Our clients and the market have been clear: A data-centric operating model is now the main enabler of growth, requiring a flexible and interoperable framework to keep pace with rapidly evolving market demands. Successful asset manager/asset servicer relationships will be based on flexibility, choice, relevant subject matter expertise, available technology, and data integration. The best asset servicers will continue to perform critical core functions such as safekeeping assets, striking NAVs, and running middle office functions, as well as managing important aspects of their data strategy and offering alpha-generating capabilities like capital markets products. But they will also be flexible enough to adapt alongside the clients they service.
At BBH, our approach is simple: we help clients create and integrate their own future-ready operating models made up of their best solutions, solutions provided by BBH, and those of other third parties. Our solutions are modular, open-architecture, and available to clients on their own or as a full suite. This modularity, combined with the proven integration capabilities of BBH Infomediary®, means asset managers can integrate their front, middle, and back-office solutions by keeping what works, fixing only what doesn’t, and preserving agility and choice as the market evolves.
We believe that an asset manager’s ability to execute on their vision for the future is only as good as the service providers they partner with. With that in mind, we’d like to focus here on how we’re making inroads at helping our clients create their ideal operating model that will position their business for the future.
Data Begets Flexibility
Flexible access to data has become the goal for managers to free resources and differentiate their core business. The principles of achieving this are straightforward and well known: collect, integrate and clean data once, then reuse it throughout an organization. Enrich the data early in its lifecycle, establish clear lineage, ownership and management rules to ensure quality. Employ technology that facilitates flexible integration and downstream use.
The challenge for most asset managers is not knowing what to do, it is knowing how to do it based on their existing operating model and systems architecture. The answer is rarely another large enterprise data management solution as most managers have at least one of those already. The proliferation of “End User Computing Applications” (aka spreadsheets) are a visible symptom of a data strategy that cannot respond fast enough to users' needs. A typical operating model will also contain a variety of systems at different stages of their lifecycle. Some will be old and need to be replaced, some will work well enough but need to be enhanced, others will be new and need to be integrated and retained. Successfully navigating such complexity while keeping pace with change in a cost-effective manner is the challenge many asset managers are telling us they face today.