Swiss private bank Pictet & Co. has emerged as one of several asset management organizations that have applied Rimes Technologies SmartFiles custom data file service to their performance attribution operations. Rimes’ SmartFiles is providing firms like Pictet with a normalized and aggregated feed of benchmark, pricing and other data sourced from numerous and disparate suppliers, effectively outsourcing the data management, cleansing and consolidation function to Rimes.
Pictet’s use of SmartFiles may signal a trend among asset managers toward effectively outsourcing the data management tasks required to ensure that their key applications receive the quality of data they require. Indeed, Frederic Mancuso, co-founder of Rimes, says financial institutions increasingly view the high-end data quality requirements of performance measurement as something that can be expensive and time-consuming to handle in-house.
“In performance attribution, the requirements are high,” he says. The requirement is for clean, end-of-day benchmark data from multiple sources, as well as related constituent data, weightings, formats and meta-data. Some client implementations to handle data from perhaps as many as 20 or 30 different vendors, Mancuso says, can take as long as two years to build internally.
Alternatively, Mancuso says, Rimes can provide a normalised feed of relevant and appropriate data, consolidated at its data centres and tailored to meet the needs of the client. Mancuso says Rimes treats data as a factory would: “We receive it, transform it, aggregate it, and at the end of the chain is SmartFile. It contains all the data and the quality checks required, and this makes it easy for the client.”
At the heart of the Rimes platform is the Rimes Data Model to which all incoming data is mapped, using a cross-referencing function. The model has been designed to deal with a multitude of data types originating from between 300 and 400 different sources, many with their own proprietary format.
The platform handles all reference data and symbology mapping. It also ensures that new attributes are assigned to the appropriate securities in an orderly way, irrespective of where the data was originated.
Once these processes are complete, the data is available for querying by clients and delivery via SmartFile on a customised basis. Each client file has its own set of attributes and coverage parameters, which are automatically aggregated by the system. Automated data-checking means that errors are corrected automatically, without clients needing to contact original data sources. Where human intervention is required, clients contact Rimes’ support organization.
“When clients build in-house systems, they don’t control this process flow,” says Mancuso. “That’s okay when things are going well but when there’s a problem, they don’t have the procedures to go back and fix it automatically automatically. People can have full service using us, complete control over their files. And it’s a short process flow on their side; they need only FTP” to download the data files.
Using this platform, Rimes is able to offer customized modules that are unique for each client. The company is also using the platform to perform portfolio valuations for clients using the customers’ own data in addition to market pricing.
Data for Pictet’s performance management team is now acquired, compiled, formatted and fed into its internal systems by the Rimes platform. According to Michel Mermoux, head of the market data unit at Pictet, the bank turned to Rimes “because, previously, both data quality and response times to our requests for new data had been poor, and this simply was not sustainable for us. To provide the service our clients expect, we need to have the very best quality data available, validated and formatted in exactly the way we need.
In addition, our clients are increasingly demanding dedicated benchmarks for their portfolios: we never know what the next request will be but we are now able to respond immediately with the support of Rimes.”