In a relay race, individual runners may set blistering paces. But a team might still lose if one of its runners is either too slow or drops the baton.

"The same logic applies to investment funds when passing information between individuals, departments, and applications internally and externally," said Holly Miller, a founding member and partner at Stone House Consulting, a Thornton, Pa.-based operations consultancy specializing in providing advice to fund management firms. "Plenty of errors can happen when that data is delayed, wrong or lost in transit."

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