It is an honor for Money Management Executive to sponsor SourceMedia's 2007 Fund Operations Awards, our fifth annual, and we would like to thank all those who entered their thoughtful submissions, as well as this year's panel of judges, who gave so generously of their time to assess the impressive entries: T. Neil Bathon, managing director, PMR Associates, Peter Delano, senior analyst, investment management, TowerGroup, Bob Goldberg, president emeritus, The National Investment Company Service Association, Burton J. Greenwald, president, B.J. Greenwald Associates, Vincent Walsh, managing director, advisory services practice, KPMG and Kathleen Whalen, managing director, Dalbar.

What amazes me each year is the progress that the asset management industry is making in terms of technological developments.

Take the nine automated initiatives that John Hancock Signature Services, the transfer agent for John Hancock Funds, accomplished last year. The firm can now turn all hard-copy documents into electronic documents, bar-code them and route them through its work flow.

Moving away from e-mails and phone calls as the main form of communication among representatives at T. Rowe Price's call center, the firm has turned its intranet into a veritable real-time forum where reps are now empowered to update customer information and communicate ideas about how to improve processes up to management. it is not, but perhaps the IT team was inspired by this wildly popular community website.

Citigroup and the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. have made great strides in automating trades in the separately management account and hedge fund industries.

DTCC Wealth Management Services has developed a platform to connect the disparate systems of SMA managers with the sponsor firms' proprietary software. Set to launch this fall, it has Citigroup Smith Barney as a charter member. If this takes off, it could spur even greater growth in the SMA industry.

Most hedge funds still submit orders and receive confirms via fax, e-mail or regular/overnight mail. Last September, Citigroup launched a straight-through-processing order, portfolio management and accounting system for hedge funds that can handle multiple strategies, asset classes and currencies.

Empowering employees, automating more processes and creating seamless open architecture between the major players in the investment industry. That's really what this year's entries are all about.

Congratulations to all the winners.

(c) 2007 Money Management Executive and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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