Corporate Actions special report


August 2015 -- sponsored by AIM Software, SunGard and Thomson Reuters

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Simply About Methods

Questions in this special report, probing about increased complexity of corporate actions, provoked responses about digitizing these instruments at the source, as they are generated. Citi's John Kirkpatrick, an advocate of the practice, says in our Q&A that custodians must read, translate and consolidate information before publishing it to clients.

JP Morgan's Kerry White tells us in this report's Virtual Roundtable that digitization may only be as good as the source data that is used. "The problem is not rooted in technology, as institutions including DTCC and Swift already demonstrate technical ability," she says. "Converting analog and free-form data to digital form is an even bigger challenge with complex corporate actions." Global standards compelling issuers to format corporate actions consistently will be need to cut the risk of many digitizing the same data but getting different outcomes, she adds.

How should the industry then go about digitizing data at its source and using consistent messaging standards? AIM Software's Ben Hopcroft says a more "pragmatic" method is to combine people's knowledge with automation technology to process "pre-event activities" for greater volumes of corporate actions events. SunGard's Brendan Farrell reflects this idea, saying that keeping up with the changes in corporate actions events requires significant "continual modifications" to internal systems.

If a global corporate actions processing utility is not a possibility, adds Farrell, at least more customers can look to service providers to manage their corporate actions processes. Stuart Martin of Thomson Reuters points to creation of a golden copy as an effective way to address greater complexity in corporate actions. The industry's overall response appears to still be a work in progress, making for interesting changes to follow.

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