Entity data is a fundamental building block of many systems, but all too often large financial institutions fail to manage the data strategically and incur negative customer reactions, increased costs and regulatory reporting errors. The solution to these problems is an enterprise-wide approach to entity data secured by strong data governance.
The problems and potential of entity data management are the subject of a GoldenSource white paper, Complex Client Structures and Fragmented Systems Landscapes, that is authored by Tom Stock, senior vice president and global head of product management at GoldenSource, and Jonathan Poole, a consultant at FinReg.
The authors note their own observations of disparate entity data management architecture that is inherent to many large multinational organisations, and suggest this fragmentation of entity data management is the result of organisational change, particularly merger and acquisition; solutions built in the absence of a data governance strategy; solutions built with a defined project time or cost constraints; and solutions built as tactical responses to business problems that subsequently become business critical.
The consequences of complex client structures and fragmented systems landscapes, notes the paper, include negative client sentiment arising from situations where employees do not have the necessary information or clients receive multiple requests for information that has already been provided; increased costs of data processing due to duplication of effort as a consequence of having to maintain multiple versions of data in different systems; increased risk of penalties arising from regulatory breaches due to operational errors and lack of transparency between business units; increased risk of financial loss arising from credit events; and lost sales opportunities caused by wasted sales and marketing expense, and distorted opportunity identification.
But all is not lost. Charlie Browne, head of market data and risk solutions at GoldenSource, explains: “Banks often follow the mantra of putting clients first, but their infrastructure doesn’t always allow a good understanding of who the clients really are. To resolve the problem, one approach is to implement strong entity data governance, move progressively towards a single identifier for client and hierarchy data, and change the mantra to emphasise that well-managed entity data is key to successful projects.”
The paper acknowledges that it is difficult to justify the business case for systems replacement and implementation of an enterprise-wide entity data management solution, and instead reflects Browne’s view, suggesting firms should take a measured approach to building more unified data models and systems architectures. Successive projects then have the advantage of offering sponsoring organisations quick wins and benefits including demonstrable business improvements, a foundation for further entity data projects and more efficient deployment of business resources.