How standardization can build a platform for growth

Across three continents, a leading asset manager bridged the gap by building a truly global operating model.

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The better the question

Without a global investment platform, how can growth accelerate?

A global asset manager was being hindered by legacy technology platforms operated by companies it had acquired.

In a competitive environment, financial services companies often grow and expand into new markets through acquisitions. From a technology perspective, though, this can cause issues, as the firms acquired are unlikely to be using the same technology platforms as the parent company.

This was the situation facing a leading global asset management company about five years ago. Through a combination of internal growth and acquisitions over the years, the firm had offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, all operating on separate technology platforms, so it set about rectifying that. Leadership framed the need for a common global technology platform that would support its growth objectives which would include a common trading platform, order management system, middle office and a standard set of risk metrics.

The asset manager decided to implement a single investment platform worldwide and selected a market-leading end-to-end operating system for investment professionals, to provide that technology backbone. But implementing a new platform across multiple offices around the globe is no ordinary task, requiring practical acumen and support in migrating the businesses to the new system. The firm was looking for an experienced global firm that could accelerate delivery and de-risk the project by applying significant experience gained on similar projects. EY professionals have this experience and a global team was engaged to replace the firm’s existing investment platforms across three continents.

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The better the answer

Global competency to support a growing global operating model

EY’s experienced specialists from around the world supported the implementation of a best-of-breed investment management platform.

The EY team rolled out the new platform in Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America over several years. The firm's global competency and network proved invaluable in supporting the client’s aspirations to build a global operating model. Success was achieved through local and global alignment and connectivity. Some staff who were working on other engagements even moved to different EY locations in order to more effectively support this project.


Alongside the implementation of the global operating platform, the asset manager was looking to draw upon our global organization's experience to support its business champions in the resolution of design, data and configuration issues. EY teams helped with issues such as system integration testing, user acceptance testing, data conversion and training. The teams also continued to support the global migration post implementation to support a smooth transition.


The latter service was particularly important with regard to the middle-office platform. Many of the asset manager’s middle-office functions had been outsourced, so the EY teams helped to facilitate a knowledge transfer process, effectively “downloading” institutional knowledge from the outsource provider and then “uploading” it to the asset management firm.


Legacy in-house developed systems created additional complexity related to global reporting needs, as the new solution relied on this legacy system to supply some of the data. Configuring the systems involved some challenges because of dependencies in aligning the right information from the source database into the new platform.


One of the implementations began just before the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected normal communications. Unable to sit side by side with the client’s front-office users, we effectively utilized virtual communication to answer questions and facilitate training. Despite the pandemic and the other resulting challenges, the implementation was still completed on time.

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The better the world works

Centralization and standardization bring new benefits to customers

The asset manager can now offer truly global trading opportunities supported by cutting-edge risk analytics and technology.

The asset management company now has a standardized, centralized platform to support a global investment management model and a global middle-office servicing model. In addition, its front-office teams now have access to industry-leading risk analytics and scenario analysis, ultimately enabling them to offer a better service to their clients. This is the infrastructure they needed to support scalability and accelerate growth.

Clients also benefit from more truly global trading than the firm’s legacy platforms allowed. For example, investment managers in Asia can now help their counterparts in North America, who in turn can advise on Asian portfolios, and clients can access markets they could not readily access before. 

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