To support growth and perform risk analysis and investment guideline monitoring, Credit Suisse Asset Management (CSAM), part of the Credit Suisse group, needed a next-generation data management, reporting, and analysis solution. CSAM built its Strategic Performance, Exposure, Attribution, and Risk (SPEAR) application using Microsoft Business Intelligence technologies and Microsoft ASP.NET, with the Microsoft Silverlight browser plug-in for a rich interactive user experience. After successful deployment in the CSAM United States office—as well as to the Prime Services Risk Management Group of the investment bank—the same product is being rolled out at the Zurich branch of the business. The reusability of the platform resulted in fast time to market and a reduced total cost of ownership across multiple areas of the bank, which is now better positioned to adapt to changing risk monitoring requirements globally.Situation
Credit Suisse Asset Management (CSAM), part of the Credit Suisse group, wanted an innovative, integrated, and cost-effective IT solution to assess investment risk, counterparty risk, and investment guideline monitoring for clients globally. The architecture needed to be flexible to plug-in additional risk analytics services, covering a broad range of complex asset management products.
In addition, CSAM and the investment bank wanted a flexible and rules-based application to identify clients’ adherence to risk thresholds and help the organisation respond quickly to market events.Solution
In 2008, CSAM built the Strategic Performance, Exposure, Attribution, and Risk (SPEAR) application on the bank’s AI ONE platform—an environment that supports asset management businesses at CSAM. At the core of SPEAR is a single centralised data warehouse that sources reference and other operational data.
CSAM built AI ONE and SPEAR using a suite of Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI), database, and reporting tools. Microsoft SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services, and SQL Server 2008 Integration Services are at the core of the data services solution.
SPEAR uses SQL Server Analysis Services as an online analytical processing (OLAP) tool to aggregate various measures across more than 10 hierarchical dimensions—this helps speed up access to data. Users can conduct analyses by connecting to SQL Server Analysis Services from Excel or other third-party tools, getting results quickly.
The presentation layer is hosted in a Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 portal and built using ASP.NET and SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services for customised reports. The portal is customised to create “My Portal,” with relevant risk Web Parts, which can communicate with one another. SPEAR also offers web-based rich visualisation capabilities using the Microsoft Silverlight browser plug-in.
SPEAR also incorporates a data security layer that can be configured to protect sensitive data. Satyajit Bhattacharya, Director of IT at Credit Suisse Asset Management, says: “We wanted SPEAR to be developed as a product that can cater to the needs of multiple business areas. The application tier uses Microsoft Visual C# .NET and is built on a service-oriented architecture that allowed us to integrate with various third-party analytics services. The rules-based evaluation engine made the system flexible to configure, helping the organisation respond to market events without creating additional coding requirements.”
||Building once and deploying into multiple areas within the bank is reducing the cost of IT operations and maintenance.
Head of IT
Credit Suisse Asset Management, United States office
The key to the success of SPEAR is the ability to reuse existing applications for new uses, ensuring fast time to market. Steve Liebman, Head of IT at Credit Suisse Asset Management United States office, says: “Building once and deploying into multiple areas within the bank is reducing the cost of IT operations and maintenance.”
After successfully customising and rolling out the solution to US CSAM, along with the Prime Services Risk Management Group, SPEAR has now been rolled out to the Zurich branch of CSAM. Benefits
By using SPEAR, business areas across the bank have successfully addressed various investment-risk and compliance-related requirements. The self-service feature and reusable components of the SPEAR platform built with Microsoft BI technology have resulted in rapid time to market. Less developer time is now needed for routine tasks, freeing the CSAM IT team for higher-value strategic work. Plus, the firm has reduced total cost of ownership.
Creates Business Efficiencies and Reduces Operational Costs
With SPEAR, CSAM has cut operational costs, streamlined its risk analysis processes, and is better positioned to react quickly to changes in risk and compliance requirements. In addition, straight through processing of end-to-end risk reporting has ensured that users have the tools to provide full coverage of the business in a timely manner across a complex set of businesses in asset management.
Tony Patti, Chief Risk Officer for Credit Suisse Asset Management, says: “Creating a central risk repository with automatic analytics capabilities has improved productivity, expanded our coverage capacity, and given us more time to think about portfolio risk.”
||Creating a central risk repository with automatic analytics capabilities has improved productivity, expanded our coverage capacity, and given us more time to think about portfolio risk.
Chief Risk Officer
Credit Suisse Asset Management
Provides a Structure for Globally Consistent Reporting
Zurich CSAM implemented SPEAR for a subset of its business in 2011, and has plans to extend to other parts of the organisation in the future. The adoption of SPEAR across the asset management business has helped users analyse risk using a consistent methodology. It gives them an opportunity to view risk across various silos globally, but still have detailed data for further analysis.
Offers Innovative Solution for Efficient Investment Guideline Monitoring
The lockup compliance monitoring application built on SPEAR in 2010 gives the Prime Services Risk Management Group an effective and easy-to-use dashboard. The key performance indicators (KPIs) feature in Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services helps to construct a catalogue of predefined rules, which can be dynamically applied to a set of investor portfolios.
Consolidates Risk Management Data Across Global Markets
SPEAR consolidates discrete sources of security, position, and trade information across global business units into an enterprise data warehouse for asset management. The data warehouse is the cornerstone of downstream analysis and reporting.
Improves Service to Clients with Automated Monitoring
||Automated solutions help us monitor compliance more quickly and accurately, providing a better service to our clients.
Counterparty and Global Investment Group Manager
Credit Suisse Asset Management
Hector Kreutz, Counterparty and Global Investment Group Manager, Credit Suisse Asset Management, says: “CSAM is a fiduciary that takes great care in ensuring that client money is invested in accordance with regulatory guidelines. Automated solutions help us monitor compliance more quickly and accurately, providing a better service to our clients.”Microsoft Server Product Portfolio
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