Asset management professionals continue to prioritise back-office automation and managing increased regulatory reporting, according to the 2016 Asset Management Industry Trends Survey by Confluence.
The majority of asset management industry professionals (61 per cent) cited automating back-office processes as an important goal over the next two years.
Back-office automation has remained the top priority in each of the four industry surveys that Confluence has conducted since 2008. Managing increased regulatory reporting requirements simultaneously (47 per cent) and centralising fund data (44 per cent) were the second- and third-most cited goals in this year’s survey.
Nearly all respondents reported being concerned about manual processes and spreadsheets affecting the ability to control errors (91 per cent) and the ability to control costs (81 per cent). Yet, respondents reported that manual processes persist across the back office. Across six core back-office regulatory and investor reporting functions, the majority of respondents reported that at least a portion of the process was being managed manually.
This year’s survey also revealed that the industry is increasingly focused on centralising fund data. Nearly three-quarters of respondents (71 per cent) said that it is important to consolidate fund data into a common database, up from 50 per cent in 2008, when we first asked the question. Over two-thirds (69 per cent) of respondents this year said their firm had begun to centralise fund data into one database, up from 50 per cent in 2008. Respondents said data consolidation is extremely important in helping to meet increased regulatory reporting demands (31 per cent), minimise reporting errors (42 per cent) and improve data accuracy and consistency (43 per cent).
Fragmented technology across the back office continues to be persistent, with nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of respondents this year saying their firm still depends on multiple, disparate back-office systems. Nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents said that consolidating third-party solutions would benefit their firm, and 57 per cent said consolidation would help to streamline regulatory and investor reporting processes.
“Relying on multiple single-point solutions is especially problematic when it comes to regulatory reporting,” says Todd Moyer (pictured), executive vice president, global business development at Confluence. “It is inefficient, introduces the risk of error and makes process automation more challenging. As regulatory reporting pressures increase, data consolidation and process automation will become more important. It is imperative that the industry collectively begins to take more significant steps in realising their goal of automation now.”