Tag: CEO

October 5, 2016 David Gemma


In celebrating 25 years of working with institutional asset managers, wealth managers, hedge funds, fund of funds and family offices, we’ve encountered the entire spectrum of data maturity in these firms. It’s easiest to place these firms into 3 categories of data maturity that reflect how they process data and the level of automation they use to gain an edge against their peers:


These firms typically do a lot of manual manipulation of data and the knowledge that they glean from their data is all about looking in the rear view mirror to figure out what happened.


At this stage, firms have implemented solutions that automate data bridges/integrations between core systems and aggregate data so they can go looking for information that is current and report on it for further evaluation.


These are the firms that are growing both their client base and margins simultaneously because they can service more clients without adding to staff.  Their information is automatically processed, parceled and proactively delivered to its target (individuals and teams) and the data content is matched with the role of the target or business unit.  No one is searching for data, instead, valuable information is created and sent to them:

  • - Compliance Officers are notified of exceptions, outliers and drift that is or may be cause for concern,
  • - Operations receives critical data elements necessary for portfolio setup and maintenance,
  • - Client Service knows who’s calling and has the client record on their screen before they even answer an inbound call, and are reminded of upcoming and pending tasks
  • - Portfolio Managers and Traders are in tune with the prioritization of what needs to happen when, and in which portfolio
  • - Sales and Marketing are inextricably linked so that Sales success and failure helps refine and improve Marketing efforts in a heuristic feedback loop.
  • - CEO/CFO/COO can see trends in growth of specific portfolio strategies and funds, most profitable distribution channels, intermediaries and referrals sources, and perhaps more importantly areas that are untapped or declining.

Some advisory firms zoom through these phases but most get stuck within the first two. 

UNAPEN will continue to help firms evolve in order to be more competitive and profitable than their peers.


October 23, 2007 David Gemma 1 comment

Joseph Walker will illuminate how trends in technology and business processes are providing a critical, competitive edge to visionary wealth managers allowing them to win and retain clients – Las Vegas, November 15th & 16th, 2007

Wallingford, CT: October 23, 2007—Joseph Walker, CEO and a founding partner of UNAPEN, Inc., will be the Co-Chair presiding over the 2007 Wealth Management Technology & Operations Summit on November 15th & 16th, 2007 at The Paris Hotel in Las Vegas.

The summit, hosted by Financial Research Associates, will concentrate on today’s vital issues and solutions for wealth managers as they strive to be more profitable and successful. Summit topics will focus on technology trends, best practices in account aggregation & data consolidation, operational issues related to asset gathering/retention, reporting, accounting, billing, tax and compliance.

Mr. Walker will share contemporary insight on how the successful mix of technology and business processes are elevating forward-thinking wealth managers above the rest in the competition for new clients and increasing client retention.

  About UNAPEN

UNAPEN, Inc. is a nationally recognized consulting and software development firm that has delivered functional excellence to the asset management community since 1991. Our mission is to partner with our clients to overcome the business and technical challenges in today’s financial services industry. The firm offers a seasoned team of industry experts that have provided professional guidance to some of the most successful wealth managers and service providers in the industry. In addition to these professional services UNAPEN offers two flagship platforms, ClientRep™ and ClientLogix™. These platforms provide powerful solutions for production client reporting and relationship management that also centralize and aggregate data from major portfolio accounting systems and 3rd party data providers. UNAPEN paves the way for profitable growth by streamlining and automating front, middle and back-office tasks and data flow allowing firms to aggressively grow assets without proportionately adding staff.

  About FRA, its Divisions and Events

Financial Research Associates and its divisions, Pharmaceutical Education Associates and Legal Education Associates, provide access to timely and focused business information and networking opportunities through top-level, executive summits, conferences and seminars. Offering highly targeted events, FRA positions itself as a preferred resource for executives and managers seeking cutting-edge information on the next wave of business opportunities in:

Legal Education

For additional information on Financial Research Associates visit: http://www.frallc.com/.

May 4, 2006 David Gemma No comments exist

TowerGroup predicts massive retooling of Back Office will be required.
by Joseph Walker

TowerGroup, a leading provider of research and analysis, recently predicted that the oncoming tidal wave of retirees and their complex “needs-driven” financial planning process will lead to a massive overhaul of the financial services IT infrastructure.

Gavin Little-Gill, Director of Securities and Investments at TowerGroup, speaking at a recent ISITC Conference in Boston, forecasted that emerging investment products and householding requirements simply cannot be serviced with our existing operations and technology infrastructure. Little-Gill believes that current systems cannot support the full asset coverage that will be required by asset managers in the near future. Within the next five years, 77 million retirees will drive these systems to the breaking point.

Everybody has something to say about retirement, Baby Boomers, and financial services. The most recent voice added to the chorus was that of Little-Gill, who astutely predicts the demise of substantial portions of our aging back office infrastructure. I, for one, find his words both refreshing and prescient. For more than two decades, I have watched the asset management community place one band-aid over another in an attempt to preserve huge investments in legacy systems. The time has come for our industry to make some wise choices and long-term investments.

Baby boomers are forcing the issue that should have been forced years ago—our technology, and the way that it is deployed, does not address the needs of the people that it is supposed to service. For years we have incrementally bolted on functions to handle everything from new asset types to aggregated reporting requirements. The result has been a sprawling set of systems and interfaces that are not durable in the face of change.

As the end client, particularly the retail end client, begins to shift from the acceptance of packaged investment product to the demand for tailored strategy, everything will change. Right now our suitability tools sift through preferences and create investment strategies based on asset allocation and products. Clients just don’t tend to think this way—they often have a set of needs that they are looking to meet. Investment managers increasingly own a portion of the client’s wealth management picture without the benefit of knowing what’s going on elsewhere. That makes holistic strategy development pretty challenging and virtually eliminates the possibility of meaningful reporting.

Even if a manager somehow convinces clients to give them everything, they can’t account for value, benchmark and report on the full array of assets with what they have at their disposal. Show me a portfolio system that can properly book derivatives, insurance, annuities and traditional assets. Even if you’ve coaxed your systems into doing this, how do you know whether you are still on target with a financial plan, investment objectives or guidelines established by the client?

I recently stated that the cost of “best of breed” implementations had become prohibitive when you factor in the cost of implementation and integration with multiple systems. That’s not very good news for a lot of people, especially companies like mine. Since UNAPEN provides many of the missing pieces and value-added components for investment systems, we spend a lot of time implementing and integrating. What gives me hope for the future and a business plan that I can bank on? Quite simply, the financial services industry has never coalesced around any standard or practice until absolutely required to do so, either by regulatory or economic mandate.

I predict a substantial economic mandate (with a little regulatory boost) that will demand that most of the service agents in financial services implement a modern set of business practices. These business practices will be a mix of operational workflow, information management standards and systems architecture that will allow a cost-effective business model for servicing a huge volume of very discerning customers (baby boomers).

I’ve never felt like waiting for the rush, so we’re making some early bets—on technology, on data interchange, and on service models. The software and services that we deliver to our clients, that helps them service their clients, already incorporates needs-driven constructs. Now we have to make sure that our partners can provide us with a meaningful level of data interchange that allows our clients to shift operational processes for better implementation of investment strategy and more meaningful customer interactions. Let’s see if that really happens and who will lead the charge.

September 16, 2005 David Gemma No comments exist

  UNAPEN CEO Addresses the Managed Accounts Industry in Boston, MA on September 22, 2005

Wallingford, CT: September 16, 2005—Joseph Walker, CEO of UNAPEN, Inc.—a Connecticut-based consulting and software firm focused on the Financial Services Industry—is a moderator at the 4th Annual Managed Accounts Summit on September 22, 2005 at The State Room in Boston, MA presented by Financial Research Associates, LLC. The panel discussion is entitled “Regulatory Roundtable: Key Compliance Issues Affecting the SMA Market”. See below for schedule and details.

2:15 PM, Thursday, September 22, 2005
Regulatory Roundtable: Key Compliance Issues Affecting the SMA Market

What are the SEC focus areas affecting the SMA industry?
What do they look for in an audit?
Best execution issues and the SMA issues
Suitability issues and “know your client”: Who is responsible?
What are the compliance issues that arise when outsourcing back office functions?

Joseph A. Walker, Managing Director & CEO

Michael S. Caccese, Partner
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LP

Margaret Sheehan, Partner
Alston & Bird LLP

Vincent J. Lepore, Senior Advisor