Data Management – It isn’t only about “Big Data”

February 13, 2013

Climbing a Pile of Files“Big Data” – in the asset management industry there probably isn’t a day that goes by where you don’t read or see something about it and how you should be addressing. While we fully agree that organizations should have a “Big Data” management strategy, sometimes overlooked are the smaller processes that can be put into place to protect data integrity. If at each step in the data management chain organizations ensure data is clean and accurate, “Big Data” becomes much easier to manage.

A great example of this is the processes around keeping Security Master information clean. The integrity of your security master data is absolutely crucial to keeping your investment accounting database healthy. The security master has a far reaching use and is integral to all parts of your operations. Mistakes and inaccurate data touch areas ranging from: performance and analytics to cash flow projections and client reporting all the way to timeliness of nightly batch processes. Each of these areas have potential to cause upstream problems such as poor investment decisions from bad or late data and/or compliance breeches from trading decisions made on inaccurate information.

A common example of the effects of a poorly maintained security master can be seen in analytical data. Analytical data is used throughout the front, middle and back offices of an asset management organization. The analytics in any accounting system depend on accurate security data. For example, in PORTIA when calculating the yield for a security, the yield function uses logic to determine if the end result is within a pre-calculated range. If the calculated yield is not within the specified tolerance range, PORTIA will use another algorithm to try to calculate a more accurate value. PORTIA will continue iterations of this calculation until it returns the most accurate number. If there is missing security data, like factors, reset dates and rates, and indices, PORTIA will continue to run its analytics in an attempt to get the most accurate number, causing a performance lag. It is easy to see that if this occurs for hundreds of securities, then there will be a significant degradation in processing performance, slowing down when information gets disseminated throughout the organization and potentially yielding incorrect results.

One way to enhance the integrity of the Security Master data is to ensure the people who are responsible for maintaining it are properly trained and corporate processes are put into place. At SS&C PORTIA our Professional Services team offers Security Master File examination where our consultants provide:

  • Audits of clients Security Master data
  • Examination of current state of the Security Master file and associated processes for errors and inconsistencies
  • Recommendations of enhanced processes for adding and updating securities, analyzing security data and resolving existing issues
  • Education on best practices for Security setup and on-going management

The result? Our clients have a deep understanding of what caused inaccuracies in the past and new processes put in place to avoid the problems in the future, reducing the potential for costly errors and enhance reporting deliverables to internal management, regulators and clients.

Security Master data is only one part of the “Big Data” picture but, if organizations looked at each of the smaller pieces, putting best practices procedures into place, maybe “Big Data” wouldn’t look so big.

– Steve Kasabula, Product Manager

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