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Few asset managers fully capture value from data, says survey

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An independent survey conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and sponsored by Northern Trust reveals that a flexible data strategy governed by strong leadership facilitates business decisions and helps asset managers capture more value from their data.

The survey, conducted across the United States and Europe among more than 200 asset management and insurance company executives, highlighted that while managers have access to better tools and technologies to help them benefit from new sources of data, many struggle to make sense of the deluge of data they receive on a daily basis.

Only 13 per cent of respondents indicated they successfully capture the full value from all of their data. Nearly 30 per cent reported that the volume of data makes it difficult to determine what is useful.

“This survey confirmed for us what we recognise as some of our clients’ biggest challenges,” says Pete Cherecwich, Americas head of Corporate & Institutional Services at Northern Trust. “Whether they are looking for ways to manage their investment decisions, monitor their risks, or improve their reporting, they need to extract more value from their data to gain actionable insights.”

The EIU survey showed that executives who believe their organisation captures value from data “entirely” or “fairly well” twice as often (67 vs 33 per cent) also say that their data strategy is “mostly” or “entirely” flexible. Those organisations with “entirely” or “mostly flexible” data strategies more often reported monthly or quarterly assessments to review the effectiveness of their data strategies. The survey findings underscore the importance of a nimble approach to data management combined with strong executive leadership to prioritise goals. The data suggested that companies should set up a centralised leadership structure, orchestrated by an individual or team with a holistic overview of the company and a strong collaborative spirit, to leverage data more effectively.

“We collaborate with many of our clients by providing meaningful data to help them focus on the direction of their core businesses,” says Serge Boccassini, Global Product Solutions Manager at Northern Trust. “Developing a comprehensive and flexible data management strategy is essential for asset managers to succeed in a competitive marketplace.”

In addition to providing data management solutions, teams within Northern Trust’s Corporate & Institutional Services business unit share the latest research and thought leadership on data strategies with institutional clients.

The survey was conducted in the third quarter of 2015 with more than 200 asset management and insurance executives involved in decisions regarding data sourcing, management and strategy. Approximately half of those surveyed work for managers with assets over USD5 billion. Geographically, survey respondents were evenly split between the United States and Europe. Five in-depth interviews were also conducted with industry experts and academics to complement the survey.

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