Nicolas Buck co-founded software firm Seqvoia to help firms manage product data and is now looking to increase clients’ data governance ability with the latest creation, Summit.
The importance of timely, accurate and quality data is well understood - but the financial services sector is famously still heavily dependent on too many manual processes to collect, digest and leverage information. To this end, software provider Seqvoia has launched its Summit platform, a new data and workflow management platform, that enables asset managers, banks and insurers to handle their data sources in a reliable, flexible and transparent manner.
According to Nicolas Buck, CEO of Seqvoia, one of the main obstacles in the industry is that there are several streams of valuable information scattered across an organisation that need to be pulled together and regularly updated for product launches, reporting or regulatory compliance.
However, firms are struggling because they are relying on outdated IT architecture and systems that have not kept pace with the rapid-fire industry and technological changes.
“Many companies still struggle with data governance and so much of data is stuck in silos,” he says.
“People are still using Excel spreadsheets, structured documents, Word and emails. Our objective is to get rid of these inefficient and cumbersome processes. Our vision, though, is not to launch a massive system to replace every other system, but to build better connectivity and to help firms digitise their data management processes in a cost-effective way.”
Meaning, context, knowledge
Summit, which is fully API enabled, is a revolutionary approach to product data which offers users a holistic view of their data. It breaks down the information barriers, synchronises data from multiple sources across an organisation as well as streamlines and automates the collection, validation, and delivery of fund static and dynamic data.
Summit can provide context or explain the meaning of data and its evolution over time, but it also highlights the relationships of data in relation to each other. In addition, it promotes change governance, especially around new forms of reporting involving environmental, social and governance criteria.
“Summit gives the data meaning, context and knowledge,” says Buck. “Data is fragmented, and we provide a digital thesaurus and connect the data points so that firms can better understand how it is used. This greater access to information in turn increases the knowledge across the organisation.”
Buck also notes that another key differentiator of Summit from the more conventional product architecture is that the data framework mirrors the structure and business logic of the client. It is bespoke to each client with conceptual and not hierarchal relationships that are a hallmark of many systems still in operation. Moreover, the solution is not confined but can grow organically with a business’ evolving data requirements.
All the data is centralised and monitored in a one-stop single hub. This means users do not waste time rummaging in different corners of the organisation to find the right material. Time and money are saved by not only having all the data in one place, but also because the data base can easily be extended to cover any kind of information - whether it is for research, reporting or governance.
Summit also enables users to be, in effect, on the same page, sharing the data and product information together. There is a single point of reference and no limitation on access. Moreover, systems, documents and publication can reuse the same information. In the past, users would be poring over various spreadsheets - a time-consuming exercise, especially as the datasets quickly became obsolete.
Summit will work hand in hand with Seqovia’s other innovative product – Fund-D, a cloud-based FinTech solution, that deals with regulatory and statutory documents such as prospectuses and factsheets, authoring, production, publication, and distribution.
It also acts as a data centre gathering, consolidating, and disseminating data.
Fund-D is also aimed at asset managers who are launching or continually updating their fund product portfolio to comply with regulations such as PRIIPs, KIIDs or UCITS.
This has typically been a burdensome task because there are several documents and data points to contend with. But Fund-D is an end-to-end reporting solution that taps into a unified information ecosystem to produce data-consistent extracts across a wide range of industry-standard templates.
With data bridged across the two solutions, Buck believes that users can better manage critical information internally and externally. Equally as important, digitalising and automating the data management activity enables clients to focus more on their core competencies and on developing business opportunities. Although this is always important, it has taken on a new meaning in the current Covid-19 environment where companies are under more pressure.
Seqovia was launched in 2012 as a start-up specialising in developing software for the management of regulatory documentation for investment funds. Previously, Buck and his business partner Renaud Jamar were at Victor Buck Services, which they later sold to Post Luxembourg Group. The idea was to broaden their relationships beyond the custodian and fund administrator community to asset managers to help them build content and manage the fund prospectus-creation process.
“UCITS IV was already on the radar with the introduction of KIID and we wanted to offer a bespoke service to help firms with their regulatory compliance,” says Buck. “At the time, the disclosure space was relatively new, and the objective was to provide consistent and understandable information about the costs, strategy and risks of a product drawing on a single central source of information.”
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