TSAM London reveals that buy-side firms continue to struggle with data integrity

At the recent TSAM London event, asset managers, hedge funds and other buy-side firms came together to discuss some of the key challenges facing the investment management industry. Experts from a wide range of businesses and functions participated in lively discussions focused on investment operations and technology. But what quickly became apparent was the sheer number of firms that are still struggling with establishing a foundation for data integrity.

Omnipresent data fatigue
Many buy-side firms expressed little confidence that the data which they are basing decisions on or sharing with regulators is timely, accurate and complete. This clearly presents numerous problems and risks. But there was also a sense of fatigue around these discussions.

A slight disbelief ensued that, despite years of these topics being raised at industry forums, some firms are still no closer to having data and processes that they can truly rely on. Why is this the case?

Data integrity challenges
When you look at the landscape in which the buy-side operates, it becomes clearer: firms are working with a greater volume and variety of data than ever, trapped within silos across the enterprise, with different formats, shapes, sizes and connectivity requirements to contend with.

In-house teams are spending more and more time trying to keep up, while regulators, clients and other key stakeholders become increasingly intolerant of data-related errors and issues.

So, what’s the solution? How do we make sure we’re not having this same conversation again next year?

Value-add vs. commoditised functions

Consider the question: Has your business built its own power station? Its own oil refinery? Its own telco network?

The answer (hopefully) is “no.” Why? Because there are expert resources available that can do the job better, faster and more cost-effectively, enabling you to focus on your core competencies. Simply put, most firms have requirements that are not necessarily so unique to their business operations or strategy that would warrant creating and managing costly in-house infrastructures.

It’s the same with data aggregation – a function that has become highly commoditised. How are your teams supposed to keep up with the frequent changes to standards, access and technical requirements? Can you really afford to have your people tied up collecting and scrubbing data rather than focusing on work that actually adds unique business value?

Handing over data aggregation to the experts
Why would you not hand the time-intensive data aggregation task over to domain experts who understand your business and workflows, and can collect, normalise, validate and deliver clean data to your firm every day?
By improving the quality and speed of the data your firm depends on, it’s a quick win for your operations to demonstrate immediate efficiency and business value.

If buy-side firms continue on the same trajectory when it comes to data integrity, then we’ll be back in the same place this time next year. It’s time to find a trusted partner to step in so that you can focus on what you do best – growing your business.

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