FE panel: Do fund managers have too much data – or not enough?

We asked experts about all things data, including which data ranks as the most valuable, the impact of new technology on data and whether managers have too much or not enough data.

Andrew Barnett, global head of product strategy at RIMES Technologies
The technology is there now that enables almost any quantity of data to get through. The question is always in and around the quality. There are certain business functions that are still relatively slow in their adoption of technology and new data and they can be overwhelmed by the new volume coming through. Sometimes you’ll need to provide more education, tell them that you can give them the full universe of data or tailor it down to something more aligned to their value proposition. That should be the role of anyone who’s fulfilling that head of data management or chief data officer (CDO) role. Having someone labelled ‘CDO’ isn’t a panacea. It is someone taking the responsibility for that data and to understand the genesis and the pedigree of that data. But it is to also use two ears and one mouth and listen to your customers and clients and service them with what they need when they need it.

Mateusz Derejski, country head Poland at Metrosoft
The data is there, the technology is there and the people are there. There are data architects within the company but still clients are struggling with data. Sometimes they say they have not got enough data and sometimes they say they have too much. Why is that? There is a perception that there is too little data because it is dispersed through different systems that are neither integrated nor unified. Large asset managers who use different service providers are struggling with having a unified view over the entire world of data because the pieces of the data are within different fund administrators. The industry should look to consolidate its use of technology.

Richard Clarkson, principal solutions consultant at Oracle
There are multiple uses for data but we need to be careful about its consistency and reliability. Everyone wants more data, but can they use the existing data pools they have? Can they spot trends to reduce financial crime? Do they use AI within that space to beat the criminals? Many firms have data lakes that have come from multiple legacy systems but you’ve got to be able to bring it all together so that the CDO has one source of truth. The CDO can then provide the data for future investments or to improve the distribution network. If we don’t understand our data, we can’t do that. What we see is companies have lots of data, lots of ideas, but little application on how to actually drive it forward.

Kate Webber, managing director, head of product at Calastone
We have clients trying to collate information across multiple TAs [transfer agents] so that they can see information in a much clearer way. They are also trying to understand data from the distributors in much more detail and to know it’s accurate. It is quite a hard thing to do, particularly the way that the data comes in. More often than not, the data has to be cleaned before it can be used for analytics. In some business areas, firms have too much data and in other areas, they have too little. What they really value is a way to analyse the data so they can get answers to queries on a timely basis.

Tony Peacham, head of data management and reporting at Amundi
The data challenge for Amundi has been ensuring quality data in a timely manner to our clients. Amundi has developed internal data management repositories and reporting tools that have expanded and inherited legacy repositories from acquisitions such as the recent Pioneer merge. The volume of data that we either migrated or aggregated demonstrates the breadth of data a company would have of this size. It is quite extensive and a great asset. The question of having too much data or not enough data really boils down to what is sufficient to service clients, be it from internal or pipeline from suppliers. We have an aggressive reporting timeline for clients and ensuring data-quality checks for them is a critical focus for our GDM [global data management] function. We can never have enough data in my mind, but it is the quality of data and how we can use that for the client that really matters.

*Read the full report here.

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