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Talking Reference Data with Andrew Delaney: A Close Shave

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Anyone who was lucky enough to squeeze into the opening keynote presentation at our Data Management Summit in March (standing room only) would have heard me winging it a little as I awaited our speaker – Wipro’s Paolo Mittiga – who’d been delayed by various transportational snafus.

When I took the stage to offer our warm welcome to the assembled crowd, Paolo had not yet entered the building. So I was forced to ad lib for a while about the convergence of – and therefore rationale behind – A-Team’s various online communities.

Although technically an ad lib, my ramblings were based on empirical evidence and were logical if not entirely coherently delivered. Happily, subsequent inquiries – in the form of interviews for stories and discussions about topics for future DMS events – have convinced me that the convergence of elements of our Reference Data Review and Risk-Technology.net channels are not just a figment of my imagination.

In my DMS preamble, I suggested that demand from senior management – most visibly the CEO/board and the finance and risk departments – was driving the need for a wider more holistic view of risk information. In all of their business decisions – and to meet the increasingly onerous regulatory requirement – firms need to understand the risk implications of any action.

This, I posited, was in turn bolstering the ‘enterprise’ element of what’s perhaps been mislabelled the enterprise data management function. In short, EDM is more than pricing and reference data, security master file and golden copy. Rather, it is about all data across the enterprise that’s pertinent to the business decision or regulatory report under consideration.

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to grab coffee with an old friend of A-Team, Ian Webster, now with risk integration specialists Axioma. We chatted about the need to unify data across the enterprise, in order to address issues of veracity between the portfolio manager’s and the chief risk officer’s respective views of risk. With root data sourced from different systems, there is a problem of conflicting figures or different assessments of the same data.

According to Webster, consistent data is required to allow the different interest groups – regulators, clients, management and portfolio or investment managers – to sing from the same hymn sheet. “There are a number of different right answers,” he said. “You need to have a consistent set of rules around the data.”

Then last week we listened in to Wolters Kluwer’s Ioannis Akkizidis as he hosted a webinar on Risk Data Aggregation and Risk Data Management – Identifying and Understanding Risk Data. According to Akkizidis, post-crisis, financial institutions have realised that data architectures aren’t up to the task of supporting the management of financial risks, as risk exposures and concentrations could not be aggregated with any completeness. The result: inefficient risk reporting.

Both Webster’s and Akkizidis’ assessments lend credence to the discussion back at DMS around risk aggregation, and makes me feel there’s a lot more to be explored with respect to integration of risk and other enterprise data that is pertinent to the broader risk picture.

Addressing this need is a Holy Grail of sorts. It’s something we’re adding to our agenda for the next DMS in London in October.

Two cents’ worth to add? Get in touch.

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