Client reporting is a corner of asset management that has remained largely untouched by technological transformation in the last few years. However, in the last year, developments have emerged that promise a different future. We predict three trends that will become everyday facets of the client reporting process by 2030.
API data access
Increasingly, we hear that certain types of investors are asking for direct access to their asset manager’s data through web-enabled application program interfaces (APIs). These connections allow consultants, distributors and institutions to pull data directly from managers on demand.
Cloud-based platforms such as Salesforce have normalized the use of these connections over the last ten years. Tools such as Microsoft Power BI make connecting to these APIs straightforward, enabling powerful aggregation and manipulation of the data.
Digital reporting portals
In addition to the traditional print reporting process, an increasing number of firms will provide a digital reporting portal to clients. These portals are more than just a place to pull reports – they can provide full historical access to data and ‘what-if’ interrogation – for example, ‘does my portfolio hold fossil fuels?’ Some also offer transaction capabilities.
This results in greater client satisfaction and fewer ad hoc requests to the reporting team. The benefits to both parties make this a case of ‘when, not if’ they become more mainstream.
Greater agility in reporting teams
Client demands for bespoke reporting seem will continue, so the above two trends will not replace existing processes but rather augment the toolset. Consequently, reporting teams need more agility in how they deliver, as managers seek to win more mandates.
Much of the commercial technology in use today was built in a pre-cloud era, and is unwieldy and inflexible.
The demand for greater agility will force retooling. There is space for a new breed of tools that consolidate and improve the process, and enable client reporting teams to do more with the same resource.
Key Drivers of Change
While the above trends have their own momentum, several secular themes are propelling them forward and may expedite their arrival.
The first is the huge trend towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing. Some say the wave of ESG has not yet hit reporting teams, but most agree it looms large. We see many managers preparing for investor demand to access to their sustainability data and research. The sheer volume and complexity of this data make print reporting an unsuitable medium in most cases. Digital tools offer the capacity and flexibility to report on it effectively.
The next theme is the general increase in demand for investor data. Pre and post investment, investors are demanding more and faster access to their asset manager’s data. As entrepreneur Clive Humby said in 2006, data is the new oil. Asset allocators now expect real-time access to this critical resource. As more managers acquiesce, others will feel pressure to do the same.
Another theme propelling these reporting trends is cost. Across the asset management industry, driving down incremental business costs and preparing for scale are top priorities. In client reporting, we see managers looking to segment their client base to provide equivalent service levels at lower cost ratios. Specifically, we see managers trying to service their less cost-effective clients through a digital channel in a ‘one and done’ fashion, while providing their top-tier clients with the traditional bespoke service.
Changing perception of reporting tools
Kurtosys’ technology is well placed to help asset managers meet the challenges thrown up by these reporting trends and reap the benefits. Several of our clients already use our solution to assist their reporting activities, helping them gain operational efficiency and new asset flows.
Through Kurtosys Communities, our clients are building engaging digital reporting portals. Kurtosys Data APIs, with their integrated entitlement features, are being shared with a variety of constituents.
Finally, Kurtosys Studio for Office is changing the perception of client reporting tools, removing complexity and making the report building experience as productive as possible.
Momentous changes are taking place across the investment industry, reflecting the re-alignment of capital to environmental and social good. We interviewed a range of senior market participants from well-known firms to understand the current intersection between ESG data and technology and its future direction. Download our white paper to find out more.
Global Head of Sales & Product