Empowering managers with data automation and integration

April 11, 2023

The data revolution is here. Find out what that means for high-volume fund managers.

Over the past several years, data automation has become central to reducing risk, ensuring accuracy and, ultimately, empowering investment managers to deliver a faster higher quality client service supported by granular investor reporting.

To remain competitive and to meet the evolving needs of investors, the focus of the investment manager has shifted significantly to include effective data management in areas beyond their primary responsibility of portfolio selection.

Here, we’ll review the latest trends in data automation and consider how automation can particularly benefit firms that trade in high volumes or with diverse portfolios.

 

The benefits of data automation 

Across financial services, and particularly within banking, major firms are pushing next generation data automation into their processes. The benefits are wide reaching, and ultimately are becoming central not just to efficient operations but to effective client service.

First, automation is the central tenet of sound practice within data management. When your data is automated, it’s cleaner and less likely to be compromised by human error. Data that’s handled by multiple, often third-party systems, carries the additional risk of corruption or production interruption. As all investment managers know, mistakes in any of these areas can be costly.

“A data error generally goes hand in hand with reputational risk to the fund, which in every sense is bad for business,” says Ken Somerville, chief operating officer for U.S. Bank Global Fund Services Europe.

On the flip side, data automation increases efficiency and decreases turnaround time. “Automation has enabled us to redirect resources to higher value client service areas thereby broadening our offering,” says Conor Burns, head of fund accounting for U.S. Bank Global Fund Services Europe. Ultimately, this allows fund managers to spend more time focusing on clients’ individual needs and investment goals.

 

How data automation can make your job easier

To get a better sense of how effective data automation can make your job easier as an investment manager, it’s helpful to understand the role automation plays in specific fund administration processes.

Straight-through processing, systematic master creation and fund-family reconciliation all facilitate successful services to high-volume trading funds supported by our teams in U.S. Bank. Somerville notes that in a typical month, the Global Fund Services team processed more than 1.5 million trades captured from 13 client systems via almost 400 file transfers.

 

Technology that evolves with your needs 

When searching for an investment services partner to support your high-volume trading funds, it’s important to consider not only the automation processes that are currently implemented, but also how that partner approaches continuous improvement. Excelling in data automation requires a commitment to investing in automation technology, incorporating client feedback, and thereby continually improving processes.

“Excelling in data automation requires a commitment to investing in automation technology, incorporating client feedback and thereby continually improving processes.”

“The timeliness of our reporting and the accuracy of our output is obvious to our clients, and this doesn’t happen by accident,” Somerville says. “It happens because we’re continuously improving our data management. We continued to grow a central depository for all of our data, (our in-house implementation of a data lake) to receive, store and feed all fund services data via a single reporting portal, Pivot.”

All that said, data automation on its own will only get you so far. The unique features of investment funds, in essence the alpha that distinguishes management companies from each other means that the personal touch still counts. It’s important to find a fund services partner that combines advanced data automation with a client centric focus.

“We simply don’t consider all data to be the same,” Somerville explains. “Strategically, we consider all of the ways in which we receive, process and report our information to discern whether it can be handled most effectively, either centrally with our technology unit or in an individually with our operations team.”

An individualised approach delivers investment managers an automation solution tailored to their unique needs. “Internally, we allocate the right kind of talent to the specific challenge that each client represents,” Somerville says.

A strong fund services partner also considers client feedback to continually improve data automation processes. “It’s important to constantly look at ourselves and see what we can improve on. That’s key to everything we do,” Burns says.

For example, each of our operations team keeps a regular inventory of its manual processes and then grades each process on the level of risk of error and on the number of resources used, Burns explains. “From there, the operations leaders and the tech team collaborate to decide which processes should be automated.”

“This continuous improvement manifests itself in everything we do,” Somerville says. “It’s a living, breathing exercise for us. This is an area where we really distinguish ourselves and outperform our peers.”

 

Data automation focused on you 

As you examine the automation processes of a fund services partner, ensure they’re committed to taking a client-centric approach. “We strive to help the client with their own systems,” Burns explains. “If, for example, a client also uses a provider that processes data for risk reporting, foreign exchange hedging, or simply to give them their data sooner, we work with our client to assist with that relationship.”

Today we can provide straight-through processing into any third-party service providers that an investment manager works with. “If our clients can receive that from us without adding a touchpoint with the third-party provider, then we’re helping them reduce their costs on other services as well,” Burns says.

Having a single point of contact offers other benefits, too. With U.S. Bank, investment managers don’t need to worry about working across time zones or with multiple people. “By removing data-management tasks from employees, our employees get a broad view of a client’s needs and they’re able to answer a wider range of client queries,” Burns says.

At the end of the day, data automation is not merely a technological issue. “Being a good data manager means being a good service provider,” Somerville explains.

 

At U.S. Bank, we leverage data automation and innovative technology to help you achieve your business goals. To learn more about our comprehensive fund administrative services, visit usbank.com/globalfundservices.

Learn about U.S. Bank

Related content

Automate accounts payable to optimize revenue and payments

Want AP automation to pay both businesses and consumers?

Hybridization driving demand

Staying organized when taking payments

How to fund your business without using 401(k) savings

Banking connectivity: Helping businesses deliver the easier, faster, more secure customer experience of the future

Authenticating cardholder data reduce e-commerce fraud

Emerging trends in Europe: An outlook from multiple perspectives

Webinar: CRE technology trends

ABCs of APIs: Drive treasury efficiency with real-time connectivity

Automate escheatment for accounts payable to save time and money

5 winning strategies for managing liquidity in volatile times

Time is money: Intelligent Payment Routing saves businesses both

Work flexibility crucial as municipalities return to office

What corporate treasurers need to know about Virtual Account Management

CFO survey: A shifting focus on ESG in business

Treasury management innovations earn Model Bank awards

Digital processes streamline M&A transactions

CFO report: Driving growth via new business models and technology

How RIAs can embrace technology to enhance personal touch

Digital Onboarding helps finance firm’s clients build communities

Challenging market outlook reveals the power of partnership

CFO insights: Leading the recovery for sustainable growth

An asset manager’s secret to saving time and money

Empowering managers with data automation and integration

Delivering powerful results with SWIFT messaging and services

Luxembourg's thriving private debt market

Insource or outsource? 10 considerations

Easier onboarding: What to look for in an administrator

Buying or leasing? Questions to ask before signing a contract

Finance or operating lease? Deciphering the legalese of equipment finance

Common pitfalls to avoid in the equipment financing process

What are exchange-traded funds?

Blockchain: Separating hype from substance

MSTs: An efficient and cost-effective solution for operating a mutual fund

Tools that can streamline staffing and employee management

Why ecommerce for small business strategy is integral

Streamline operations with all-in-one small business financial support

Planning for restaurant startup costs and when to expect them

How does an electronic point of sale help your business keep track of every dime?

Rule 18f-4: The limited use exception

How iPads can help increase efficiency in your salon

Key considerations for online ordering systems

How small businesses are growing sales with online ordering

3 ways to gain loyalty with your customers

How running a business that aligns with core values is paying off

Meet the Milwaukee businessman behind Funky Fresh Spring Rolls

Complying with changes in fund regulations

How to identify what technology is needed for your small business

The secret to successful service provider integration

Drive digital transformation with payments innovation

Unexpected cost savings may be hiding in your payment strategy

Key considerations for launching an ILP

10 ways a global custodian can support your growth

3 questions to ask your equity, quant and CTA fund administrator

Administrator accountability: 5 questions to evaluate outsourcing risks

Inherent flexibility and other benefits of collective investment trusts

The benefits of a full-service warehouse custodian

How blockchain technology is changing treasury

Depositary services: A brief overview

The AI journey in finance: How to make it part of your strategy

The future of financial leadership: More strategy, fewer spreadsheets

P2P payments make it easier to split the tab

How AI in treasury management is transforming finance

Webinar: Robotic process automation

3 ways to make practical use of real-time payments

Tech tools to keep your restaurant operations running smoothly

Service provider due diligence and selection best practices

How do interest rates affect investments?

Enhancing the patient experience through people-centered payments

Digital trends poised to reshape hotel payments

Unexpected cost savings may be hiding in your payment strategy

Authenticating cardholder data reduce e-commerce fraud

Colleges respond to student needs by offering digital payments

Start of disclosure content
Disclosures

All U.S. Bank Global Fund Services entities are wholly-owned subsidiaries of U.S. Bank, N.A. Custody and lending services are offered by U.S. Bank, N.A.

U.S. Bank Global Fund Services (Ireland) Limited is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. 

U.S. Bank Global Fund Services (Guernsey) Limited is licensed under the Protection of Investors (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2020, as amended, by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission to conduct controlled investment business in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

U.S. Bank Global Fund Services (Luxembourg) S.a.r.l. is registered in Luxembourg with RCS number B238278 and Registered Office: Floor 3, K2 Ballade, 4, rue Albert Borschette, L-1246 Luxembourg. U.S. Bank Global Fund Services (Luxembourg) S.a.r.l. is authorised and regulated by the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier.

U.S. Bank National Association is not responsible for and does not guarantee the products, services, performance or obligations of its affiliates.

Start of disclosure content

Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rates and program terms are subject to change without notice. Mortgage, home equity and credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.