Data transformation in the spotlight

Both asset owners and managers are seeking out ways to obtain trusted information on demand to facilitate better investment decisions, according to Suresh Bhaskaran, Head of Investment Analytics and Data Services APAC, BNP Paribas Securities Services.

Many asset owners and managers are still grappling with the challenge of managing and harmonising data from multiple sources, according to BNP Paribas Securities Services.

Speaking at the Fund Business 5th Investment Data and Technology Summit, Suresh Bhaskaran, Head of Investment Analytics and Data Services APAC, BNP Paribas Securities Services, said fragmented data silos mean many organisations are still struggling to get a ‘whole-of-portfolio’ view to extract the true value of data they already have.

“This can impact the organisation’s ability to make decisions in a quick and agile manner – and can add to costs.

“It also makes data governance and risk controls much harder to manage and that complexity is also impacting a lot of organisations,” he said.

Running a successful data project

For organisations looking to kick off a new data programme of work, Mr Bhaskaran offered a number of tips for success.

“Start with the ‘what’. What is the business problem you are trying to solve? Ensure you have business stakeholders aligned on the problem statement and seek executive level sponsorship to drive change. People are at the heart of all change and it’s critically important to ensure they support you during the change journey,” he said.

Mr Bhaskaran also recommended investing in data architecture and governance frameworks along with operating models that support the vision and data strategy of the organisation.

“Requests from regulators such as APRA are coming more frequently and the time to respond is getting shorter. There is an expectation now that organisations should be able to turn around requests quickly, and this will always continue to be a challenge if your data is not managed and governed well.

“Therefore, it is important to view data as an asset that needs to be managed just like any other asset. Volumes of data will continue to grow and it’s critically important to ensure your organisation has the right strategy in place to draw value from it.”

Another key component of a sound data strategy is data governance. An enterprise-wide data governance framework, which includes policies and procedures, tools, common taxonomies and terminology, will help to uplift the data literacy of the whole organisation, so people become more curious with data.

“We talk about front, middle and back office, but it is crucial that we eliminate data silos to truly be able to extract value from data we already have,” Mr Bhaskaran said.

Finding the right partners

Organisations must also align with the right technology partners when kicking off a data project.

“This is becoming more challenging as there are now thousands of IT vendors and data service providers in the market, from larger players down to fintechs,” Mr Bhaskaran said.

“When researching the right partners, have clear objectives, look at how your operating model should work so your intellectual property is protected and leverage market vendors. Also leverage your networks – we all have similar issues we are trying to solve, so reach out to colleagues and contacts and ask about their experiences.”

Engage the experts

As data becomes both more available and more difficult to manage, BNP Paribas has been continually investing in ways to helps its clients, playing the role of a ‘connector’.

Investing in Data as a Service (DaaS) has enabled the business to offer clients a whole-of-fund view of the data across all of its providers, both public and private. This is a global service which is currently in production with a large Australia-based asset owner client.

“With our DaaS product, the problem we are trying to solve is being able to reconcile and aggregate data from multiple sources, standardise it, master it, apply data quality and effectively manage the data lifecycle from the beginning through to point of consumption.

“The value proposition of the product is to provide our clients with both the technology and service to manage the complexity of their data management lifecycle, and to greatly improve the speed and quality of how investment data can then be used across the organisation to make investment decisions,” Mr Bhaskaran said.

BNP Paribas also has a number of projects running under the Digital Transformation Programme of work, looking at innovative ways to improve its client value proposition.

“These include initiatives that use robotic process automation, classification tools, document management solutions and workflow tools. All of these tools produce or require data and in most cases both,” he said.

In summarising, Mr Bhaskaran said data projects were likely to play an even greater role in digital transformation in the future.

“Whether you are an asset owner or manager, you want the same thing from your data – trusted information when you need it and insights that support better outcomes for the business and its clients,” he concluded.


BNP Paribas Securities Services is incorporated in France as a partnership limited by shares and is authorised and supervised by the European Central Bank (ECB), the ACPR (Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution) and the AMF (Autorité des Marchés Financiers). 

BNP Paribas Securities Services ARBN 149 440 291 (AFSL No: 402467) is registered in Australia as a foreign company under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and is a foreign ADI within the meaning of the Banking Act 1959 (Cth).

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