Despite the difficult market environment, institutional and individual investors expect their fund managers to be like the aptly named Oscars 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% of asset and wealth managers believe capturing value from data and analytics is a key technology challenge over 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 digitalization 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 actually being used for? Focusing on the why and the what helps firms to break down high volumes and rationalize 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 who 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.

“83% of asset and wealth managers believe capturing value from data and analytics is a key technology over the next three years.”

--  Roy Kirby, Head of Core Products, Financial Information, SIX

Future of Finance Study: a Positive Outlook

Around the world, business leaders in finance expect the overall economic environment to improve over the next 12 months – a key finding in the Future of Finance Study from SIX. Despite current inflationary pressures and low growth, they believe they are well positioned for the future.

As to what is driving growth expectation, adoption of new business models is one of the most commonly given reason, as well as internal efficiency savings generated by digitalization. Advanced data & analytics are also recognized as a major driver of potential business expansion. Another driver for growth is new and alternative asset classes, including crypto. Emerging sustainability concerns are also seen as opportunities to be grasped rather than the imposition of unwanted regulation.

The biggest drag on growth is likely to be the industry’s continuing skills shortage. Financial institutions are looking at more flexible working patterns that include hybrid and remote working, as well as strategic partnerships.