Buy Side Investment Risk Management Part 1: A Survey of Business Priorities, Risk Hotspots, and Operational Alpha Opportunities

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17 November 2017

With the arms race and feverish hype around fintech, innovation, and AI, investment firms must understand where and how to navigate next-generation IT to achieve alpha-oriented operations.

Key research questions

  • What are the pressure points and challenges of the investment management sector?
  • Where and how are significant risk hotspots emerging from a portfolio and risk management standpoint?
  • How should firms prepare for structural factors and disruptive forces altering risk and competitive dynamics?


Digital technology enablement could augment alpha generation for active managers and stem the erosion against the tidal wave of passive investing.

This report explores a future-oriented view of how investment business priorities and risk dynamics in the buy side universe are expected to play out in the short-term to mid-term horizon based on recent Celent survey insights and data. The report also highlights their implications on investment and risk functions and technologies, and how firms should respond to these developments.

As active managers search for returns and value-added alpha within a dynamic market besieged by low interest rates, buy side firms face pressures from increased regulatory compliance and transparency requirements, structural market changes, the influx of digital technologies, and continual shifts in investor buying behaviour, product preferences, and performance/costs perceptions.

The market is undergoing another hype cycle. Investment firms are faced with an array of apparent opportunities to enhance and build next-generation investment and risk management capabilities. Buy side firms are naturally attempting to avoid as much regulatory costs as possible, but the big challenge over the next few years will be how to practically manage the cost of technology and to establish the right foundations for operational alpha to translate into value-added investment returns.