Your firm launched a new product six months ago. Your sales team want to know with which client demographic the product has most resonated. They want to target the next wave of distribution as effectively as possible. As the head of fund administration or a data analyst, can you answer that question quickly and with confidence? Do you have a way to connect client investment data with product investment data?
All of your investment data should be connected
Many firms have achieved a stable operational approach for their instrument static data and are now looking to other data sets in their organizations. In some cases, they discover that their current solutions and processes do not extend well into the realm of product and client data. And if they do, it’s not without significant IT overhead and risk. The hierarchy and relationship complexities of these data domains demand a robust data management capability and enhanced data quality.
When a firm and its advisors have new customers to onboard and data coming from multiple product teams, they may be trying to collate all that information on one spreadsheet. This method falls short when the customer details and required legal agreements (with clients or between corporates and their clients) get more complicated. This can also be compounded by the need to indicate specific contact details and linkages for different funds that a corporate client is transacting.
Investment firms can also be inclined to rely on spreadsheets to handle product master data. Again, this tendency and this approach loses sight of the need to link complex product, client and securities data. It fails to consider the need to store historical data for reporting and financial audit. It also overlooks the need to interconnect and interlink individuals’ data and data about relationships with other individuals, retail or corporate (for relationships among customers and within a corporate customer’s holdings).
What you should look for
Without a solid grasp of client and product investment data, provided through an easy to understand process, how will you properly manage and market the fund products that your firm administers? So, what are the key capabilities of a practical, interlinked product and client data system?
The main purpose of carefully connecting client and product data is to know the correct information about investment holdings and transactions. Once you have that, it can also serve as the foundation for data analytics used to evaluate how well your firm is distributing and administering those products. And to identify ways to do it better.
Product and client data processes should be able to collate all relevant data from various sources, including client onboarding, client lifecycle management systems, industry vendors, authoritative industry and regulatory sources and spreadsheets. Furthermore, accessible data analytics requires the smooth availability of product and customer data. The head of a fund has to be able to trigger a workflow that goes out to a performance analysis system and then comes back with analysis results without a hitch. That workflow should feed reference data, performance data, benchmark data, legal data and more all onto one screen.
The investment data processes
The processes should be able to catch exceptions in the data, to realize when multiple sources are providing the same information or conflicting information (and check their accuracy), and provide insight on key metrics for data stewards to track and control data quality. Even for smaller firms, poor data quality can quickly impact client reporting, financial accounting and regulatory submissions, resulting in both loss of trust and business. Larger investment firms typically have in excess of 250 different attributes of client and product data to track and manage, so it’s important that whatever investment data management processes that you adopt, they can scale as you grow.
Having a solid command of all this data is also a pre-requisite for integrating with and publishing to downstream systems for business operations, such as a customer relationship management (CRM) or a fees system, as well as for reporting the required compliance information to regulators, such as the U.S. SEC, the European Union ESMA, the UK’s FCA, Australia’s ASIC and Singapore’s MAS.