Independent broker-dealers (IBDs) and wealth managers continue to face challenges with aggregating, normalizing and accessing data to meet a host of crucial operations and compliance requirements. Home offices and advisors must be able to access high-quality data every day, from anywhere, to do their jobs quickly, effectively and accurately.
Three key data management challenges are threatening firms’ ability to grow, profit and retain the best reps. The solution? A rich, fast and high-quality data source that reduces the burden on internal teams while adding speed and efficiency to the entire process.
Challenge #1: Access to Aggregated, Normalized Data
Most firms require and receive data on a regular basis from different sources through a variety of methods such as files, statements and websites. The process is not as straight-forward and seamless as it should be, leading to two main issues:
- A significant amount of data is stored in silos, making it difficult to aggregate, access and share it with various business operations functions or platforms.
- Industry data tends to arrive in multiple formats and at relatively low-quality, leading to struggles in detecting errors, normalizing, and delivering it into workflows and to end users.
This often results in delays that ultimately hold up other critical workflows, reporting requirements, and other processes throughout the firm.
Challenge #2: Manual, Error-Prone Data Loading
Adding to the problem of data isolation, access and sharing are the speed and integrity of loading normalized data into a central repository that can be accurately maintained, used and distributed efficiently. Firms typically require data from numerous sources including PDF statements and other media outside of electronic file delivery. The process of loading data is often slow, expensive and error-prone due to manual effort involving multiple steps to collect, aggregate and normalize it.
From our experience, a mid-sized firm spends many hours per day processing and normalizing data manually. That could mean losing an entire day of staff time before being able to use client data. Along the way, the probability of data errors increases significantly due to the extent of human intervention, missing files, and the inability to identify erroneous or duplicated data.
By the time the data is loaded, normalized and ready for consumption, it may be out of date and unusable. Such delays and errors can easily lead to increased operational and compliance risk.
Challenge #3: High Technical Consulting Costs
Firms seeking technical help with their data aggregation process often turn to designing a customized solution by hiring consultants or contractors who may not understand their industry, workflows and business needs. This can lead to long, expensive projects that may not solve the core problem in the short term or even over time.
As the firm evolves and grows, bringing in new data sources or modifying workflows will likely increase consulting/contractor costs. It could even incur even more risk if the technical knowledge resides with one or a few individuals who may not be available to provide continuity of service.
The Solution: End-to-End Data Management
Sycamore offers a cost-effective, end-to-end data aggregation service that delivers clean data to your firm each morning to drive your mission-critical operations and compliance. By automating the entire data management process – from file retrieval from all possible sources to loading, status reporting, normalization and storage – Sycamore Data Hub eliminates manual effort and the opportunity for erroneous data to enter operational processes.
What used to take hours now takes minutes, while alleviating your internal teams from precious hours of work every day. Sycamore brings in data from various industry sources in a standardized format, and uploads it to the secure Salesforce cloud for the firm to use to drive multiple operations processes such as supervising and compensating advisors, conducting trade surveillance, and analyzing key business activities, trends and forecasts.
With ultra-fast aggregation, normalization, and secure storage of the most current and accurate data possible, operations teams and advisors can now do their work with the utmost precision and efficiency.
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