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New York Data Management Summit: Setting the scene for 2015

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A-Team Group kicked off last week’s Data Management Summit in New York City with a review of the company’s Regulatory Data Index by A-Team chief content officer Andrew Delaney and a keynote on the challenges of data management by John Fleming, head of enterprise data governance at BNY Mellon.

The A-Team Regulatory Data Index is sponsored by SmartStream and was set up early this year to gather opinion about the impact of regulation on data management activity and spend. Reporting on early findings from the index, Delaney said the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act – or Fatca – is dominating activity, with Know Your Customer (KYC) regulation coming a close second.

Regulations including Dodd-Frank, European Market Infrastructure Regulation, Solvency II, Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, Solvency II and BCBS 239 are also consuming data management resources, with spending following the activity pattern as firms work towards regulatory compliance.

Challenge and Transformation

Turning to wider issues of data management, Delaney introduced Fleming, who set the scene for the conference with a look at the challenges firms face through 2015. Fleming based his presentation on John F Kennedy’s 1962 speech ‘We choose to go to the moon’, an inspirational speech touching on challenge and transformation, and calling for the support of American people for the nation’s effort to land a man on the moon. Looking at the financial services sector, Fleming said: “Consider the climate we are in. We are working on Fatca, KYC, BCBS 239, these regulations are consuming the hearts and minds of large financial services firms, but the question is how we should approach the work? So many things have been done tactically – tag it, move it along – that we see incremental rather than fundamental change.”

Fleming described his early days at BNY Mellon, which he joined in March 2014, the board of directors’ understanding of data as a potential game changer and its desire to work with Fleming to move forward as quickly as possible. He likened the need for change to Kennedy’s intent to galvanise the nation, despite the fact that technology required to take someone to the moon had not been invented when Kennedy made the speech. Fleming said: “This is about a different way of thinking, it is about a problem and using it to drive fundamental change.”

He acknowledged the vastness and velocity of data in the financial services sector, as well as the need to save historical data, and suggested the need for a balance between old practices and new capabilities, as well as a balance across everything everyone is trying to achieve. Explaining how balance could be achieved, he said: “This is all about data, how you think about data, structure and manage it, and how you analyse data to find out what it tells you and whether it is compelling.”

A New Approach

Returning to his early days at BNY Mellon, Fleming described a presentation he made to the board on BCBS 239, saying: “People didn’t appreciate what BCBS 239 is, but one key statement I made was that, as a firm, we were going to use it as a catalyst for transformation.” Working with colleagues in the firm’s client technology services area, Fleming is taking a new approach to how data is captured, curated, managed and made accessible to people. He commented: “We want people to self serve and do the job they were brought in to do rather than spend time handling data.”

Fleming went on to say that data does not need to be perfect, but does need to be fit for purpose, and described his team’s ongoing development of a data index and data quality projects that will be used to steer people to pull data from the right places for the right purposes. He explained: “We are making progress in the most important areas and basing our work on BCBS 239 and our risk and financial data, but this is just the start of a transformation that will leave behind residual assets that have an impact on the firm.” He concluded: “I suggest to you that if all the lists of initiatives in your firm are just that, or if you are trying to transform while undertaking all the initiatives, you need a leadership role that will drive transformative change.”

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