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What is Investment Management Software (IMS)?
Joakim Saltin7 min read

What is an Investment Management System (IMS)?

Investment Management Software (IMS) can help you streamline your operations, reducing operational risks. With the right IMS, you can achieve a lower total cost of ownership for your software.

We offer one product: the Limina Investment Management System (IMS). Limina was started by investment managers. Hence, we know how difficult it can be to find honest and transparent information out there. That is why we’ll keep this post as objective as we possibly can.

In the name of transparency, Limina’s solutions aren't perfect either. If you would like to find out when Limina is likely a great fit, we share that as well. So that it should be as easy as possible for you to make an informed decision. We wish we’d been given this level of transparency by vendors when we were in your shoes.

If you're not familiar with Investment Management Software (IMS), this article will provide a clear description of what it is and how it works. We'll also discuss some of the common misconceptions about it. Finally, we’ll discuss the benefits of using an IMS. We’ll compare it to other system landscape options, e.g. a best-of-breed approach and front-to-back office systems.

While we won't provide a complete list of IMS vendors, we’ll name a few examples. Our key aim with this article is to equip you with enough knowledge to evaluate these platforms. Ultimately, we want you to be able to choose the best solution for your unique investment portfolio management needs.

What is an Investment Management System (IMS)?

Investment Management Software (IMS) is a software suite. It covers capabilities for Portfolio Management (PMS), Risk Analytics, Order Management (OMS), Execution Management (EMS), and Investment Book of Record (IBOR). An Investment Management System cover the investment workflow through front office and middle office. IMSs typically don’t provide shareholder registry or general ledger functionality.

Features of Investment Management Software

An Investment Management System (IMS) is a holistic platform. It helps you streamline workflows and manage your portfolios through a single system.

Investment Management Software includes the capability areas of:

It can also offer Execution Management (EMS) functionality.

The IMS platform is designed to cover front-office and middle-office workflows, but not back-office workflows. If the latter is included as well, it would be a front-to-back office system.

In the below illustration, you can see which functional areas Investment Management Software covers and which it doesn’t cover:

Buy-side system examples, from best of breed to front to back

Explore How Limina Can Fit Into Your Operating Model

IMS platforms simplify system landscapes by providing a single source of truth. It delivers end-to-end functionality and data integration, reducing operational complexity and offering real-time data insights. It removes the hassle of having to integrate EMS, OMS and PMS separately into your accounting.

One of the benefits of an IMS is the functional breadth, which enables seamless user experiences across all functions. Generally, it’s crucial to conduct due diligence and select a platform that meets your unique needs. Such needs could be scalability, integration with other systems, and support for all asset classes. Now and in the future.

While Investment Management Software can be used by wealth managers, it typically doesn’t contain the functionality needed for wealth management specifically. This includes features such as investor portal or investment accounting.

An IMS is increasingly becoming a complete cross asset platform, supporting equities, fixed income, and derivatives. However, recently this has expanded to also include alternatives such as close ended funds, infrastructure and real estate investments.

Other Concepts Commonly Confused with Investment Management Software

Other concepts commonly confused with Investment Management Software (IMS) include portfolio management software, risk management software, and trading platforms. While these tools are related to investment management, they don't provide the same end-to-end functionality of an IMS.

Portfolio Management Software (PMS)

Portfolio Management Software, for example, focuses on managing a portfolio's investments by tracking positions and analysing performance. This type of software doesn't have features that cover the entire investment process like an IMS would.

Portfolio Risk Management Software

Portfolio Risk Management Software is designed to identify and mitigate risk across an investment portfolio. However, it doesn't handle the full investment process, including order management and trade execution like IMS.

Execution Management System (EMS)

Trading platforms are used to place trades and execute orders. They may provide some features for order management. However, they don't include portfolio management, risk management, or Investment Book of Record capabilities.

Why Consolidate Systems?

Relying on a mix of disparate, specialised systems can lead to operational inefficiencies, data discrepancies and even errors. This ultimately puts investment performance at risk.

That's why Investment Management Software is an ideal solution as they cover front and middle-office workflows. As mentioned, this includes capabilities for portfolio management, risk analytics, order management, execution management, and Investment Book of Record.

Limina IMS and IBOR system modules

The benefits of Investment Management Solutions

Investment Management Software (IMS) can offer significant benefits to investment managers and financial asset managers. One of the significant advantages is the ability to streamline both front and middle-office workflows. With a single platform covers the entire investment workflow, compliance and data integrations become easier. This, in turn, enables reductions in operational costs and risks as data transfer is more robust.

Another benefit of IMS is access to real-time data and insights through customisable dashboards and visualisations. Such dashboards help investment managers focus on making the best investment decisions instead of spending time managing spreadsheets.

By choosing the right Investment Portfolio Management Software, asset managers can also expect a better, more robust user experience. Another benefit of offering multiple software capabilities in one solution is that workflows are holistically designed. This enables you to overcome fragmented workflows and ultimately reduce operational risk.

In conclusion, Investment Management Software offers significant benefits to mutual fund managers including:

  • Streamlined workflows across front and middle office
  • Integrated data across functional capabilities
  • Reduced costs
  • Reduced operational risks

By selecting the right IMS, investment managers can stay ahead of the competition, improve their services, and enhance their investment strategies.

Examples of Investment Management Systems

IMSs are becoming more widely used among investment managers and for a good reason. An integrated investment management system consolidated functionality for portfolio managers, compliance officers and operations alike. Thereby reducing operational complexity and offering real-time data insights. Two of the primary vendors of IMSs are Charles River Development and Limina. Let's examine these in more detail.

Limina’s Investment Management Solution

Limina's IMS is a cloud native investment management software specifically designed to provide robust solutions in investment workflows and investment data management. Its real-time platform is built from scratch and powered by modern technology. This enable improved workflows, more informed decision-making while reducing operating costs, and mitigating operational risks. Limina's tools include order management, risk and performance attribution, investment compliance and an Investment Book of Record (IBOR).

Limina is the industry’s only true Enterprise investment management software offering. It’s built specifically to reap the rewards of the cloud while at the same time fit the governance processes of established asset managers.

Book a no obligation demo to see Limina IMS in action

Charles River IMS

Charles River IMS is a solution that’s built to streamline front and middle office processes for buy-side firms. Its feature-set include:

  • An OMS Trading system
  • Portfolio management capabilities
  • Risk management
  • Integrated compliance management

Additionally, Charles River's Enterprise Data Management (EDM) solutions help improve reference, analytics, pricing, and benchmark data.

Charles River's IMS also provides auto post-trade and settlement workflows. By doing this, it reduces the risk of settlement failure and saves time and costs.

Which is Better?

Investment Management Software streamlines operations and reduces complexity. Limina and Charles River Development are two of the leading IMSs for investment managers. To find out which is the best fit for your business, we recommend you assess both offerings and find to more about how each investment management platform can support your business.

At Limina, we’ve created a couple of tools you might find handy when comparing vendors, for example:

Key takeaways

Investment Management Software (IMS) is a platform that consolidates multiple functional areas in the front and middle office, such as portfolio management, risk analytics, order management, execution management, and Investment Book of Record (IBOR).

As such, it offers simpler data management since there are essentially fewer systems to integrate. Workflows are improved for the same reason, i.e. fragmentation of workflows across multiple systems is overcome.

The right IMS can enable investment managers to reduce operational risk while at the same time enabling a most scalable cost model.

Too many late nights at the office? We help Investment Managers save up to 4 hours / day / person. Chances are we can help you too - let's find out.


Joakim Saltin

Experienced system project consultant across implementations, migrations and upgrades across EMEA and the US.