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WealthTech Views Report: Data in Wealth Management - the view from Point Group

Article from The Wealth Mosaic's WealthTech Views Data Management Report. Written by Tom Williams, CEO & Co-Founder, Point Group

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by Point Group
| 25/02/2022 06:00:00

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 unrealized value contained within it. In the future, we must not just live with data, visualize 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 optimize portfolios and support the management of risk; analyze customer behavior 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, behavior, 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 analyzing 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.

Open Finance
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 analyzing previously siloed data sets (behavior, 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 third-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 analyze 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 analyzed, 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 'democratization 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 customizable tool kit, value can be created for the benefit of all market participants.

What solution(s) does your business offer to the wealth management sector that focus on data? How do they work and how do they help wealth managers?

Point Group specialize 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 third-party technologies and services
  • Engaging end clients and their advisors

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 customizable 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 third-party technologies and services on a plug-and-play basis (including portfolio management systems, client onboarding platforms, AI/ML portfolio optimization tools, third-party investment products, and core banking platforms).
  • The second facilitates the integration of market-leading third-party technologies and services on a plug-and-play basis (including portfolio management systems, client onboarding platforms, AI/ML portfolio optimization tools, third-party investment products, and core banking platforms).
  • 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 is part of The Wealth Mosaic's recent WealthTech Views Data Management Report. Access that full report here.