Back office goldmines
The fund industry's back office has always been a cost center, but at least one company is predicting 2014 is the year that starts to change. "Savvy fund administrators will realize they sit on a goldmine of data that, if extracted quickly and delivered in a consumable format in real time, can help drive sales growth," says Skip Smith, chief operating officer of Pittsburgh-based investment data automation company Confluence. On the one hand, Smith expects back offices to be under pressure in 2014. As more fund companies diversify to offer multiple fund types in multiple domiciles, manual back office processes won't cut the mustard. But firms that invest in automating their back offices to meet their own obligations will find a silver lining. Easy access to the volumes of data that sit in the back office means that data can also be leveraged for competitive advantage. "They will use technology to deliver fact sheets and other data to their middle and front offices faster and more accurately, enabling fund companies to better attract investors and thereby extract real value from the back office," Smith says.