Insurer’s multi-manager investment strategy relies on BlackRock Aladdin, Clearwater Analytics, and Grandview’s Rivvit  

Enterprise governance drives consistent data and consolidated reporting

When this insurance holding company decided to launch an acquisition growth strategy in the asset management business, its leaders knew that the right data and technology would be important drivers to quickly scale their operations. 

After acquiring several leading insurance and reinsurance companies, the client needed a single platform to consolidate data across their underlying portfolio companies, external managers, and internally managed portfolios.  The firm engaged with BlackRock (Aladdin Risk) and Clearwater Analytics to integrate with the external managers and support risk, compliance, and accounting for the consolidated book of record. 

With the right core systems in place to produce monthly risk, analytics, and accounting data, the company required more real-time updates and set out to implement a daily process leveraging BlackRock Aladdin Risk and Clearwater.  To help drive the initiative forward swiftly and design a scalable process that would support projected future growth, the company reached out to Grandview Analytics to provide consulting expertise.  Specifically, Grandview was engaged to evaluate the existing portfolio compliance rule setup and data flows between upstream managers, Clearwater, and Aladdin-to-Aladdin (A2A) data feeds.

Inconsistencies between external managers prevented an enterprise view

Upon evaluating the data flows between upstream managers and source systems and performing a data quality analysis, Grandview quickly detected inconsistent definition of critical security master attributes along with timing issues related to the availability of daily data updates.  The root cause of the issues was unknown, but the impact was clear.  The current process limited the company’s ability to comprehensively view daily risk and accurately capture daily compliance in accordance with their Strategic Asset Allocation (SAA) policies.

To uncover the root cause of the process bottlenecks and enact a plan to reach the target state for portfolio compliance, Grandview initiated two separate workstreams that converged at the successful conclusion of the project phase.

The first workstream focused on portfolio compliance rule setup.  To provide an objective recommendation, Grandview independently reviewed legal documents and inventoried 400+ compliance rules across nine (9) legal entities having separate investment management agreements and SAA policies.  To expedite the implementation of the rules into Aladdin, Grandview leveraged expertise gained from similar compliance initiatives and wrote the rules in BlackRock’s proprietary query language (BQL).  By populating the template in BlackRock’s common language, we significantly reduced iterations and completed the workstream five (5) weeks ahead of schedule.  Lastly, we created a reference guide with step-by-step details and reference documents that facilitated a knowledge transfer and transition of ownership to our client enabling them to independently set up compliance rules for future clients and strategies.

To overcome the inconsistent definition of critical security master attributes across external managers, Grandview also evaluated the inputs necessary to calculate compliance and identified less than 20 security attributes that needed to be curated.  Grandview recommended an industry standard asset type and sector classification schema along with a small set of user defined fields to support the necessary compliance inputs. This approach facilitated enterprise governance and enabled the client to support a consistent and scalable security master setup process for new investments and ongoing compliance measurement.

Separately, Grandview led the analysis of data flows between upstream managers, Clearwater, and Aladdin to Aladdin data feeds. This workstream had several layers of complexity that needed to be understood prior to making recommendations. The Grandview team began the effort by inventorying the data sources for each underlying portfolio. Subsequently, Grandview documented the data flows to help stakeholders visualize a detailed current state process.  Lastly, Grandview performed a data quality analysis and created an attribution model that highlighted patterns of missing data fields, missing positions, and stale data that led to incomplete data sets for intra-month reporting dates.  The attribution model quickly uncovered specific portfolios, asset types, and external managers with problematic data.

analysis of data flows

Grandview collaborated with our client, their external managers, Blackrock, and Clearwater to articulate the issues and redesign the data flows to support a process that would deliver a complete set of daily data.  By providing quantitative metrics supporting the root cause issues, consensus was achieved, and all parties aligned on a path forward.

Within just three months, the client had the integrated data it needed to get accurate daily compliance, risk, and accounting output data.

Rivvit automates data management and reporting and delivers a single version of the truth

As a next step in their technology journey, the client sought to enhance their reporting and analysis capabilities. This required a business intelligence framework and a data warehouse that would support the integration and storage of Clearwater, Aladdin, and internal data sources. The client decided to implement Grandview’s cloud-based data management and reporting software, Rivvit.

In just three months, and one month ahead of schedule, Rivvit was configured to support the following business cases in a production environment:

  1. View ABOR data from Clearwater alongside IBOR data from BlackRock Aladdin
  2. Reconcile and view discrepancies between ABOR and IBOR
  3. Create gold copy records across portfolios, positions, and securities
  4. Store historical, time series data from both Clearwater and BlackRock in a data warehouse
  5. Elect a source of truth for every data element using Rivvit’s data source hierarchy
  6. Calculate RBC charges based on the standard NAIC rating scale
  7. Monitor investment guidelines at a consolidated and portfolio company level
  8. Automate board reports for the holding company, portfolio companies, and external managers
  9. Produce customized risk dashboards based on an automated daily process
  10. Detect and resolve data quality issues through an exception management workflow
Kuvare, blackrock aladdin, and clearwater analytics process diagram

Managing growth with upgrade to BlackRock Aladdin OMS

In less than 18 months, the client successfully grew their asset base by nearly 3x through a strategy that combined the acquisition of insurance and reinsurance companies with the launch of an internal asset management business.

To support the internal asset management business, the client needed a more robust in-house investment management solution to streamline investment operations and provide enhanced tools to the front office for their investment decision processes. The decision was made to upgrade from Aladdin Risk to Aladdin Enterprise OMS. Grandview was called upon again to lead this strategic initiative.

With an aggressive seven (7) month timeframe, Grandview staffed a team of Aladdin and investment industry experts that provided in-depth business process reviews to understand and document current workflows, pain points, opportunities, and future-state requirements. In partnership with the BlackRock Solutions team, and in collaboration with client asset servicing providers, Grandview managed and coordinated activities across multiple Aladdin implementation channels, including risk reporting, compliance, interface development, data conversion, system configuration, user acceptance training, parallel testing, and post-go-live support.

Grandview also provided integration services and customized automated solutions to ensure backwards-compatibility and interoperability with other workflows and technologies used by internal functions including Rivvit, corporate treasury, and investment accounting.

Lastly, Grandview provided workflow documentation and coordinated training for all newly designed workflows for the client’s internal procedures.

The Aladdin OMS platform was successfully launched on time with more than 5,250 unique assets and 158 portfolios migrated to the new instance of Aladdin. Rivvit was also reconfigured to support new data sources from BlackRock and Clearwater in a matter of weeks, without disrupting the monthly reporting cycle.

Kuvare BlackRock Aladdin implementation

Conclusion

The client was right to focus on the data and technology needed to launch and grow its new business model. Quality, integrated data from upstream managers and data sources has been critical for managing risk, compliance, accounting, and reporting functions. Through their partnership with Grandview, the client was able to achieve their target operating model by streamlining processes between the front and back office and external managers, detect and resolve data quality issues, and implement an enterprise insurance data management and reporting solution.

Ready to learn how Grandview can help you use data and technology to transform your business and execute your business vision? Let’s talk!