Mercer Sentinel® is a specialist team focused on advising investors and investment managers on risks associated with investment operations and their execution. The team is focused on operational and service provider risk and is comprised of industry professionals with the knowledge and experience necessary to guide clients through investment operations, execution, custody and risk management decisions.
Mercer Sentinel is a recognized industry leader with respect to consulting on middle office, investment operations, custody and transaction-based activities, including execution quality, operational risk management and governance.
We offer a combination of extensive practical and operational experience through our team of 50+ professionals, who are located in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. This team is supported by a deep resource base consisting of proprietary databases, analytical tools and Mercer’s best practice framework.
Our experience shows that firms of all shapes and sizes continue to face basic business risks and increasing regulatory demands. Investors and investment managers need to be cognizant of operational risks in order to effectively manage them and meet their regulatory duties.
Operational risk consulting: Investment manager operational due diligence and investment manager operational infrastructure optimization.
Custody consulting: Custodian selection, fee and capabilities benchmarking and asset safety reviews.
Transaction/execution cost and efficiency consulting: Investment manager transitions support and transition manager selection.
We help our clients reduce risk and costs as well as potentially improve returns through better control and management of the activities associated with holding, trading, and servicing investment portfolios.
Foreign currency trades are required in order to invest in foreign markets, repatriate income and manage currency exposures. A significant number of foreign exchange (FX) transactions are automatically traded without reference to competitive rates. The level of the spread charged to investor's can vary enormously if not closely monitored, resulting in excess costs being incurred, ultimately eroding the value of their assets.
Mercer has been providing FX transaction cost monitoring for clients for many years and has observed consistently strong performance once a good monitoring process is established. Monitoring ongoing performance not only facilitates good governance; it supports a constructive dialogue with service providers, which should in turn lead to better execution and lower costs. Key benefits include greater transparency (leading to enhanced governance), improved execution, lower costs and increased portfolio value.
Transitions represent potentially significant risks and material costs. Regardless of how simple they seem, each transition presents unique challenges and complexities; therefore, oversight requires considerable experience and knowledge. Mercer Sentinel has market-leading solutions to assist and advise clients on all transition aspects. We focus on identifying, analyzing and controlling risks and costs. Using our extensive global experience with trading, transition controls and capital market operations, we help clients address potential issues and complications prior to moving assets. We have developed unique and sophisticated methodologies to promote transparent cost and risk discovery.
Most institutional investors are likely to monitor and understand gross returns but to achieve optimal returns, they also need to focus on:
Monitoring is about establishing a framework, evaluation and reporting, evaluating revenue sources and costs, benchmarking capabilities and controls, and operational and implementation performance.
Mercer has extensive experience consulting to institutional investors on all aspects of securities lending programs including identifying the most appropriate:
A custodian can be an invaluable partner in prudently managing, administering and overseeing your investments. We help clients with a wide range of custody-related projects, from selecting new custodians, custodian governance through capabilities review, performance monitoring and asset safety reviews to simply assessing value for money through fee benchmarking reviews. We apply a comprehensive evaluation process, combining our proprietary best practice benchmarking with onsite research and due diligence.
We also have extensive experience advising on all aspects of securities lending programs. We advise on program structures, evaluating and selecting lenders, assessing and benchmarking ongoing securities lending operations and controls. In addition to providing a thorough assessment of a lending provider’s capabilities, its internal control structure and collateral management, we also assess the reasonableness and competitiveness of lending revenue estimates.
Foreign Exchange and Equity Transaction Cost Analysis (TCA) Mercer Sentinel performs FX and equity TCA reviews that help clients understand whether their execution costs are appropriate and competitive relative to their size and other offerings in the marketplace.
Based on our analytical techniques and operational insights, clients have been able to both reduce costs and negotiate fee reductions to directly benefit their portfolios.
Undertaking transitions can incur significant risks and material costs. Regardless of how simple they seem, each transition presents unique challenges and complexities. This demands oversight, and oversight demands considerable experience and knowledge. Mercer Sentinel has market-leading solutions to assist and advise clients on all transition aspects: identifying, analyzing and controlling risks and costs. Using our extensive global experience with trading, transition controls and capital market operations, we help clients address potential issues and complications prior to moving assets. Our unique and sophisticated methodologies promote transparent cost and risk discovery.
We maintain close contact with all Transition Managers in the market and can assist with selection of a provider where required.
Dedicated specialists focused solely on governance, service provider, investment operations and execution risk
Expert team with highly specialized backgrounds
Extensive knowledge of industry best practices
Resource on Demand
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