So What's With the Racecars?

Posted by Erika Alter, Global Head of Commercial Strategy, BISAM on Jun 13, 2016 3:28:36 PM
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If you have recently visited our conference booth, website, or viewed last week’s very animated C-Suite Survey takeaways, then you have certainly noticed the emerging racecar theme in our media.  Perhaps for some of our readers the metaphor is obvious, and perhaps others have asked, “So what’s with the racecars?”

Origination of an idea

Last year, I happened upon this archived article in the New Yorker entitled “Better All the Time.” In summary, the piece speaks to the “performance revolution” in athletics, pointing out that “athletes don’t merely work harder than they once did…they also work smarter, using science and technology to enhance the way they train and perform.” In other words, behind every star player is a team of people analyzing the factors that contribute to his or her performance, and then fine-tuning those factors to maximize future results. The article goes on to demonstrate similar examples amongst chess players, musicians, manufacturers and educators.

I was of course struck by the similarity to fund management – specifically portfolio managers and performance analysts.  With the right data and technology, performance teams are able to more efficiently and confidently analyze portfolio performance results to pinpoint which investment decisions led to alpha…and which did not – and then feed that information back to portfolio managers to consistently improve the outcomes of their investment strategies.

So what does that have to do with racecars, you might ask...

Fast-forward a few months, as we were beginning to think about BISAM’s expanding suite of portfolio analytics to include a market risk solution. BISAM’s acquisition of FinAnalytica would not take place until early 2016, but we were already thinking about the added value to the industry, connecting the dots between risk and performance analyses, and considering the impact of those analytics on investment strategies. I was reminded of the New Yorker article as a metaphor for the benefits that come when front and middle office teams collaborate more closely to improve the outcome of their investment decisions. This time I was wondering aloud, and a colleague at the desk next to me said: “Well if you want to tie the idea to a fitting sports metaphor, first thing that comes to mind is the Formula 1™ Grand Prix.”

Think about it: there is the technical crew who are analyzing risks – everything from engine power, tire pressure and track conditions - and determining the impact of those risks on the driver’s performance.  All of that information is then fed back to the driver and pit crew so that they can make adjustments at every turn.

A brilliant analogy and one that was corroborated in this far more eloquent piece via the Financial Times FTfm OpEd column:

And so an idea was born. From there we collaborated with the brilliant creative team at Form Advertising to develop the visual concept that has begun to emerge across our marketing content and thought leadership. We are having fun with the idea and hope the visuals bring some entertainment to your day – along with valuable industry insights and ideas, of course!

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