RIMES in Conversation with Accenture

July 29, 2021

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Last month, RIMES caught up with Ross Tremblay, Senior Manager in Accenture’s Capital Markets ind...

Last month, RIMES caught up with Ross Tremblay, Senior Manager in Accenture’s Capital Markets industry group. The wide-ranging discussion covered the major trends facing the data management operations of investment managers. The topics raised include:

Macro trends facing the asset management industry. As Ross explained, the margin squeeze brought on by fee pressure is rippling through organizations. Firms are trying to do more with less, lean more heavily on technology and strategic partnerships, and focus capital on where it adds the most value. This may impact product strategy, with asset managers having to be honest about what they do best and where they make their money and doubling down on those areas.

One factor to consider, is whether to invest in holistic platforms or best of breed solutions – particularly given that technology interoperability is greater than ever. As Ross highlights, many firms are looking to have the best of both worlds. For their part, vendors are starting to lean more on modular based end-to-end solutions with flexible integration that can act as either option, based on client preference.

Key industry trends. As well as looking at the rise of non-traditional competitors to asset managers and the role of ethics in data governance, Ross also discussed why outsourcing has not been used more widely for data management. As he argued, data governance and management are not necessarily core strengths of many capital markets participants. It’s difficult to identify industry participants that aren’t working to significantly improve in this area. If these hurdles can be overcome it would seem like a logical function to utilize the help of strategic partners. As Ross points out: anything that’s worth doing well probably has a vendor in the industry that has dedicated capital, time, and energy into creating and refining it.

Organizational trends. Ross explained that a drive for product differentiation is causing asset managers to focus on the maintenance and deployment of new types of master, market, and reference data, as well as flexible data models and well-defined data governance. In particular, ESG, privates and multi-asset all come with significant challenges around data management.

In addition, Ross discussed how companies can turn off three decades of heavy data technology implementation and integration, explaining that commitment is crucial. As Ross highlighted, moving from a legacy to modern infrastructure is costly and time consuming, but when done well it generates a return on investment as compared to continuing with the status quo. A firm-wide, strategic vision for the future must be well-defined and worked towards, and firms should think about what they need to look like in ten years and aggressively build towards it.

Ross’ discussion with RIMES paints a picture of an industry going through a period of intense change, and highlights that data management choices will be play a central role in helping firms adapt.

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