By Simon Swords, Managing Director
I had intended to write this sooner, but 2024 got off to a flying start and I had to put this post on the back-burner. A positive sign of continued fintech adoption across the investment management industry is always a welcome start to the year.
We see much as moved on but there is still a widespread need across the industry to revolutionise how we work with data and take advantage of the latest technology can offer.
The good news is that whereas five years ago all our focus was on fixing data for our clients, our focus is now split 40% fixing data and 60% using accurate and trustworthy data in Fundipedia to launch innovative projects that drive our clients forward and create efficiencies. This is a marked improvement, and a trend I really enjoying seeing play out because it gives me confidence in our industry to adapt.
In fact, this year we also turn our attention to cross-industry solutions that move the needle for everybody.
The themes we outline below are fundamentally shaped by two facts:
- Fundipedia has technology in its DNA given that it was born out of a bespoke software company.
- We are privately owned. We are not distracted by shareholders, external investors or people who mean well but are perhaps not quite as obsessive about the happiness of our’s clients and team members.
2024 will be the year we sowed the seeds of transformation across how data is managed in asset management. Frustratingly there is a limit to the amount of detail I can share on this today. However, I am more confident than ever that my oft quoted “I plan to leave this industry better than I found it” is closer to reality than ever before.
Here are some key themes we see playing out in 2024 and beyond.
“Ask us how we can save you six figure cost lines on data dissemination by consolidating your suppliers” will be something you hear our team members say with an almost annoying frequency this year.
One upside of our platforms’s flexibility is that we share data with any other system or platform. This has and will continue to be one of the primary pillars of our success and has also given us deep insight into the number of systems our clients must stitch together.
On average we count 22 systems per firm across product, regulatory, client reporting, calculations, data dissemination, general reporting and merging of data in asset managers. Some of these systems do not perform their duties well. Most of these systems are expensive.
In light of this knowledge, we are now helping new and existing clients understand what systems and contracts are ripe for decommission by instead taking advantage of Fundipedia products.
By deducting the cost of the systems that can be decommissioned by using Fundipedia, the business case for Fundipedia is even more compelling as we can create a net saving. Don’t just take my word for it – if you speak with Tim, he’ll show you the calculations on this.
To further evidence our position here, Tim, Craig and I are authoring a whitepaper on these vendor consolidation savings, and we will share this in Q1.
I am particularly excited about this paper – I feel like we are selling £10 notes for £5 which should be well received by the industry given the macro challenges.
We plan to disrupt and improve the way data is stored and managed across the entire industry via our join up with IA. There, I said it.
We have the experience, the technology and an incredible network of people and partners alongside many other key ingredients to lead this change.
The IA and Fundipedia join up will be live in a couple of months. From here we will push full steam ahead with additional initiatives that we expect will standardise and enhance the way all asset managers manage report and share their data at an industry wide level.
Please stay tuned. This is industry changing.
The more data the merrier
In addition to the quiet revolution on product data management we’ve spearheaded for nearly two decades, we have not lost sight of other datasets that our clients wrestle with – for example, client account mastering.
Fortunately, our platform is built to be flexible enough to accommodate any data. A new instance can be spun up very quickly (as part of a POC perhaps, more on that next), and the additional data sets modelled in and connected across the business in very short order.
For example, just before Christmas 2023 we spun up a POC for an existing client to showcase their client account master in just two days. Two weeks later the client was happy we had evidenced their success criteria, and the business case was signed off almost immediately. We are now in procurement mode and expect to start implementation in a couple of weeks. Our client is delighted they can re-use the technology their business knows and has a deep understanding of to create more value so quickly. Procurement is also straightforward as we have previously been onboarded, so less paperwork for us too.
This level and speed of innovation provides us with the opportunity to innovate in partnership with our clients, creating a home for new datasets in a matter of weeks. It also sparks our client’s imagination around what future Fundipedia can do for them.
Sister industries that provide fund, corporate, and family office solutions also wrestle with entity data in the same way. We are now speaking with those firms too, and understanding how our technology can help them.
We love RFPs – and we love POCs even more. If run correctly they are slick and focussed. Success criteria can be re-used as most firms have similar requirements.
This means we can spin up an instance to evidence the success criteria in a day or two (side note: I am not exaggerating; the guys press a single button to create a new instance and populate it with data – all totally automated).
Moreover, a POC is not throwaway work. Quite the opposite, it is setting the foundations for a successful implementation by de-risking implementation.
We anticipate that firms will continue to streamline RFPs by taking advantage of POCs as a driver to help firms understand their wants and de-risk their implementation ahead of creating a business case (which we also help to write when asked).
Refining procurement and engaging with the industry
Speaking of refining procurement, in addition to our data join up with the Investment Association, we have a long history of engaging the IA to help its members improve all aspects of their interactions with fintechs such as ours.
The IA were kind enough to ask me to contribute to their fintech best practices 2024, and I wrote a section on how asset managers and fintechs can better engage with one another.
I’ll be presenting my rhetoric at the EmTech on 7th, please come along and throw rotten vegetables at me if you disagree with anything I have written. I am happy to edit my thoughts on this subject matter in the 2025 edition if the IA invite me back to help again.
We’re spending more time abroad than ever before building our network of partners and clients. Our primary focuses this year will be in North America and Continental Europe as we see a vast number of data challenges, we are confident we can assist with.
Our 2024 conference schedule is set out below and we hope to see you there:
- 7 March, Investment Association EmTech, CodeNode, London
- 11 – 13 March, InvestOps, JW Marriot Grand Lakes, Orlando, USA
- 19 – 20 March, ALFI GAM, European Convention Centre, Luxembourg
- 25 April, FundsTech Conference 2024, etc. venues, St. Paul’s, London
- 1 May, TSAM, The London Stadium, Stratford, London
- 5 June, The IA Annual Conference, London
- 25 – 26 June, IMPower FundForum, The Grimaldi Forum, Monte Carlo, Monaco
We’ll also host two of our own popular events, one in spring and one in autumn. Come follow us on LinkedIn to be the first to hear about those as we pull the plans together.
And AI, of course
Don’t think that just because AI is at the bottom of this list that we are not taking it seriously.
Our entire team utilise LLM AI to work more efficiently. My guess is that if used correctly, AI can increase my personal daily output by 10 – 20% depending on the tasks at hand. Multiply this across the team and it’s like having another half a dozen people working with us.
It’s just a matter of knowing what it can do, its limitations, and learning how to write prompts effectively.
GPT-5 will be released this year, and anybody who is not pushing ahead with AI is missing an opportunity to do more both in their business and for their clients.
Throughout 2024 and beyond we will spark our client’s imagination by showing them the power of AI. To this end, we have three AI projects that we are engaging clients on, getting their feedback and honing what it does for their use cases.
It won’t surprise anybody to hear that it’s leveraging the data we already store and finding new ways to make use of it across an even broader set of use cases for our clients.
We look forward to meeting you all as we move through the year. Feel free to message or email me direct if you have any questions or feedback on our plans.