Case Study: Investment Management System (IMS) Implementation

Client Challenge

An asset owner undertaking investment management activities through a combination of internal management and outsourcing to external managers selected Blackrock Aladdin (Aladdin) as the front and middle office platform across all asset classes. Having failed with the implementation of a similar system in the past, the board and executive team wanted to de-risk the implementation by using a firm who understand the complexities of their business and had experience implementing front and middle office solutions.  In addition to Aladdin implementation, the project scope included:

  • Re-design and alignment of the middle office to Aladdin to improve efficiency and accountabilities
  • Implementation of a new enterprise-wide integration service
  • Decommissioning of the incumbent OMS
  • Revising the data interface with the Custodian to better support the front office teams and Aladdin

Shoreline was engaged by the client to run the implementation and deliver the other in-scope items.

Shoreline Approach

Shoreline has 10+ years of experience in Investment Management Solution (IMS) implementation. We have assisted multiple clients with the implementations of BlackRock Aladdin and a number of other Front and Middle office solutions across all implementation phases from program mobilization to system roll-out.

We worked with the client to understand their implementation team expertise and the expertise needed. Based on our resourcing gap analysis, we assembled a joint Shoreline-client team.  The following Shoreline consultants were deployed to supplement the client’s implementation team:

  • Senior Project Manager:  a senior project manager with extensive investment management project delivery experience was responsible for managing the end-to-end delivery of the Aladdin implementation within the defined budget and time parameters. The PM played a pivotal role in building the business case, creating the overall project plan, prioritization of initiatives, implementation modifications to the operating model, vendor management and securing senior client stakeholder buy-in
  • Front Office Business Analyst:  a senior Business Analyst with deep front office expertise to assist the client with front office requirement gathering, process re-engineering, and investment and market data specification. The BA engaged the investment teams and IT stakeholders to gather and document requirements.  Shoreline BA assigned to the project had extensive front office experience which resulted in quick translation of investment team needs into actionable technical requirements. The BA also played an important role in UAT testing
  • Solution Architect: a senior solution architect with experience on multiple investment management solution implementation projects was responsible for designing the detailed application, integration, and data architecture for the new Aladdin system, the transition and decommissioning planning for the old OMS and design, and specification of the new enterprise integration service.   Working with the IMS vendor and client stakeholders, the solution architect created the IMS solution architecture, reference integration architecture and data architecture for the Aladdin implementation. The solution architecture design ensured smooth integration of the new system in the client’s existing ecosystem
  • Change Manager:  a change manager with investment management experience was responsible for end-to-end change management related to middle office redesign, system roll-out, process re-engineering and role & responsibility changes. The Shoreline change manager applied a structure methodology and led the change management activities across the program. The change manager played a pivotal role in developing the project stakeholder engagement plan, communication plan, risk mitigation tactics gaining stakeholder buy-in for the change impact plan and managing the post roll-out user support activities.

Results and Client Benefits

BlackRock Aladdin IMS was successfully implemented by the joint Shoreline-client team within the agreed timeframe and budget.

Shoreline was able to deliver the following key benefits:

  • The client had no in-house experience in implementing an IMS system. Shoreline helped the client build the implementation team, integrate the new platform into the existing architecture and modify the operating model
  • Experienced Shoreline resources assisting the program implementation in key positions ensured on-time and within budget delivery
  • Shoreline helped the client filter through the noise – prioritize the relevant initiatives and de-prioritize the noise
  • The client had several senior stakeholders who favoured different implementation approaches. Shoreline helped in managing client expectations and securing stakeholder buy-in for the project plan
  • Shoreline helped the client uplift the existing service provider (custodian) capability to integrate with Aladdin and leverage advanced Aladdin features
  • Shoreline provided a change management approach tailored to the client’s corporate culture. This helped client stakeholders understand the overall change management journey and view the new system implementation as a sustainable change rather than just one-off system upgrade

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