London-based Marathon Asset Management’s current client reporting solution had been in place for many years, providing client reporting to a globally diverse and broad range of institutional investors.
As Marathon’s business grew and the requirements of its clients evolved, its Client Service team felt that the existing tool had become cumbersome and outdated. Furthermore, each reporting cycle involved a high degree of manual intervention and effort related to data reconciliation as well as necessary IT involvement. Marathon required a platform that could satisfy not only its current business requirements, but also meet the digital requirements of its clients in the future.
Marathon required a platform that could satisfy not only its current business requirements, but also meet the digital requirements of its clients in the future.
Building the case for change
Marathon applies a best-of-breed approach to all systems within its architectural set-up, and conducts regular reviews to determine whether current solutions are appropriate to meet the needs of the business now and in the future.
A review of both existing processes and Marathon’s client reporting solution highlighted where efficiencies could be gained in the report production process. The review focused on three areas;
- improvements in the process around workflow,
- reduction in manual intervention around report production and
- increased flexibility by moving report design away from IT and into Client Service.
Areas for improvement
The review process identified the following areas for improvement:
- More efficient to use report design functionality that sits with Client Service rather than IT.
- PowerPoint based functionality to significantly streamline the process to create client pitch books and presentations.
- Moving to rule-driven report content rather than each report’s components being bespoke and chosen individually.
- The ability to run data validation and commentary management workflows independently of each other, and in parallel to one another.
- Automation of existing data validation checks.
- Automation of the distribution process to disseminate completed reports to clients.
- An API interface to Marathon’s CRM solution to extract ‘who gets what’ information for the distribution process and account information to drive report content.
- The ability to write back activity information into Marathon’s CRM.
Partnering with SimCorp Coric
The strategic nature of the decision to overhaul its client reporting and communications function meant that Marathon’s selection process was a rigorous one.
Marathon conducted a thorough review of the market offerings, including input both from internal departments and several industry peers and experts. This review first led to a long list of providers that was then reduced to a shortlist of four systems, including Marathon’s existing solution. For each of these systems, detailed demonstrations as well as in-depth Q&A sessions were performed by the vendor.
Two systems were selected for a final proof-of-concept stage. Marathon and the two vendors committed significant time and effort into multi-day workshops that included ‘live’ demonstrations to explore how the solutions could meet Marathon’s needs as well as hands-on report building sessions for Client Service.
To deliver a 360-degree evaluation of the solutions available, Marathon’s IT, Client Service and Operations teams participated in the proof-of-concept stage and were asked to provide detailed scores and comments using a standard scoring matrix, which formed the basis of a final decision-making session.
The evaluation led to Marathon’s selection of SimCorp and its product, SimCorp Coric, as the ideal solution based on their requirements.
Two systems were selected for a final proof-of-concept stage… The evaluation led to Marathon’s selection of SimCorp and its product, SimCorp Coric, as the ideal solution based on their requirements.
Collaboration and strong project governance
The project to implement SimCorp Coric began immediately. A scoping workshop was carried out, and a detailed project plan was supplied by SimCorp.
As with any project, the key to a successful implementation was collaboration and the ability to work towards the same goal. The principal implementation consultant from SimCorp spent four days a week on site at Marathon, which significantly improved communication across the two organizations.
When key pieces of work were being delivered by other members of the SimCorp team, they too would spend some time in the Marathon office ensuring that they worked with key stakeholders from Marathon when delivering the changes.
A strong project governance framework was also established, with fortnightly joint steering groups allowing Senior Management to retain oversight, but also ensuring that the collaborative nature of the project persisted throughout.
The benefits of a modern client communications platform
SimCorp Coric successfully went live at Marathon in January 2017. As part of the overhaul of its existing communications process and platform, Marathon used the implementation of SimCorp Coric to help drive a firm-wide rebrand to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Marathon’s business.
Quicker report delivery to clients
Significant reductions in the number of manual processes that were previously undertaken during reporting cycles have meant Marathon has seen a dramatic drop in both the effort and the time taken to deliver reports to clients. Marathon’s Client Service Team is now able to concentrate on servicing clients instead of report production.
Significant reductions in the number of manual processes that were previously undertaken during reporting cycles has meant Marathon has seen a dramatic drop in both the effort and the time taken to deliver reports to clients.
Increased agility and empowerment of business users
The implementation of SimCorp Coric and its business user tools has shifted the design of reports to Marathon’s Client Service function. Client Service is now able to build reports using SimCorp Coric’s “drag and drop” report generation tools, meaning that they no longer require IT involvement in the modification of reports; significantly reducing production time and increasing Marathon’s responsiveness to its clients’ ad-hoc reporting demands.
Increased operational efficiency
Marathon’s implementation of SimCorp Coric has brought high-levels of automation to its client reporting processes, enabling the efficient and cost-effective production of the firm’s bespoke client presentations, pitchbooks and quarterly institutional client investment reports. Furthermore, the implementation of SimCorp Coric based data validation rules, which were previously carried out manually, and an automated distribution process will also increase efficiency
Work-flow driven production
Marathon is now able to run the data validation and commentary management workflows independently of each other and in parallel with one another. Rule-driven report content has also reduced the amount of manual effort and intervention required in the selection of each report’s components, increasing operational efficiency in the report production process.
Increased control and oversight of reporting process
Marathon has also increased control of the reporting process by utilizing SimCorp Coric’s dashboard functionality. Management oversight of the reporting production process is now real-time and automated, removing the need and manual effort required to maintain an Excel™ spreadsheet, which was previously applied.
Clear, consistent and visually appealing reports
The deployment of SimCorp Coric in combination with Marathon’s rebranding exercise has enabled delivery of higher quality and more visually attractive reports to clients. Furthermore, and as part of the rebranding exercise, Marathon has re-designed the layout of reports, providing clearer visualization of data and enrichment of the client experience.
What the future holds for Marathon
Following a successful early care post-implementation period, Marathon is live with SimCorp Coric and recognize the significant benefits that it will bring to its Client Service, Technology and Performance teams.
SimCorp Coric provides us with an automated, scalable and cost-effective platform to deliver a more efficient and enhanced level of client service.Andy Flawn - Head of Information Systems at Marathon
Name: Marathon Asset Management
Headquarters: London, UK
Industry: Asset Management
About Marathon Asset Management
Marathon was founded in 1986 as an equity-only investment manager for institutional investors. A small investment team applies Marathon’s distinctive investment philosophy within an environment free from committee-based decision making. The structure fosters independent investment thought and results in portfolios with diversified, yet strong views that are designed to deliver long-term outperformance. Marathon’s focus on delivering superior investment returns, rather than asset accumulation, is facilitated by owner management and reinforced by a strong preference for performance-based fees.