A big part of our story at Finbourne is maintaining an open communications channel with our customers, our partners and the community in general. Over the course of a vast numbers of discussions, meetings and validation sessions, we’ve identified some common themes of interest and pain that I want to share here and in more detail in forthcoming posts. What’s become apparent is that the problems faced are significant and traditional approaches aren’t working. To that end, what we’re building with our partners is not just another software product that brings some shiny feature, or does-the-same-but-cheaper. It is instead a step-change: a more open, utility based, approach for the industry, addressing real organisation-wide problems and laying the foundations for future innovations in the industry.
Here I identify five findings from our research. In my next posts I will dig into detail behind each. As always, any opinions, insight or suggestions are welcome (please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org):
Transactions – The only path to truth, enlightenment. Ok .. sounds dramatic, but we believe that the real (and substantial) value of working from transaction level data is often misunderstood or overlooked. We’ve encountered lots of people and organisations who initially haven’t grasped the power and elegance of driving systems from transaction based data. Obviously working with transactions comes with its own set of challenges so I’ll provide some colour about how we address those in my next post.
Reference Data – A revolution in ETL. Almost every organisation we’ve spoken to has spent vast amounts of money and time integrating reference data into one or (usually) many of their core systems. These integrations are necessary as the products need data, but it’s a lot of money and effort for work that is non-differentiating. We want to remove the hurdles that make integrating vendor data difficult. Unsurprisingly this is an offering that has resonated well with lots of companies as well as the data vendors themselves (who want to make it easier for their clients to buy their data).
Market Data – A shared approach. With companies offering such a substantial and diverse landscape of market data, many businesses have revealed that they struggle with inconsistencies and calibrating to the market. We’re partnering with all our customers, and bringing in some powerful technology, to provide users with insight as to how the community in general is using market data and suggesting tailored improvements where possible.
An open approach to analytics. The cost and time overhead of evaluating, integrating or changing analytics sources is a pain point that has come up repeatedly in our discussions with the community. This is an area where our platform solution and API driven approach really shows their strengths. Our standardised integrations, and partnerships with analytics vendors, mean that adopting a new analytics-set can be as easy as it is to buy an app on your phone. Alternatively, if a company has already got systems in place generating asset-level analytics then those can easily plugged in too, or even be made available to other companies on our platform.
A revolution in Operations using data. Many of our team have worked in, with and for large financial institutions, and our experience as well as that relayed to us by our customers, is that individual teams/desks will use, interpret and share data differently. This all results in a nightmare for the operations teams conducting oversight, comparison and integration. It doesn’t have to be this way though, and with correctly managed data, real organisational change and efficiency can be brought about.
(I’m not sure what mood I was in when I came up with these headings, but on reflection they sound like the titles for a series of terrible Star Wars movies).
That we recognise and are comprehensively addressing the problems mentioned above (and others) has generated a lot of support and enthusiasm amongst folk in the asset management and related industries. Through conversations, we’ve observed first hand the appetite for change and the desire to be liberated from the burden of legacy technology. As we go forward I’ll publish posts on each of the topics listed above. I’ll discuss specifics on how we will bring change, providing real solutions to real problems and enabling our clients to go back to what they do best – managing their clients’ money.