What is the biggest competitor to fund administration software vendors like us (indeed, much of the financial services IT space)?
Why? Excel is cheap. The software has been tried and tested by millions of users over multiple decades. It’s commonplace, so staff know how to use it. There’s a degree of flexibility in what it can do.
In other words, a seemingly ideal platform for fund administration providers starting out and with limited budget.
Excel’s false economies
Unfortunately, and we see this all the time, the limitations soon become apparent.
Excel depends heavily on manual intervention, whether it’s setting up the formulas or inputting data each day. Data must be double-checked in case of errors. Lack of seamless integration to other systems means data often has to be re-keyed – boring, time-consuming tasks where mistakes and oversights can easily creep in, bringing untold risk.
All that money and more that firms thought they were saving by using spreadsheets gets eaten up in headcount and remediation instead.
Data also ends up in siloes, where it lacks robust governance and control.
Report quality and timeliness – ever more important criteria for investment managers and their end-investors – is substandard. And it is tough to deliver the report personalisation clients want to see.
The lack of scalability means administrators can’t take on new clients or expand into different business areas efficiently either – bringing extra expense for every additional client that comes onboard, along with significant opportunity cost from the lost growth potential.
How fund admins benefit from the right software
Dedicated software solutions specifically designed for the fund administration industry offer a powerful alternative.
Automating data entry to the investor register eliminates the onus on manual input and improves data accuracy, making shareholder registry recording and maintenance more efficient.
NAV creation is an increasingly time-critical task in investor servicing. Modern tools for profit and loss allocation, fee calculation and NAV generation allow for more accurate valuations and faster investor reporting, helping boost client satisfaction.
Complex fee calculations pose a particular challenge. Spreadsheet-based processes require significant time and effort, and add risk to the valuation process. Having proper systematic control provides firms with accuracy and consistency.
Controls, processing efficiencies and cross-team collaboration can be further enhanced with workflow-enabled business processing and document management capabilities. Automated and integrated workflows allow recurring tasks to be configured and assigned to the most appropriate place, minimising errors and bottlenecks. Task activity and status become transparent, while managing and allocating activities across global teams is made far easier.
Client, regulatory and management reporting all benefit too. To meet the growing demand for custom reports, firms often resort to offline processing, which compromises the accuracy and consistency of delivery to end-users. Systems with an extensive library of standard and customisable reports make it easy to create and distribute reports tailored to the needs of different stakeholders. Client satisfaction and engagement increase, while operations teams enjoy more efficient, scalable processes.
Plus investor servicing systems with the in-built functionality to support all types of fund complexes enable users to adopt a single operating model across their entire enterprise, allowing firms to generate consolidated reporting and provide a unified client experience.
Tips for a successful system migration
The benefits of a dedicated platform are compelling. But another problem often rears its head – Excel can get so engrained in fund administrators’ operations that firms become scared of moving off it in case their processes fall over. Easier to stick with the devil you know, right?!
Which is where migration expertise comes into play.
Data must be mapped and moved. Up and downstream systems integrated. Users habituated to the new platform.
Making system migrations successful demands professional project management. Stakeholders need to be identified, tasks broken down and ownership assigned to an appropriate person. A project plan must be in place for every stage and eventuality, with RAID logs to track risks, actions, issues and decisions.
Choosing a modern application architecture with sophisticated APIs eases the infrastructure integration. Software providers that can draw on expert consultants who understand the data, and have a track record in successful migration projects, can then lead administrators through the migration to make it as smooth as possible.
At the other end lies enhanced client service, operational efficiency and scalability, transparency and security. It’s what your business – and clients – deserve.
ABOUT DEEP POOL
Deep Pool is the #1 investor servicing and compliance solutions supplier, providing cutting-edge software and consulting services to the world’s leading fund administrators and asset managers. Our flexible solution suite, developed by an experienced team of accountants, business analysts and software engineers, supports offshore and onshore hedge funds, partnerships, private equity vehicles, retail funds and regulated financial firms. Deep Pool is a global organisation with offices in Dublin, Ireland, the United States, the Cayman Islands and Slovakia. For more information, visit: www.deep-pool.com.