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Novus Editorial

Building an Award-Winning Multi-Asset Class Portfolio Management System

Celebrating all that goes into a technology that serves hundreds of the world’s most sophisticated investors.

Daniel Ronde
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At SEI Novus℠, we've been on quite a journey. Novus Partners, Inc. started 15 years ago with deep roots in "Hedge Fund Portfolio Intelligence," and we have long been recognized as leaders in this space. A few years ago, with a vision for broader industry impact, we pivoted our product roadmap to focus on expanding the flexibility and coverage of our (already powerful) analytics engine. We had a single goal: to become the one platform for asset owners and asset managers. Today, I am proud to announce that we have been formally recognized for the work we’ve done with asset owners. SEI Novus recently won two industry-leading awards:

"Best Multi-Asset Class Portfolio Management System" 

The Private Asset Management (PAM) Awards "[are] often regarded as 'The Oscars' of the US Private Management Industry." The Best Multi-Asset Class Portfolio Management System “[recognizes and rewards] firms providing family office professionals with an integrated aggregation, reconciliation accounting, and performance system across multiple asset classes.”

The complete award description and criteria list can be found on the PAM awards website.

“Best Portfolio Management Vendor”

The Family Wealth Report Awards “[reward] achievement and showcase top-class performance, innovation, and distinction.” The Portfolio Management award is given to the best tool for “managing investment portfolios, asset allocation and monitoring against mandates.”

The complete award description and criteria list can be found on the Family Wealth Report Awards website.

It’s an honor to be recognized by the family office community for the role our technology plays within their investment teams. Let’s walk through our journey and discuss a few topics that proved instrumental in setting us apart.

A Flexible Dashboard and Data Framework

While our legacy analytics platform was powerful, it was originally envisioned as a static tool for analyzing hedge funds. As the industry evolved, investors increasingly craved more diverse analytics. In response, we built a flexible reporting engine; users could structure a wide variety of analysis from scratch into a custom dashboard, and even schedule regular email updates for themselves and their team. Our reporting product itself became a game-changer for many investors—and is still widely used—but the analysis engine powering reporting proved equally valuable. It provided a framework for us to flexibly incorporate data from many sources, combine calculations, and even quickly build new calculations. We used this tool to rapidly create new features and experiences for our clients including:

Illiquid Coverage

Our increasingly broad range of support for illiquid assets and private equity includes a number of tools for analysis including Liquidity Calendar, Cashflow Projections, and Public Market Equivalents.

This chart illustrates Cash Flow Projections for a randomized portfolio within The Novus Platform.

MSCI and IHS Markit Integrations

Integrating directly with two of the largest market data providers in the industry makes it possible for our platform to connect your portfolio data to a variety of metrics including ESG ratings and short interest data—with a single click.

Event Analysis

Event Analysis helps identify behavioral biases around trading for both Asset Owners and Asset Managers. Investors use it to answer questions like: Am I buying late? Is a manager selling early? How do we trade around earnings—and is it additive? (More on Event Analysis)

This chart illustrates Event Analysis for a randomized portfolio within The Novus Platform.

Fully Unified Lookthrough Exposure

Fully Unified Exposures allow you to seamlessly combine all levels of lookthrough transparency with your allocation tree and have a flexible view of your entire portfolio. With What-If Analysis and Ledger (more on this below), you can easily modify your allocation tree and compare the lookthrough data.

Fund Attribution

This feature allows users to measure how much portfolio performance comes from asset allocation versus manager selection decisions.

Snapshots

Users can curate a dashboard, freeze the analytics, and make the dashboard sharable with anyone via link. Snapshots are the modern method for reporting and sharing portfolio information (move over, PDFs).

This chart illustrates sector exposures for a portfolio tracking over EUR 30bn in short investments
across more than 150 manager using The Novus Platform.

To see more Snapshots in action, check out our insights dashboards.

Ledger and Shadow Accounting

Our dashboarding system unlocked large opportunities for asset owners. As we continued to onboard more asset owners onto our platform, we kept hearing a similar complaint from them: “All of these calculations and lookthrough analytics are great, but what if I can’t trust my allocation data from my custodian?”

Last year, we set out to build Ledger, a tech-based shadow accounting solution for asset owners. We wanted to empower our users to operate an accurate Investment Book of Record (IBOR) and provide them with the ability to ingest, inspect, and amend data from multiple sources. We officially released the product in March. Ledger finally allows asset owners to curate an accurate IBOR within our platform. It connects seamlessly to our flexible analytics engine, allowing users to quickly derive insights, and ultimately invest with more confidence. Ledger undoubtably played a pivotal role in winning us these awards.  

This image illustrates a hypothetical scenario in which an SEI Novus user is editing a misbooked transaction using Ledger.

We’ve further expanded our offerings as part of our recent acquisition. With the help of SEI, we can now support the entire outsourcing of back-office operations. The Novus + SEI pairing can connect back, middle, and front offices with a single, digitally native solution.  

For asset owners, SEI Novus is a one-stop reconciled Investment Book of Record.

SEI Novus Client Analytics Team

Over the last few years, added flexibility was the core driver of our growth. With our new, dashboard-centric approach, our end users can build countless customized analyses. However, infinite flexibility can be initially intimidating for end users. Our Client Analytics team partners with our clients, assuming the responsibility to ensure that users are armed with the knowledge they need to become SEI Novus power users. Our team meets with our clients, understands their specific needs, and aids in the creation of solutions for every use case. Virtually all of our clients have partnered with the team to construct tailored experiences. It’s an incredible accomplishment and our users love it:

“Tasks that used to take us days can be completed in under an hour with SEI Novus. The level of service I personally have received from SEI Novus has been exceptional. The SEI Novus team is always ready to help, knowledgeable, and effective.” 
William Hunt, Research Analyst, Family Office
“SEI Novus has been a strong partner for us since our launch nearly three years ago. With their help we have organized and analyzed a dizzying amount of data from our custodians and external managers. Their teams are smart, hard-working, highly skilled, and helpful. They are a pleasure to work with.”
Erik Carleton, Director, Private Pension

The exceptional service and customization provided by our Client Analytics Team animates our platform’s potential—a contribution that undoubtedly set us apart during awards season.  

The Engineering Team and Future Development of The Novus Platform

While winning awards is great, the best part for me has been working with our engineering team. The engineering team at SEI Novus is hard-working, smart, and talented—and they’ve delivered an inordinate amount of product over the last few years. These awards represent important milestones, and I’m so proud of what the team has built. But these awards are simply steps in our journey—the team is just as excited to keep building.  

So what does the future hold?  

SEI Novus sits in a unique place within the investment landscape now that we have industry renowned products for both asset owners and asset managers. In the coming months, we’ll be focusing on further data expansion. We will continue to expand our Ledger functionality and add more data vendors with native connections. We’ll continue making the management of your portfolio data even easier, with investment towards expanding functionally and streamlining the user experience. Our new data-object oriented architecture will give you complete control of all your data ingested by The Novus Platform.  

Finally, we’ve charted a course that will allow for asset owners and asset managers to interact directly inside The Novus Platform. SEI’s investment in our technology will expand the ways we connect these two groups, helping both approach the other in a data-driven manner, and facilitating the exchange of portfolio information more efficiently. Our journey in becoming the “one platform for institutional investors” continues, and I’m truly honored to be along for the ride.  

Technology services provided by SEI through its affiliates and subsidiaries.

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Learn how SEI Novus can help you.

Our team of world-class client management analysts will introduce you to our product, tailoring the conversation to your specific needs and interests.