How Synpulse helps optimise discretionary portfolio management

08 September 2021 4 min. read

In the rapidly evolving and highly competitive discretionary portfolio management market, staying ahead of the competition and trends in the market is the need of the hour.

Discretionary portfolio management is a form of investment management in which buy and sell decisions are made by a portfolio manager or investment counsellor for the client’s account. The term “discretionary” refers to the fact that investment decisions are made at the portfolio manager’s discretion.

Globally, this segment of investment management is thriving, both globally as well as in Asia. For example, in Singapore and Hong Kong, private banks have witnessed a 20% to 40% growth in discretionary portfolio management assets over the last three years. And the size of the segment is predicted to grow even further in the next years.

Total assets managed by Singapore based asset managers

Against the backdrop of the market’s expansion, portfolio management institutions across the globe are engaged in a battle to adapt to changing market conditions. These include: changing investor preferences, rapid changes from regulators, and cost-pressures that are skimming margins and demanding players to “do more with less” across every area of operation. 

To successfully compete in the discretionary portfolio management market, it is essential for asset manager to review their investment strategies and impact on the bottom line. From an operational perspective, it is key to optimise processes and resourcing, with state-of-the-art technology a central enabler of efficiency enhancement. 

Having a robust and fully digital portfolio management system helps mitigate operational risks, streamline business and client processes, and bring together information in order to drive more strategic and investment-related decision-making. 

Bringing change to life

Transforming the discretionary portfolio management function is known for its complexities and pitfalls. Bringing a new, improved vision to life requires an integral view on change, from strategy and processes through to systems and people. 

Synpulse is one of Asia’s leading management and technology consulting firms in the financial services industry, and has a proven subject matter expertise and track-record in implementations in the discretionary portfolio management domain. Three of the firm’s consultants – Raghava Reddy, Theophilus Daniel and Yingying Zhang, outline how the consultancy helps deliver successful change through its end-to-end implementation approach:

Synpulse Implementation Approach

The approach builds on three phases that guide the change from target operating model definition to post go-live support. 

Gap analysis
The gap analysis phase consists of information gathering from the various business stakeholders including the portfolio management and investment risk teams, and a detailed analysis of the as-Is versus to-be architecture. Key stakeholders are engaged to define the vision of the implementation. The key deliverable is the ‘Scope Review and Agreement’.

Feasibility assessment and design
The primary activities in this phase involve identifying benefits and costs of the implementation, including licenses. Validation workshops are conducted with both business and IT stakeholders. The key deliverable is a ‘Recommendation Report’ detailing the target state and the complexity of the implementation. A Go/No-Go decision is made at the end of this process on whether to proceed with the implementation. 

The implementation phase starts with the project kick-off by identifying and assembling the team for project governance, project management, functional lead, technical lead, and change management. Synpulse follows the proven best practices in Software Development Life-Cycle (SDLC) that involves development and various cycles of testing, and the subsequent go-live and post go-live support. 

Synpulse’s expertise helps to craft the flow of the various modules and the related tasks for the different teams involved in the end-to-end delivery and go-live. Once the platform is rolled out successfully, a project transition plan is in place to ensure a smooth transition from the implementation phase to the maintenance phase.