DEC 2020 IAN LYALL
In every facet of the asset management industry, there is (quite rightly) a renewed focus on improving data quality. This focus is reinforced by regulatory bodies, industry associations and most importantly, increased consumer demand for timely, accurate and consistent information.
Over this time, Idea Group has been working to help firms improve the quality of the data they hold, process and publish. In the process it has been instrumental in developing and helping to establish the ViaNova market practice standard for investment order processing.
For many years, fund managers and administrators have been using Idea Group software to comply with this standard and to achieve a host of other business benefits as well – including increased scalability, timeliness, accuracy and consistency – the very attributes which are the key aims of any data quality regime.
In 2019, Idea Group drew up a new product roadmap for what we then referred to as our gateway products. This roadmap set out an ambitious development strategy to extend far beyond core order processing capabilities, into support for a much wider range of investment activities, both retail and institutional. We knew that providing greater functionality would also improve the quality of data for key processes and reporting.
And now, after many months following this roadmap, we have been able to unveil Nova Suite – a sophisticated set of software tools built on our tried and trusted order processing gateway.
Idea Group hosts the Nova Suite software on behalf of its customers. One of its core design principles is the belief that software should have a comprehensive API, so that integration with our customers’ in-house systems is as straightforward as it can possibly be. Indeed, we have now developed integration modules which already work with many of the leading administration systems’ providers products.
At the heart of the NovaSuite is NovaTrade, automating the entire investment cycle for product providers and administrators of investor or member records – from validation of instructions through to dispatch, execution and trade confirmation. NovaTrade manages all exceptions with automated alerts, simultaneously monitoring the progress of orders – which can be sent using SWIFT or a number of other communication mechanisms.
With NovaTrade it possible to obtain regular updates on the status of orders, to allow the provision of more timely and accurate data to pensions schemes or retail investors.
NovaReconcile is used to aggregate/disaggregate member or investor trades into the smallest number of fund manager orders. In so doing, NovaReconcile can be configured to resolve differences in the rounding of unit holdings between administrators systems and those of their fund manager counterparts.
As well as this, NovaReconcile can be used to automatically reconcile the updated fund holding position using all of the order activity following a previous reconciliation point. Confirmation and holdings data, including disaggregated member or investor holdings, can be stored and will only be published to customers’ in-house systems once reconciliation has taken place. Thus data quality is maintained, with holdings data consistent between administrator and fund manager – and only able to be used for reporting, online publications or calculations once it is confirmed.
Because accurate price data is essential, we have developed NovaPrice, a module can receive prices in many formats – over SWIFT or other electronic means – in a wide range of file formats, or even as data keyed in though the Nova Suite user interface.
All price data received is then validated using customer defined tolerances for the asset classes they choose for each fund. Naturally, NovaPrice will also check for stale prices, providing a mechanism to accept or reject prices with a full audit trail of activity. This, once again, helps with the quality of data by ensuring that prices are all checked and that exceptions are noted and swiftly acted upon.
It is common for firms to carry out one-off data cleansing operations, to examine historic data and look to correct anomalies. At the completion of such data cleansing projects, the question naturally arises - how do we avoid a similar situation in the future? Nova Suite is an invaluable tool to help ensure that timeliness, accuracy and consistency of data is always maintained, with the flow-on benefits of lowered costs and improved service across the industry.