Everything, Everywhere All At Once – An Award-Winning Approach For Investment Managers?

Roy Kirby 7 March 2023


The author of this piece, taking a metaphor from film industry awards shows, says delivery of efficient market data should collect "Best Supporting Role" for wealth and investment firms.

The following exploration about the use of data analytics by wealth managers comes from Roy Kirby, head of core products, financial information at SIX, the global financial information provider. 

It is without question that wealth and investment managers endured a rather bumpy year in 2022, grappling with a mixture of high inflation and sell-off in stocks and bonds, negatively impacting returns. Despite the difficult market environment, institutional and individual investors expect their fund managers to be like the aptly named Oscar’s film frontrunner: Everything, everywhere all at once. But the real prize for fund managers, should they be able to deliver, is not an Academy Award, but the continued business of their clients and the potential to win business from new investors.

According to our recent Future of Finance study, a combined 83 per cent of asset and wealth managers believe that capturing value from data and analytics is a key technology challenge for the next three years. Doing this successfully will enable fund managers to streamline their operations and provide a better service for clients.

With the low return environment piling on more pressure, investors are now looking for a deeper level of information, and access to relevant, quality data on a 24/7 basis when it comes to the investment decisions that they are making. Of course, these demands are welcome. 

But the trouble is, when it comes to underlying market data, inefficient processes remain, including the storage and application of data. It is not an easy feat to get a handle on the vast amount of data required in the modern world, but this is certainly exacerbated by legacy systems still in play. With data spread across disparate and disconnected systems and increasing costs from paying for internal storage and the personnel required to manage this, the result is a build-up of data that is difficult to access and apply effectively to investment decisions.   

This is when new technologies and digitalisation efforts can be applied to drive forward cost reduction and increase efficiencies, removing the need for such an expensive approach to data management. And for some of the larger wealth and investment management firms, the first step is to go back to basics and start with two simple questions: why is all this data required and what is it being used for? Focusing on the why and the what helps firms to break down high volumes and rationalise workflows from the get-go, as data departments often overlook the simpler factors.

For example, firms need to target areas within their data flow that require manual manipulation, as this can lead to errors in reporting and consistency. Stronger frameworks enable firms to achieve high quality outcomes and invest more effectively. The answer truly lies in getting your data in order and working with data providers for a more streamlined, tailored offering that best suits your needs. 

Key industry drivers, such as digital transformation, have significant implications for the asset and wealth management industries. Firms that can adapt to these changes quickly and adopt more sophisticated approaches to data management are the ones that are going to stay ahead of the game in times to come and provide greater value-added services to their clients. 

While it has never been the glitz and glamour of the investment world, delivery of efficient market data may just win “Best Supporting Role” for wealth and investment management firms this year.

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