What were the top 10 articles on Fund Operator in 2023?

We look back at our most clicked-on articles over the course of 2023; did you read them all?

Fund Operator Editor POSTED ON 12/18/2023 8:00:00 AM


Over the past four years, Fund Operator has posted hundreds of one-on-one interviews, news and analysis, and industry insight pieces to the site, many of which feature exclusive quotes and quips.

Here, we look back at our most-read articles from 2023.

The most popular pieces we’ve published heavily skew toward our exclusive one-on-one interviews with senior industry figures where they give candid, practical information about their experiences, views, opinions, and the best practices that have served them well in their career.

Read the list below to make sure you're caught up:

  1. How to create growth in a fee-compressed environment

Coming in at number 10 is our June interview with Michael Germano, Chief Operating Officer & Head of North America for Newton Investment Management (a BNY Mellon group company), who discussed the future of investment operations in a fee-compressed world.

Germano also spoke at our Fund Operator Summit | Europe event in September.

  1. How to approach digital transformation

At our Private Markets Investor event in March, a panel of senior investment operations figures discussed the different approaches to digital transformation in an ever-changing market on day one of the event in London. 

  1. When can investors expect ESG regulatory standardisation?

Our keynote speaker at the ESG Investment Leader event in November, David Carlin, Head of Risk, United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI), whet our appetite for his fascinating talk in July in a video interview with Maya Sibul.

During the interview, Carlin outlined the ESG regulatory roadmap for insurance investment teams - including developments in near-term reform and the outlook on standardisation.

  1. How to identify and manage data versus content

Martha Fee, Chief Operating Officer, Northern Trust, and David Bender, Associate Director of Digital, Fiera Real Estate, offered tips and insights on how to best manage data in a write-up from an in-person half-day briefing in conjunction with Instinct Digital that we wrote about in June.

The consensus seemed to be that ‘content’ was more narrative than ‘data’. However, Bender disagreed, saying that, in his view, “it’s all data”. He added that, “any information you can structure in a digital format that can be stored is data.”

  1. What can data offer for a client reporting structure?

Bender was featured again, giving his thoughts on “data evangelism” – its negatives, positives, and what it can offer for operational efficiency for clients.

“I can promise you that anyone who is doing reporting in your organisation is probably frustrated by it to some degree but their initial reaction when you go into change will be to say that there is nothing wrong with it,” he said. “Yet, when you dig in, they will be the ones who will reveal things.”

  1. ESG investment duration gap with Sally Bridgeland

In May, Sally Bridgeland, Non-Executive Director and Chair of Investments, Local Pensions Partnership, discussed the duration gap between ESG considerations and the investment cycle, and how to rectify it. 

Bridgeland previously discussed this fundamental issue at Clear Path Analysis’s autumn ESG Investment Leader event in London in 2022 and this year judged our inaugural ESG Investment Leader Awards. It’s a difficulty that the industry will likely struggle with for some time, she has said.

  1. How to turn client reporting into a learning opportunity

Our highest clicked coverage came from Clear Path Analysis’s interesting and exclusive reports.

Martha Fee – who was also featured in our number seven article - explained the ways her team transformed formerly mundane or repetitive tasks into a learning opportunity, as well as ways to galvanise culture.

Fee’s comments were featured in the report, “Evolving client reporting to drive growth”, written in collaboration with Instinct Digital. It included several industry leaders in the digital and data sphere of operations for fund operators – including representatives from Fiera Real Estate and Walter Scott & Partners – discussing the trends they saw around optimisation methods for the client reporting process, especially around incorporating digitisation and changing culture.

  1. How to drive growth and efficiency through IT transformation

Rodney Hutchinson, Director of Strategy & IT Transformation at M&G Investments, discussed how to strategise and create efficiency for the long term. 

Hutchinson’s IT strategy topic is one that regularly appears in our most popular lists; it seems those in operations need to know as much as possible about the area.

  1. What is the future of investment operations in a fee-compressed world?

In July, Igor Bosnjak, Global Head of Investment & Data Operations at Russell Investments, shared his views on building the business case for new models to drive growth and innovation in a fee-compressed world.

“Our global operating model is to 'follow the sun',” said Bosnjak. “It’s really our backbone and means we can take advantage of what we have from our presence in different regions in leveraging talent and innovation to drive scale. We need the right combination of people, processes, and technology to deliver scalable portfolio and trading solutions.”

  1. Prudential Assurance floats idea of bulk annuities

The only news article that made it to the top 10 from May was our coverage of Prudential’s CEO stating that whilst days are early, entering the bulk annuities space was something they were considering after the UK market saw a boom in profits.

According to media reports, the UK bulk annuities market surpassed £50 billion this year. Market experts said it could hit £70 billion in the next few years, with this boom likely to be a significant draw for Prudential Assurance. 

Later, in September, M&G re-entered the bulk purchase annuity market with two buy-in transactions totalling £617m.

Now the question is: what will the big themes and stories be that comprise the top 10 for 2024?


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