relevant FI executives familiar with the initiative to get more details if necessary.
  • Supplying any available visuals (e.g. screenshots, charts, etc.) helpful to illustrate features and benefits of the solution.
  • Reviewing the draft and managing any necessary internal approvals to allow us to publish the case study.

The whole process should not take much more than a couple of hours of your time.

The case study is typically 6-9 pages long and covers the following topics:


  • Brief description of the company, usually from corporate literature.
  • Brief synopsis of the award-winning initiative.


  • Pain points or business opportunity – why did you launch this initiative?
  • Market and competition, or anything else relevant to understanding the case study.


  • What was built/ developed?
  • How? Over what period?
  • Who was involved?
  • What is unique about the solution/ initiative?
  • What were the biggest challenges?

Results and Lessons Learned

  • Quantitative and qualitative information of what the company achieved because of the initiative.
  • What are the future plans – e.g. geographic expansion, new functionality?
  • What were the most critical success factors that made this initiative successful?

The interview questions would broadly follow this outline.

We are not asking to disclose anything that’s confidential and would not publish anything before your explicit approval. We do ask, though, that in the submission form you identify any piece of information provided that we won’t be able to include in a case study, as we need to ensure that we have enough material to demonstrate why yours is a winning case.

We published the Model Buy Side reports during Celent’s Innovation and Insight Day on March 21, 2024.

Yes, you will receive a courtesy copy of your Model Buy Side case study report for internal use only. Of course, if you are a Celent research subscription client, you will be able to access all Model Buy Side reports just like any other Celent report.


Celent will announced all Model Buy Side award winners during the award ceremony at Innovation and Insight Day on March 21, 2024. Case studies were published the same day as well.

Yes, Celent supports and encourages the Model Buy Side award winners to issue a press release announcing this achievement. However, in order to ensure accuracy and consistent messaging across all of our winners, we ask that each company wishing to issue a release send it to Celent’s PR team at for review and approval.

Yes, we have prepared simple guidelines which can be accessed here.

We ask that you keep the news under embargo until we publicly announce all Model Buy Side award winners. If you want to issue your own press release, we recommend doing so on the day following the award ceremony.

Yes, but you must purchase redistribution rights from Celent first. Please contact us.

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