Data in Wealth Management.
A TWM article by our CEO
This article was original published by The Wealth Mosaic
How is data being used in the wealth management sector today and what benefits are you seeing. Also, what improvements do you expect to see in the future in wealth management if data is more efficiently and effectively utilized?
As a sector, we are at the start of our data journey.
In recent years, wealth managers have predominantly focused on the effective management of data – how it is collected, stored and communicated. Whilst much remains to do, market players and clients alike have already seen benefits, examples of which include:
- The adoption of tools that automate data collection.
- The move to the Cloud.
- The application of Big-Data analytics to facilitate activities such as client onboarding.
- Advances in data security.
- The emergence of increasingly intuitive interfaces to enhance user experiences.
However, the sector is only starting to scratch the surface in how best to exploit data and unlock the unrealised value contained within it. In the future, we must not just live with data, visualise it and manage its impact; we must put it to work. We need to sweat it.
Fortunately, many technologies are now available in the market to help us do precisely that. Tools include those that apply advancements in AI to optimise portfolios and support the management of risk; analyse customer behaviours to design investment propositions better; identify and select funds; or hold managers to account against independent ESG benchmarks.
The challenge is to apply these separate tools to investment manager business models to create systems that are greater than the sum of their parts – and then supply them with the correct data.
In general, the finance industry is data-rich but data-complex. And the complexity challenge in the investment management sector is particularly significant. Here data comes in a wide variety of flavours which we can break down into three broad areas:
- Investment data such as transactions, holdings and performance figures etc. This data is stored in ‘systems of record’ by custodians, banks, investment platforms and managers.
- Client data such as personal details, suitability, needs, behaviours etc. Held in ‘systems of record’ such as CRM and CDP platforms, by credit rating agencies, etc.
- Market data: macroeconomics, performance and ESG benchmarks, company metrics etc. Held in sources supplied and maintained by specialist data providers.
All these sources of data hold value in their own right. Still, we can magnify this value by breaking individual data siloes down and analysing the data sets in the round, in an ‘open data’ environment, through the application of specialist tools.
Three interconnected themes support the journey towards an ‘open data’ future.
Building on the benefits delivered by Open Banking, the Open Finance initiative is a set of data-sharing principles that aims to empower the end customer by opening up the sector to a broader range of businesses.
Enabled by the regulatory environment, Open Finance should support the end customer by providing managers with better data. In such an environment, managers should understand their clients’ individual needs by automatically analysing previously siloed data-sets (behaviour, borrowing, pensions, savings, investments and insurance, etc.). Armed with this understanding, they can then adjust the services their customer receives by tailoring their products and, perhaps, offering access to 3rd party products via the embedded finance model.
The trend towards greater transparency in our industry continues apace.
Reflecting the increased importance placed on ESG by broader society, transparency over investment data will become more and more critical. Both clients and regulators will require managers to analyse multiple data sources to understand their investments’ impact in the real world. Increasingly, it will (and should) become difficult to ‘hide’ potentially dubious claims of ESG performance behind a wall of impenetrable data.
Data exploitation and interrogation will be the mechanism through which we move the industry away from accusations of ‘green washing’ and superficial nods to CSR; to one in which we embed sustainability at the core of all investment propositions.
Information into intelligence
Data becomes valuable when analysed, turning information contained in the data into actionable intelligence.
Analytical tools that can spot trends and patterns and then draw conclusions from multiple data sets enable businesses to ask the all-important ‘so what’ questions. Once answered, companies can respond quickly and efficiently to address both opportunities and threats.
A manager that possesses an intelligence advantage by intimately understanding changing customer needs and environmental conditions, and can design and launch propositions quickly and efficiently (without the need for massive headcount investment) is likely to succeed over and above those managers that do not.
These three themes contribute to the ‘democratisation of data’, where the totality of the rich set of data generated by the finance sector is made accessible to all relevant individuals (within a well governed framework). By doing so and subjecting this data to exploitation by an intuitive, flexible and customisable tool kit, value can be created for the benefit of all market participants.
What solution(s) does your company offer the wealth management sector that uses data, how do they work, and how are they helping wealth managers operate their business in a better way?”.
Point Group specialise in the design, build and operation of tailored and highly scalable investment operating systems for wealth and asset managers, private banks and family offices.
Our systems focus on:
- The exploitation of data.
- The integration of 3rd party technologies and services.
- Engaging end clients and their advisers.
Our systems sit at the epicentre of our client’s operating models. They provide the unifying central point in an ecosystem typified by multiple data types and an ever-expanding universe of technologies and investment products and services. We provide the data and technology foundation from which our clients can build flexible, agile and customisable investment operating platforms that operate as one unified system.
We base our solution on five core elements; all centred around ‘getting the data right’:
- The first element focuses on the automated collection of our clients’ investment and market data from custodians, bank accounts, investment platforms and market data providers, amongst others.
- The second facilitates the integration of market-leading 3rd party technologies and services on a plug-and-play basis (including portfolio management systems, client onboarding platforms, AI/ML portfolio optimisation tools, 3rd party investment products, and core banking platforms).
- Our third element is our core data analytics engine. This provides our clients with a ‘single source of truth’. It allows them to unlock value for their businesses and clients by exploiting aggregated, calculated investment data.
- The fourth element provides our clients with a set of digital engagement tools to connect with their clients, empower their teams and make decisions based on trusted, actionable intelligence.
- Finally, the fifth element focuses on the end customer. It provides our clients with a suite of engagement tools to support face-to-face communications with intuitive, adaptable and flexible channels through which to develop and maintain deep end-client relationships. Our engagement suite provides automated, consolidated digital reporting across multiple portfolios, accounts and investments.
No two investment management businesses are identical. Each has specific requirements and different existing technology and service ‘stacks’. We design our systems to accommodate existing operating models and facilitate the transformation to new ones as the client business grows by integrating different data, technology and service ‘mixes’.
Our core aim is to provide managers with the capabilities to properly manage and exploit data to build and maintain valuable client relationships, help them avoid an over-reliance on high-risk manual activity, and provide access to best-in-class technologies and services.
We offer our systems as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS). Our team of experts assumes responsibility for the ongoing management and maintenance of our clients’ platforms, leaving them to focus on serving their customers.
This article appeared in it’s original form in The Wealth Mosaic’s WealthTec Views Report: Data in Wealth Management, which includes pieces from a range of contributors.