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TECHWORK 23: Dan Costa, ICG

by Matthias Plötz 12 April 2023

Costa joined ICG in December 2021, having worked for the previous 16 years at Insight Investments, the UK-based liability-driven investment and fixed income managers. He joined Insight as a business analyst, progressing through the ranks to the head of technology development, responsible for all technology change across the Insight estate, from front-office portfolio management and trading systems through to CRM, data warehousing and client reporting.

Costa has established key pillars from a technology strategy perspective and embedded a clear delivery roadmap. This includes data capture from multiple-source systems, establishing the data platform as a single source of truth, and automating process workflows to improve accountability and efficiency in operational activities. To improve technology delivery capabilities, he has streamlined the data platform technology stack, taking advantage of improvements in cloud offerings to create a platform that is quicker and more cost effective. In addition, he has promoted new strategic outsource partnerships to give ICG flexible capacity to meet the demands from a growing business.

Following a great deal of work on integrating line-of-business systems into ICG’s data platform and continuing to integrate data from third-party administrators, while the firm has data on a strategy-by-strategy basis, it needs to be joined together at an ICG level, which will provide greater ability to harness the value of that data and cross-pollinate throughout ICG. In addition, the firm is running programmes to digitalise several departments and bring a level of automation to their processes, giving them that foundation for growth.

ICG was already on a digital journey when Costa arrived, following a review of its corporate and business services functions a year earlier. The firm believes that data will be a game changer and that taking control of its data will give it a competitive advantage by enhancing process efficiencies and making ICG’s platform more scalable for its rapid growth, improving quality of data and producing more insightful analytics, and by increasing the speed of response to business or investor questions. ICG will continue to focus on integration and automation, as these two mechanisms will allow it to make data a key tool in value generation for the firm.

At a high level, ICG is an extensive user of Microsoft products. All of its infrastructure is on Azure, with the data platform Azure-based plus PowerBI for analytics and Office 365 for corporate technology. Moving beyond the corporate technology platform, ICG uses a blend of applications to support its business while being mindful of not proliferating where it’s not necessary. ICG is a broad church in terms of its investment strategies, so it has a mix of different technology providers like Dealcloud, iLevel, Anaplan, supporting its various lines of business.

Costa thinks he has met more CTOs and heads of tech in one year than he did in the last 10 years at his previous firm. The private markets CTO network is thriving and he has met people at conferences, breakfast calls and dinners. Everyone, he says, is open to sharing their experiences as they all have similar challenges, be that with vendors or on a particular subject like ESG.

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