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Suvrat Bansal Describes Digitalisation at UBS Asset Management

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Digitalisation is at the top of the agenda at many large capital markets firms, but how can it be achieved without disruption and with outcomes that benefit your clients, staff and stakeholders? Suvrat Bansal, head of innovation and chief data officer, and managing director at UBS Asset Management, will share his experience of leading a major digitalisation programme at the asset manager at this week’s A-Team Group Data Management Summit in New York City.

To give you a little insight into Bansal’s success story at UBS, we talked to him ahead of the event to find out how he has approached and is implementing digitalisation across the firm. The focus, in line with UBS Asset Management’s long history, is on providing innovative investment products and services for clients, and improving client service. The data strategy involves people and information, and is designed to equip staff with the digital information they need, when they need it and make everyone more productive.

Bansal explains: “We have approached digitalisation in two ways: edge cases, such as UBS Partner, where we are developing new digital advisory services for our clients; and digital transformation of our current businesses, which requires significant engagement, staging and careful execution. Executing these in parallel with data at the centre is ultimately where we add most value.”

To create an inclusive programme, Bansal decided on a relatively simple and easily understood implementation policy. The policy creates central capabilities in analytics, master data and data governance. These capabilities are then offered to business and functional leaders for their digital transformation efforts prioritised by value drivers. The goal is to provide access to the central capabilities in data and technology, empowering divisional leaders to develop digitalisation in their areas.

Bansal says: “Each transformation effort is defined as a ‘service pod’. Each pod develops metrics on the state of its business area and what it should look like after digitalisation. Triangulation of service pods, central data capabilities, and technology, drives organic transformation internally.”

The programme is investing in new technologies where appropriate and making best use of open source solutions. It is also looking actively at the integration of alternative data to drive new products and services, but only if they work for the firm’s investment products and clients. As Bansal concludes: “The drivers behind optimal digitalisation are the same as always, improvements for our clients.”

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