Published on September 14, 2022 by Shrangana Jain
Consultant databases (CDBs) primarily include online data platforms offered and managed by investment consultants, connecting providers and borrowers of capital. These online databases offer investment management firms a digital lens to showcase their products to the wider investment community, including asset owners and aggregators (pensions, endowments and foundations), asset and wealth managers, insurance firms and government-sponsored entities.
CDB platforms – a key source of institutional intelligence
Asset managers and general partners (GPs) often access the institutional ma
rketplace via CDB platforms. For managers, having a digital presence to showcase their products helps them build a global footprint and attract investors. Institutional investors leverage the data-driven intelligence available from these platforms to conduct investment manager due diligence and for selection and ongoing monitoring.
Digital evolution within the CDB landscape
While many investment consultants have digitalised their approach to data aggregation and analysis over the past decade, a few continue to collate and manage information via manual and traditional formats such as MS Excel and Word. In general, information available on these online CDBs includes quantitative data and qualitative narratives about the investment management firm and the strategies and products it offers. Investment consultants use the data and information gathered to conduct deep analysis and gain meaningful investment insights so investors and advisors can make data-driven decisions, optimise resource allocation and create meaningful outcomes.
Emergence of strategic partners and the need to design a holistic solution
Although asset management marketing and investor relations teams understand that third-party consultants are key to their firms’ success, they often struggle to find the funds needed to invest in consultants. Hence, it is imperative that asset managers design the CDB update process in such a way that they have adequate human involvement for data-quality checks and controls, and use technology to deliver significant speed and efficiency.
A few strategic partners have emerged within this space over the past decade, but not all of them have the deep domain knowledge, access to technology and robust governance framework required to provide bespoke solutions to help asset managers design robust and holistic solutions for CDB services.
Key factors to consider when selecting a CDB service provider
When looking to engage with a strategic service partner, asset managers should closely review key offerings and pedigree of potential service partners to ensure they provide what is required to build a stable and agile platform:
Complete coverage of existing and new databases:
In the event of limited coverage and the CDB service provider not offering both online and offline data submissions, asset managers may be compelled to manually maintain the databases not covered by existing tools or solutions. This could lead to increased manual effort, low data quality, delayed data submission and a higher operational burden.
Methodical approach to ensure sanctity of data uploaded:
Inaccurate and incomplete datasets could lead to limited product visibility; an ideal service partner would build several layers of quality checks and validations into the process to ensure accuracy and completeness.
Heavy lifting and recommending best practices:
An ideal CDB service provider would do the heavy lifting in terms of tasks such as detailed analysis of historical data and recommend developing the most efficient processes. Some use technology to create additional efficiencies, such as making custom data mapping consistent between databases. Support may also include coordinating with the respective database support team to meet requirements.
Format-agnostic approach to source data collection:
Service providers leveraging proprietary technology platforms to deliver CDB solutions should be able to accept source data in any format. This saves significant time otherwise spent on data sourcing, validation and formatting.
Audit of historical data:
In addition to regular monthly and quarterly checks, the service partner should be able to conduct an annual quality check of historical data items to ensure post-production changes are incorporated and missing or incomplete data is sourced.
Other factors that could make a significant difference include smooth and seamless implementation, detailed process documentation, continuous improvements, direct and effective communication, customised dashboards and, above all, a robust approach to governance.
How Acuity Knowledge Partners can help
We are a leading provider of high-value research, analytics and business intelligence to the financial services sector. We support over 400 financial institutions and consulting companies through our specialist workforce of more than 4,000 analysts and delivery experts across our global delivery network
We offer a unique and flexible CDB update solution that leverages our proprietary tool (EDGE) and CDB specialists to manage data inefficiencies and provide quality assurance. Our offering is a managed-services model that deploys a combination of process, people and technology to ensure a seamless CDB update process. For asset managers, this means minimal time spent on this process and hassle-free updates. Our clients have saved 30-50% of costs by adopting this solution. We design bespoke solutions to meet client requirements.
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About the Author
Shrangana is a Consultant database professional with over 14 years of experience in the capital markets services industry. At Acuity Knowledge Partners, she manages functional teams supporting DDQs and Consultant database processes at the keystroke level, and is engaged in implementing efficiency improvements and mentoring. Prior to this, she worked in other organization with Mergers and acquisition division.Shrangana holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Mount Carmel College autonomous, Bangalore India
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