Cambridge CTO, which will provide high-level technology expertise to hedge funds and private-equity funds, has begun operations.

The firm said it will be able to provide the equivalent services of a full-time chief technology officer at a fraction of the cost.

Julian Croxall, an 18-year financial information technology veteran and former Merrill Lynch vice president, founded Cambridge CTO in response to growing demand for technology executives with a complete understanding of the importance of proper technology controls and processes, he said in a press release Wednesday.

"If fund managers want to attract institutional assets, they must meet institutional standards of technology governance. Today, institutional investors care as much as about technology controls as financial ones," he said.

But many hedge funds and private-equity fund managers spun off from proprietary trading desks are unaware of the array of technological services that these large financial institutions had been providing, he said.

For example, it is vital for fund managers to demonstrate who has access to a fund's proprietary algorithms or other intellectual property, what procedures are in place in case of an energy blackout and who oversees the numerous vendors supplying the investment firm with computer services. Croxall said asset management firms need to see the chief technology officer as a business management role, not a technical support role.

"The chief technology officer is not a hands-on technical role, fixing desktops and servers," Croxall said.

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