Gravitas Trends 2014: Re-engineering Funds for Smarter Growth

The eighth annual Gravitas Trends thought leadership event took place recently at the Andaz Hotel on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The theme for this year’s event, “Re-engineering Funds for Smarter Growth,” brought together CEOs, founders, COOs and CTOs to discuss the critical operational issues and trends that will impact hedge funds and other alternative investment vehicles in the coming year. This year’s Trends featured a new roundtable format, providing a much more intimate exchange between participants.

Revolving around three interactive sessions, Trends 2014 kicked off with welcoming remarks by Gravitas CEO Jayesh Punater. Speaking to a full room, Jayesh highlighted the importance of providing clients with the services necessary to create powerful advantages of scale. Keynote speaker Dr. Philip Vasan, Head of Private Wealth, North America for Credit Suisse, then laid out the factors necessary to create “The Best Run Business” in today’s marketplace. Dr. Vasan’s observation that these “best-run” practices soon devolve into “well-run” pointed to the speed at which the uncommon becomes common in the alternatives industry. The final opening speaker, Eldon Sprickerhoff, CTO and co-founder of security consultant eSentire, seeded the audience with food for thought in his opening remarks on the topic of “Active Threat Protection: What to Know to Keep Your Firm from Being Compromised.”

As part of the new format for Trends, the opening presentations were followed by smaller roundtable breakouts featuring industry experts. “Data Security and the Power of Predictive Analytics” featured Pat Mullevey, Executive Director of Systems Integration at Gravitas, Eldon Sprickerhoff, CTO and co-founder of eSentire, and Trevor Williamson, Client Solutions Director at VCE. The three led a lively discussion on information security, with a focus on internal and external threats.

“Scaling for Smarter Growth through Collaborative Outsourcing” featured Mark Seaman, Senior Managing Director of Co-sourcing Services at Gravitas, and Gary Brackenridge, Global Head of Hedge Fund Business at Linedata, who discussed the blueprint needed for firms to expand their horizons without expanding overhead.

“Rethinking Enterprise Risk” was moderated by Shyam Prakash, Director of Risk and Analytical Services at Gravitas and Jon Kinderlerer, Managing Director and Head of Risk Advisory for Credit Prime Services at Credit Suisse. Shyam and Jon led a spirited roundtable on issues such as managing risk “beyond the numbers,” regulatory issues between the US and EU markets, and risk related to manager selection.

“Sustainable competitive advantage is no longer based on performance alone,” noted Jayesh Punater in his opening remarks. “The new requirement for sustainable success starts with world-class infrastructure and innovative business models. Today, firms must extend their core competency by investing in technology, people and processes.” This year’s Trends event gave them the toolkit to do just that.