SRL Global’s Portfolio Tracker Follows Multiple Managers Trade By Trade

Platform allows clients to view and manipulate their entire portfolio in real time.


Neil Puri believes he has started a revolution. Admitting that it happened “more by luck than by judgment,” the CEO of London-based SRL Global asserts that the investment world has been transformed by a software platform he designed to help asset owners track their hefty portfolios.

SRL’s Nexus Enterprise Solution is a specialized portfolio management tool for clients that don’t invest directly in securities, such as funds of funds, endowments and family offices. According to Puri, these investors “want to see how their manager allocations — both traditional and hedge fund — fit all together as a whole portfolio.”

Puri developed Nexus when he worked at Man Group as a hedge fund manager specializing in systematic trading and statistical arbitrage. The concept grew out of talks with colleague Alexander Lowe, who was CEO of Man Global Strategies, London-based Man’s $19 billion managed account platform, and now works alongside Puri at SRL as commercial director. Nexus led to the 2007 launch of SRL, which began as a trading and technology joint venture with Man until Puri spun it off from the investment firm in mid-2009.

SRL targets allocators with portfolios of at least £5 billion ($7.8 billion), who pay an annual fee of several hundred thousand pounds. The firm’s platform allows a client to view and manipulate its entire portfolio in real time, through a front-office application called Nexus Analytics. The software mines raw data from the portfolio’s various sources, such as managers, prime brokerages and counterparties, then enriches it by showing the investments side by side and explaining in layman’s terms how they relate to one another.

To illustrate Nexus’ usefulness, Lowe gives the example of a pension fund with 50 to 70 different outside managers and a small in-house investment team. “As the portfolio starts to grow, who’s monitoring it?” he asks, noting the challenges of dealing with numerous managers. “It’s about taking the fixed-income and equity parts of the portfolio and bringing them together,” Lowe adds.

Through Nexus, clients store their data securely on SRL’s private cloud. After compiling all of the third-party investment information for a portfolio, a manager of managers can play with it, trying out possible outcomes to better manage risks and exposures, Puri says.

Although there are other successful portfolio management platforms — chief among them the offerings of New York–based PerTrac Financial Solutions — they are mainly research tools whose primary role is to analyze monthly net asset values. Nexus calculates daily NAVs of underlying funds, and Puri says it also yields up-to-the-minute analysis of the trades that make up those funds. “It can handle managed accounts and pooled investments across all hedge fund strategies and complex instruments,” he adds.

In other words, Nexus lets clients see what each part of an investment strategy is delivering, while revealing how a given manager is trading a particular stock at any moment. Revere Capital Advisors — a New York–, London- and Singapore-based hedge fund seeding and management firm founded by former Man executives in 2008 — uses the platform to monitor and select managers for its internal research team. Director of manager research Andrew Godfrey says Nexus has changed the way Revere does its due diligence.

One of a handful of people at the firm with access to Nexus, Godfrey can examine Revere’s holdings based on risk, returns, a scenario analysis, a stress test or a sensitivity analysis — methods that allow him to make projections about the health of the portfolio based on different hypothetical variables, such as a change in interest rates. There is also a series of exposure views, including country, asset class, currency, equity and fixed income. Before it started using Nexus, Revere had to sort through a wide range of files once a month to understand its portfolio. “Making sense of these different files was a full-time job,” says Godfrey, who now gets a comprehensive update each day.

Security concerns have prompted many asset owners to build their own portfolio management software rather than buy it. At Revere, Nexus — which transmits confidential information through a private server — has relieved such worries. Godfrey and his colleagues each carry an access key that provides a new password every 15 to 20 seconds. “The whole model runs on security,” explains Puri, who knew he had to cover that angle to win over some of the world’s richest portfolios.

For Puri, though, the SRL platform’s most revolutionary feature is that it does what other portfolio trackers can’t. “It’s not a crystal ball, and it’s not going to replace an asset manager,” he says. “But it answers the question, why is my portfolio looking a certain way?”