Our November Reference Data Review reader poll indicates that times are tough for data management teams out there, with the majority facing either a moratorium on hiring new staff or job cuts. Despite the increased market volatility and its knock on impact on data volumes, most data managers are being forced to make do with their current staffing resources.
Data management has certainly never been the most glamorous part of the financial services business and it definitely isn’t as well paid as most front office positions, but it is vital to a financial institution’s ability to function. So the news that most data management teams are facing drops in headcount and increasing pressure on resources is a potentially worrying sign for the future of the market. According to the poll, 57% of respondents have retained the same number of employees as last year and 29% have experienced a decline, likely due to recessionary pressures on budgets. Only 14% had experienced an increase in staff since January. Moreover, according to a recent research report by A-Team Group (publishers of Reference Data Review), the average size of a data management team is fairly small, at between six and 15 staff members.
Given that data management is receiving greater attention than ever before from the regulatory community, with a view to providing faster access to transparent data such as risk, entity and position information, this under-resourcing does not bode well. The UK Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) incoming liquidity risk reporting regime for instance will require firms to prove they have access to all their relevant risk information (including entity and instrument exposure) within a “reasonable” timeframe (read hours rather than weeks). Obviously, as it seems that firms do not have the headcount to throw at the data problem, they therefore will need to invest in systems integration and IT architectures to better support their endeavours. The vendor community is certainly hopeful that this will be the case. Our next poll is aimed at finding out how important data has become strategically within readers’ financial institutions. Do you have a chief data officer or another similarly focused person that has access to the ear of senior management? Let us know by clicking the voting buttons on the right hand side of the page!