Head of Eagle Solutions, EMEA/APAC
Eagle Investment Systems
Hong Kong 2017 brings TSAM to the APAC region for the first time. How do the challenges of your asset management clients in the region compare to that in EMEA?
There are a lot of investment organisations in APAC that until fairly recently have been ableto meet their investment and operational data needs using Excel, relying on manual processes and adding headcount where necessary as the business has grown. As employment costs have risen and firms have recognised the need to automate to achieve efficiencies, those methods are no longer feasible. Instead of looking to buy a solution – as EMEA firms did when they moved off spread sheets – firms in Asia are turning straight towards managed services. Firms in EMEA are also looking to adopt managed services, but they typically have an added layer of complexity to contend with as the result of their legacy systems. Asian firms don’t tend to have this baggage and so can take advantage of state of the art managed service solutions with greater ease.
Which industry trends do you think are currently having the most significant impact on the operations and development of the asset management industry in the APAC region?
One of the biggest trends from an operational perspective – and this is a theme globally – is achieving scale. Larger firms are getting bigger and a key element of these strategies is the ability to achieve greater operational efficiency. Firms that have a solid data management platform are better positioned to achieve these efficiencies and are able to realise the benefits more quickly. In APAC we’re seeing firms scale through rapid asset growth and an extension of their investment strategies and as a result there’s a greater need to adopt thesame tools and solutions as their counterparts in Europe and North America.
How have you seen the demand for managed services develop in recent years in the region?
We’re seeing a huge demand for managed services from Asian asset managers and asset owners. As I said before, many firms in APAC that are looking for new technology solutions are skipping the ‘buy a solution’ phase and jumping straight to buying a managed service.
We’ve seen the evolution of the data warehouse, governance, lakes and more… what do you believe is the next significant step for the continued development of investment data management?
I think it’s the integration of data lakes with existing data management systems. Both have their place and an important role to play in the investment process and will be used for the things that they’re individually good at. The traditional relational data sources will continue to form the foundation of many of the accounting, reporting and decision-making processes while data lakes will take on more of the unstructured and ad hoc data storage that can be tapped as and when required. So it’s a case of creating this hybrid environment where structured and unstructured data meet. That’s the next iteration of data management systems.
At TSAM Hong Kong, you moderated a panel discussion titled “How is the Role of Technology, Operational and Data Leaders Changing?” What did you gauge from your industry peers on this panel, and what is your perspective on how these roles are changing?
One thing that struck me is that these leaders are assuming a more central and critical role within organisations as they transform. Because they know the data and how to make it more efficient, they’re being given more and more responsibility to help transform the entire business, not just the operations.