Waters speaks with Alessandro Ferrari, senior vice president of global marketing at Rimes Technologies, about the company winning the best data provider to the buy side category in the annual Buy-Side Technology Awards for the past seven straight years, data governance on the buy side, and effective ways to control information. Interview by James Rundle
What are the challenges your clients are facing at present when it comes to data?
Clients that come to Rimes normally face two kinds of challenges: ongoing data-processing challenges, such as data sourcing, customization and blending, normalization and validation; and scripting in order to work with a whole host of third-party and/or in-house solutions. Most recently, a key area has been data governance requirements coming from the regulators. Our solutions take care of all those challenges.
Rimes has recently released its data governance handbook, based on extensive research over the past few years. Why has this become such a crucial area for buy-side firms?
The effective and efficient management of index and benchmark data has become a key operational challenge for the buy side worldwide. Yet our research shows that there is a lack of awareness of market practice. There are increasing concerns over the complexity, volume and rising cost of benchmark provision. These are focusing efforts on how to ensure there is a balance between service quality and cost control, and that benchmark data is being used in accordance with the licensing agreements. Additionally, the buy side is feeling the pressure from an increasing regulatory focus on the quality of data used to support key processes and reporting, and the overall control environment. In combination, these factors are forcing managers to review their approach to managing data. The Rimes Data Governance—Best Practice Handbook addresses all of these factors.
Rimes Technologies has won this category of the Buy-Side Technology Awards for the past seven straight years. Why do you think this is?
We’re of course going to sound biased, but we offer a truly, fully managed service, from the moment a client requests a specific database, where we’ll go and get it just for them, even if none of our other clients need it; to their requirements for data validation, where our validations are 100 percent ad-hoc as standard, based on what the client needs; to their needs for scripting those data feeds to work with their specific solutions. We currently feed around 30 third-party data management, risk, performance, and compliance solutions, in addition to many in-house systems, and not one feed customization from Rimes is alike. Recent regulatory requirements add another layer of complexity to this, which is taken care of by our newest Data Governance Service.
What can we expect from you in the coming year?
We’re going to continue to stay on course and provide our clients with a managed data service that takes care of all their data requirements. We’ll also continue to monitor our space for new data governance requirements coming from the regulators on behalf of our clients, so that they can focus on running their core operations.
In your view, what are the areas that your clients should be focused on in 2014?
We published the Best Practice Handbook to provide the buy side with a step-by-step guide to help them improve their benchmark management capabilities, through building a robust structure for data governance. It lists three specific actions that we recommend taking. The first is taking stock of where you are, the second is getting control of your data and processes, and the third stage is moving forward to build governance into everyday procedures.
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