Earlier this year we formed a Strategic Advisory Board made up of experienced technology and investment professionals in the private markets. In this new series, we’ll get to know each one a little bit better.
Andrew Lennon is the former Chief Information Officer at Barings, a global investment management firm owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, where he oversaw a global team responsible for the firm’s core technology, enterprise data, and cybersecurity. Among other accomplishments in this role, Mr. Lennon appointed a Chief Data Officer to implement tools and capabilities to drive insights and enhance decision making. Previously he was Managing Director and Global Head of Technology Solutions and Portfolio Services at Babson Capital Management.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in investment management and more specifically the private markets?
I have always been drawn to the markets and in the early parts of my career I was in banking, supporting various products issued via investment managers (i.e. CDOs, Private Funds & SMAs). I was lucky to be offered an opportunity to join a very well-respected investment management brand with the goal of building and managing a sustainable operating model around traditional asset classes. Over time, as investors continued to diversify their holdings, private assets became a must have in the investment manager product offering. I have a passion for solving complex problems and these markets brought an entirely new set of challenges to our operating platform.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing technology leaders in the private markets today?
From my perspective, it’s navigating the sea of product offerings, which all state they are the answer to the data challenges in the private space. Technology and business leaders together should spend due diligence time evaluating these partners against the set of challenges across the private markets that are important to them. Choosing the right partner is as important as choosing the right technology platform.
What advice would you give to an asset manager that is just beginning to embark on finding a data management solution?
Simply put, find a great partner with a great product. The data model across the private markets is complex and finding a partner (one that is willing to be a great listener) with expertise in these spaces with a flexible product offering is key. Any vendor offering a product as the “silver bullet” should be an immediate red flag.
“Data as a competitive edge” is a great soundbite. From your experience, what are the tangible benefits to better data management, and why does this matter?
A few things come to mind. First, given the ever changing and challenging global regulatory environments, a strong handle of your data reduces risks and provides an ability to respond to these regulatory demands. Second, with a reliable and trusted set of data, firms can start to embark on implementing automated intelligence to augment the investment process which ultimately will drive and reveal insights leading to smarter investment decisions. Lastly, clients expect access to their data. With a set of consistent and dependable data, firms will have the ability to keep pace with client expectations and demands.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
I am an avid golfer who enjoys playing with my wife and kids. I also love fitness and spend a lot of time in my home gym.