Barclays Global Investors installs BlackRock's Aladdin

"Part of the reason for using BlackRrock is to accurately process our fixed-income activity in the US," said Paul Stevens, chief technology officer at BGI. “What we've done is to leverage BlackRock's ability and proficiency at modelling, analysing and estimating risk [and] produced lots of numbers with respect to attributes of the fixed-income portfolio.”

Stevens added that BGI could have tried to overhaul its in-house fixed-income capabilities but it would have taken too long. “It's worked well. The project was finished two weeks early, which is extraordinary, and it finished on budget."

BGI’s investment strategies remain proprietary. "That intellectual capital and the related supporting software and data capital are ours," said Stevens. "We've integrated, in more than one place, BlackRock's various capabilities to help shorten the development cycle."

The Blackrock implementation also gave BGI a chance to get rid of its multiplicity of point-to-point interfaces, which was done using IBM's MQSI messaging platform and BGI's central data repository, Globalshare.

For speed and ease of use, part of the system is being run at BGI's data centre, but fail-over takes place at Blackrock's New York processing centre.

Aladdin integrates risk analytics with a trade processing system, facilitating straight-through processing for large institutional investors. It handles equities, fixed income and derivatives, among other products.

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