Transition management survey methodology

Transition management survey methodology


Global Investor/ISF requests the users of transition management (TM) services to rate the performance of the firms they have used over the previous twelve months.

Ratings are collected from one (unacceptable) to seven (excellent) across 11 service categories (transparency of counterparty/liquidity provider was added to the 10 categories in last year’s survey).

Respondents can rate up to 10 TMs.

All TMs that receive the minimum number of responses for a table are included regardless of whether the TM actively participated in the survey (i.e. asked their clients to participate).

To be eligible, a transition must:
• Be governed by a Transition Management Agreement (TMA); a side letter to an existing master TMA; or be executed by a dedicated transition management team
• Include project management, pre-trade analysis, implementation and post-trade analysis as part of the transition mandate

The survey excludes:
• Portfolio trades (where a firm gives a list of buy or sell orders for execution only)
• Client take-ons (where a firm simply takes delivery of a portfolio of assets)
• Client directed trades (where the client directs a trade strategy)


In 2013 Global Investor/ISF introduced a new format for the way the TM survey results were presented, with TMs appear in alphabetical order in every table and winning scores highlighted. This has been retained for 2014.

For 2014 there has been further development. The unweighted tables remain but are now referred to as ‘raw data’ tables. This should make the meaning of the tables clearer to those unfamiliar with the survey.

The weighted tables have undergone a more significant change. The new weighted tables combine the calculations that were used to create the ‘weighted by size’ and ‘weighted by importance’ tables of previous years – there is now a two-stage weighting process that creates one type of weighted table.

The subset tables are consolidated into a single table. Likewise, the service categories are presented in a single table.


Raw data tables
The raw data tables contain scores that are simple averages of all valid responses. All categories have equal importance.

Weighted tables
The weighted tables take into consideration the size of the client of the transition manager, the importance that clients place on each of the service categories and regional variations.

1) Size of client: The first stage gives an increasingly greater weight to the views of larger clients of transition managers. As previously, introduced for the 2013 survey, the weightings are centered around one to preserve comparability with unweighted scores. The weights are:

Size of organisation Weighting
$0 to $1bn 0.6
$1bn to 3bn 0.8
$3bn to $5bn 1
$5bn to $10bn 1.2
More than $10bn 1.4

2) Importance of service categories: The second stage of the weighting process introduces a factor for each service category depending how important the clients of transition managers consider that category to be.

The respondents are asked to rank the categories in order of importance; these preferences are aggregated to create a weight for each category.

3) Allowing for regional variation: It is an ongoing observable phenomenon – across all Global Investor/ISF surveys – that survey respondents in each of the three regions vary considerably in their generosity to the firms that they are ranking.

In the weighted tables, the scores between regions are normalised (so each continent has the same average score).

Without normalisation, there would be an inbuilt advantage for firms that only qualify in the two most generously scoring continents. It should therefore encourage greater participation globally and also allows for easier comparison between continents.


The headline tables contain separate columns for Emea, the Americas and Asia Pacific.

There are also a ‘global total’ columns. This is calculated by adding the scores achieved in all three continents. If a TM qualifies in two continents only these two scores are added together.

The final column is the average score column. This is the average score achieved across each of the continents for which the TM qualifies. If a TM qualifies for two continents, its average score is the average of just these two scores (i.e. the calculation does not involve adding a zero and dividing by three). A TM must qualify in two regions to be included in this column.

The footprint tables have been removed for the 2014 survey (which were just unweighted scores multiplied by the number of responses received).


Tables are also produced from groups of responses that fulfill certain criteria. These provide the market with tailored ratings of firms for specific types of transition. For example, a huge pension fund may only be interested in transitions above $1bn. There are seven such subsets – but these are only published where meaningful comparison is possible, at the discretion of Global Investor/ISF. These are:
Governed by a TMA A Transition Management Agreement (TMA) is defined as a legal contract between the contracting TM and the client (respondent). Respondents are asked whether or not they signed a TMA (or included as a side letter to an existing TMA) and responses are only included where this had been done.
Asset management respondents Only includes ratings by asset management respondents
Pension fund respondents Only includes ratings by pension fund respondents
Transitions over $1bn Only includes responses from respondents that have issued transition management mandates worth more than $1bn over the past 12 months.
Respondents with assets over $3bn Includes ratings by respondents that have assets under management (AuM) of $3bn or greater
Respondents with assets under $3bn Includes ratings by respondents that have assets under management (AuM) less than $3bn


Respondents are asked to rate their TMs across 11 service categories. Their score for each category is an average of all valid responses (after the response that gave the highest and lowest average score has been removed). These categories are:
• Accuracy of pre-trade estimate
• Operational efficiency
• Pre-trade analysis
• Post-trade analysis
• Project management
• Relationship management
• Reporting during transition
• Risk management
• Trading/execution
• Transparency of fees and costs
• Transparency of counterparty/liquidity provider (new this year)

Qualification criteria

Qualification in Emea, the Americas and Asia Pacific requires 10, 10 and five responses respectively. To qualify globally, the TM must qualify for a minimum of two continents.

To qualify for each subset (such as ‘governed by a TMA’) a minimum of ten responses is required globally, apart from ‘asset management respondents’ and ‘respondents with less than $3BN AuM’ that require five.

To qualify for each category, TMs need to receive 25 responses in that category. TMs can qualify for some categories and not others (i.e. for example if one of the 25 respondents did not give a rating in every category).

Where more than one person from the same entity rates the same TM in the same region an average is taken of the scores and it only counts as one response. This is considered to be a ‘grouped response’.

A response is considered valid if the respondent provides a rating in at least six out of the 11 service categories (i.e. an n/a is not considered a rating).

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