AJO Vista Case Study - Enfusion

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Case Study

AJO Vista trusts Enfusion front-to-back to reduce
costs and maintain their competitive edge

AJO Vista was created from the merger of two firms. Launching on Enfusion provided them with a unique opportunity to re-envision their business. Their CEO called it “revolutionary.
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A fresh start and competitive advantage

Thriving as a quant fund is all about keeping data front and center. AJO Vista migrated onto Enfusion’s front-to-back SaaS platform and leverages Enfusion Managed Services for middle- and back-office operations. Doing so allows them to stay focused on their core competency: investing and delivering profitability on difficult-to-trade strategies. While Enfusion’s API Suite integrates AJO Vista’s data into a single source of truth, the combination of platform components and managed services makes operations simpler, less costly, and easier to manage.

AJO Vista can differentiate their offerings and minimize risk by counting on Enfusion to support all non-alpha business functions.

"The main value of Enfusion is illuminated when we pitch clients. We say that we are only focused on investing. We couldn’t outsource so much before. It wasn’t possible to run such a lean organization, but we can now because of our partnership."
Jesse Barnes, Co-Founder / CEO, AJO Vista

Relaunch and refocus

A year after Boston-based quant manager AJO LP announced it would shut down its value-oriented firm amid major losses for value stocks, it relaunched as AJO Vista with help from Boston-based High Vista Strategies LLC’s systematic investment team in October 2021.

The new boutique firm had roughly $1 billion USD in client assets. They also had a two-pronged plan for ensuring profitability:

  • Driving results in high-alpha, difficult-to-trade strategies across the globe.
  • Minimizing transaction costs and remaining nimble.

Founder Ted Aronson and Co-Founder/CEO Jesse Barnes staked their business on that formula, instituting a company tagline that keeps the firm focused entirely on their clients: Investing is our only business.

“We're 15 people, all…involved with investing…Everything else is outsourced," said Aronson.

The efficiency of consolidation

As a new entity, AJO Vista could no longer rely on its parent companies’ technologies. Its funds needed to go live on a singular, consolidated new investment management system. Unnecessary employee overhead would detract from their stated mission.

Enfusion’s SaaS platform helped them on both fronts. “We basically had to give our parent companies a firm date for migrating our operations from their systems. It was important to have someone we trusted who would deliver on what they said they would do,” said Barnes.

AJO Vista worked closely with Enfusion to determine the appropriate amount of data that needed to be migrated to ensure a smooth go-live. When managing the migration of data from one platform to another for several funds, Enfusion worked behind the scenes while the AJO Vista team prepared for the transition.

Removing unnecessary complexity

AJO Vista embraces a quant strategy and trades in less efficient market segments, managing multiple funds covering four main strategies: emerging markets small cap, EAFE small cap, U.S. microcap, and an opportunistic strategy fund. Multiple funds means working with several custodians and fund administrators. That complexity motivated them to choose a partner who could consolidate all their transactions and oversight onto a single platform.

AJO Vista chose Enfusion for portfolio management, order and execution management, accounting, analytics, and managed services as an overlay for their multiple funds. Enfusion’s unique technology approach and extensive API capabilities helped take unnecessary complexity out of the picture.

Enfusion’s multi-tenant, cloud-native SaaS platform also eliminated the need for an on-prem tech stack and associated support staff, helping deliver profitability by minimizing operational and overhead costs. Finally, Enfusion’s Managed Services allow AJO Vista to outsource tasks to an offsite dedicated team working directly in their software environment, without data transfer degradation, delay, or loss.

A data revolution

Enfusion’s API suite facilitates order ticket creation directly from AJO Vista’s quant models and routes it directly to the street. It also feeds data from the Enfusion PMS and Accounting modules back to those models. This synchronization minimizes operational resources and spend, while further supporting differentiation of AJO Vista’s quant strategies by powering them with the most up-to- date information.

“Things we care about are our workflow and being able to engage directly with our trading partners, and pulling and receiving order data into our systems,” says Barnes. “We can do it today because of Enfusion. We view Enfusion as critical to allowing us to focus on what matters: driving value for clients and running an operationally nimble organization.”

“There is no comparable system to Enfusion, and given that their platform is also a dual-general ledger accounting system, it really expands their differentiation from other service providers,” adds Barnes. “We easily pull Enfusion data into our data warehouse. The other alternative would require lots of different systems and providers just to get the data out of one system and into another. To be able to refresh data with a press of the button has been revolutionary.”

Streamlined and lean

Enfusion’s Managed Services team manages middle- and back-office operations for AJO Vista; the dedicated offsite team works directly in the same technology environment as the fund’s investment team.

“Enfusion allows us to do what clients want, which is to concentrate on investing. We’re a small firm, and we want to stay that way. Enfusion allows us to focus on what matters. And it does so much for us that previously was done by lots of bodies and lots of systems,” said Barnes.

"Trade matching is one less component, one less system that I have to look at, for example. Enfusion’s Managed Services takes care of that. I think they are some of the hardest working people that I have ever worked with."
Pete Landers, Head of Trading / Partner, AJO Vista

Conclusion

Launching a new firm on Enfusion — from the puzzle pieces of two other firms — provided AJO Vista with three unique opportunities to re-envision their business:

  • They walked away from technology and operational costs and inefficiencies that got in the way of creating value for their investors.
  • They outsourced non-alpha generating tasks to Enfusion’s Managed Services.
  • The Enfusion API Suite gave them a seamless loop between real-time trading data and quant models for sustained competitive advantage.

“How we conduct our business is as important as how we invest. And with Enfusion front to back, we are staying true to our mission while differentiating our offerings and minimizing risk,” concluded Barnes.

Client Profile

AJO Vista

Entity Type
Traditional Asset Manager + Hedge Fund
Investment Strategy
Quantitative
AUM
$1 billion as of July 1, 2022
Headquarters
Boston
Launch Date
October 2021

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