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Data: A Competitive Differentiator

A Global Survey of 375 Asset Management Firms' Top Data Challenges and Initiatives

How Asset Management Organisations Are Investing in Data Management

About This Research
This report summarises the key findings from a survey of 375 asset management decision makers at organizations with $30B to $500B assets under management (AUM) across the US, UK, Austria, Brazil, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, and Switzerland. The survey covers independent asset management firms and hedge funds, as well as asset management functions within government organisations, commercial and investment banks, and insurance companies.

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Executive Summary

Asset management firms are grappling with a confluence of events that have created a particularly challenging environment in which to thrive. The post-pandemic reality of high interest rates and inflation, as well as global political conflict have contributed to significant market volatility, ending a long streak of strong market gains. As a result, asset management firms can no longer rely on market performance to drive profitability. To compete, all firms, regardless of size and geographic region, must deliver innovative products, differentiated client experiences, and streamlined operations.

Improving the use of data locked in silos across the enterprise offers asset management firms powerful competitive advantages. These include enhanced analytics that provide deeper insight into markets and clients, faster reaction to market fluctuations, more precise risk management, and improved responsiveness to regulators.

However, challenges persist with processing and managing the vast volumes of data spread across in-house and third party applications, data warehouses, data lakes, data marts, external data feeds, and other sources. These challenges result in delays, errors, inefficient workflows, and strained internal resources. Improving data management transforms the speed and accuracy of reporting to inform decisions and meet the increasingly complex demands of regulators. The good news is that investment in data management technology is a priority for asset management firms.

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The research results presented in this report confirm that improvements to data management processes are considered critical by asset management firms in order to provide faster responses to the front office, improve risk management, and gain a 360-degree view of clients.

According to the research results, many asset management firms are challenged with data errors and delays, making it difficult to provide accurate and timely responses to their business stakeholders. Remediating errors and handling ongoing data requests requires dedicated support from technology staff. The research shows that both small- and mid-sized firms rely on a number of data sources similar to large firms and spend just as many internal resources to service data requests, despite their smaller overall staff, thus increasing margin pressure.

Faced with these barriers, firms are looking to a variety of solutions to speed and simplify access to accurate and timely data. One new approach that is rapidly gaining momentum is the data fabric architecture, which enables firms to address the challenges of disparate, high volume data in a non-disruptive way. With innovative approaches like data fabrics holding real promise for firms looking to leverage new capabilities, the industry has an opportunity to address age-old data challenges more effectively.

Key Findings

54% of firms are challenged by errors in data
This is largely due to the number of disparate data sources, and the amount of effort required to integrate, validate, and reconcile data to transform it into a usable format. With eliminating errors being such a significant challenge, the research shows it is now the number one driver for businesses investing in data management.

After eliminating errors, the next two biggest data management challenges cited by firms are improving responses to regulators and improving risk management.
Only 3% of all respondents use data that is less than 5 hours old for reporting
Only 38% of all respondents use data less than a day old for reporting. No firms with $100B to $500B in AUM reported using data less than 1 hour old for reporting.
66% of respondents require 6 to 9 people to process data to meet the needs of business stakeholders
For independent asset managers the percentage employing 6 to 9 people to process data rises to 76%, and among firms with $100B to $250B in AUM it rises to 77%. Additionally, 85% of respondents reported that their data teams and IT personnel spend up to 50% of their time servicing data requests from business stakeholders.

The research found that asset management firms typically use between 20 and 29 sources of data. When combined with the resources required to process data requests, this places disproportionately heavier demands on the limited resources of smaller firms when it comes to acquiring, processing, and managing all this information.
73% of respondents plan to invest in additional data management capabilities
Several business and operational drivers are behind this action. In addition to eliminating errors, the top business drivers for improving data management are responding to requests from the business in a timelier manner, providing the front office with accurate data for making investment decisions, and lowering data management costs.

Download the eBook for a deep dive into the data and survey results

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Today more than ever before, organisations are striving to gain a competitive edge, deliver more value to customers, reduce risk, and respond more quickly to the needs of the business. To achieve these goals, organisations need easy access to a single view of accurate, consistent, and trusted data – and all in real time. However, growing volumes and complexities of data make this difficult to achieve in practice. As data grows, so does the prevalence of data silos, making integrating and leveraging data from internal and external data sources a challenge.