Pointers For An Easier Quarter Investment Data Load

There is a difference between quarterly datasets and monthly datasets. Quarterly reports are much more detailed in that they tell us what was done, who invests in the portfolio, and who manages the portfolio. However, we also highly recommend using your data warehouse and automation of data distribution to also be monthly. Every investor wants to know your most current performance on a timely, monthly basis.

But why are quarterly datasets so important?

Investors and analysts rely solely on your quarterly reports to help gauge the health of your company. The reporting provides insight into your strategy’s performance over a given period—the statistics regarding each holding and each investor give an understanding of the success of your firm and your investment strategies.

There are features common to most quarterly reports, although what's included in the report may vary among companies who brand themselves through their data. The vital quantitative information covers multiple data types or datasets including Firm/Product AUM, Firm/Product Personnel, Vehicle Portfolio Characteristics, Vehicle Holdings, and of course, Performance. Certainly, there are many other datasets that should also be updated and reviewed frequently such as Fees, Bios, and Narratives. Some may call these static fields, but we assure you that with any data, nothing is static anymore.

What’s involved in quarterly reporting?

Quantitative datasets (AUM, Characteristics, Holdings, Performance, and Personnel) need to be updated for transparency as they are used in the assessment of your firm by current and potential customers. When working with APX Stream, the asset manager submits current data to their Data Vault via APX Stream templates, client custom-coded templates, or API connectivity. Once in the data warehouse, the data is verified for outlier data (or errors), and then the data is distributed to all applicable destinations (investment databases, collateral companies, due diligence questionnaires, etc.). Data is then reconciled to ensure it is transferred correctly to the destination(s) the way you want it distributed and positioned. The APX Data Vault automation process has the capacity to run any necessary standard or custom coding throughout the upload and distribution phases, including reconciliation.

Keep in mind your marketing strategy will help determine the timeliness and frequency of your distribution. Any firm or product narrative should be reviewed as often as possible to check for updates in the strategy, such as ESG, D&I, bios, fees, etc.

What data do you publish?

That’s a strategy question reliant on your marketing and branding. But what we do know is that some of these databases are publicly accessed which also means that many of your competitors are looking at your data very closely for the purpose of competing with and winning against you. Careful publication of data in public databases is warranted. In private databases where data is not being sold but rather being used, the transparency can be even greater. What you don’t want to do is equip your competitors to take your AUM. What you should be doing with your data marketing and branding is attracting new investors to your strategy. Wouldn’t you like to receive an unsolicited inquiry into your firm? What would they have left to ask if you have answered all their questions already? So, you need to be choosy about what and where you publish your data.

How can quarter loads become easier for you?

What does ‘easier’ mean? Well, when you have ONE place to manage all your data, our clients find it easier to focus solely on the assembly process with the automation performing both the distribution to all places needed and the verification of data integrity within those destinations. Automation makes distribution and reconciliation happen in minutes rather than weeks.

We want to stress how timeliness is of utmost importance during quarter loads. The most important guideline in timeliness is to have all your quarterly data updated in MONTH 1 of the quarter. It is quite taxing on the manager to carry on into MONTH 2 when month 2 already has a new update required.

Generally, this schedule can be used as a guideline for your quarterly data submissions:

Performance: Business Day 5
Holdings: Business Day 10
AUM & Portfolio characteristics: Business Day 12
Personnel: Business Day 15 (We offer a rollover feature—ask us!)

Investors and analysts alike prefer a reliable, timely published asset manager with whom to invest. The moment an investor has to hunt down data from a manager is when they earnestly begin to search for a better option. It’s not simply a better-performing manager, but also a better-published manager. This data assessment process is serious to the investor. Due diligence is the key to continuing investing or making a change.

If you can submit your data on a timely schedule, this ensures the reliability of your firm to the investors. Of course, your internal strategies, disclosures, etc. must be kept in mind when it comes to the completeness of data prepared and intentional lag times. For instance, some firms choose to retain their Holdings data for 30 days so their competitors cannot mimic their strategy.

With the quarterly load just around the corner, we thought now would be a suitable time to share some insights and best practices on how you can relieve some vexation during this process.

This is what our senior data analysts had to say regarding quarter loads in a brief Q&A. You’ll notice there is synchronicity in their thoughts.

Q: What are your thoughts on how asset managers could make their life easier during the quarter loads?

A: The earlier they assemble the data, the better so that they can distribute it to the databases before all deadlines.

A: Consistency in data and methods in assembly (templates, timing, and field lists) is best. Changes in methods are always occurring in this evolving landscape, but that’s best managed in months 2-3 of every quarter, where preparation can accommodate these modifications.

A: APX Stream now offers rollover features of previous quarter data saving your vault administrators many hours. If you don’t see any changes in personnel, narratives, fees, bios, etc., roll these over in month 3 and get started on the quarterly update early. Then, record into your logs that your firm reviewed these datasets which can be easily ignored and can go stale if not refreshed and checked.

A: Using pre-coded templates for all datasets is the best way for the asset managers to have their data migrate automatically, which also means instant distribution to the database platforms.

A: Automation! Allow us to view your accounting software outputs for guidance on how to best automate your assembly. Let APX Stream connect to all the raw data sources your firm receives.

Q: What are some best practices you’d suggest?

A: The new self-launch feature takes the distribution and reconciliation from days to minutes. The managers using this new software now have the ultimate control and authority over the data and their brand.

A: The new independent reconciliation software brings data integrity straight to your workstation in an easy-to-use interface. Any period, any dataset, any database, anytime. That’s the ultimate control and authority over data compliance.

A: If your team does anything internally first with the data, consult with your APX Stream data analyst to automate your activities in the assembly process. Countless hours are saved this way and many errors are avoided.

A: Ensuring accurate data ahead of time will reduce the likelihood of having to restate the data—lessening the chance of having to distribute and check the data twice. We’ve debated many times that no data is better than bad or unreliable data.

A: Believe it or not, the naming convention of the assembled and uploaded files makes a big difference in the tracking of the correct source file within the data warehouse. We can help through our long history of data forensics on how to save you a lot of time by efficient organization.

A: Eliminate as much Copy and Paste (thus possible error) as possible. Code your accounting software system outputs to fit a preset format, which captures all data the databases request on a monthly/quarterly basis.

Q: How will these suggestions benefit the asset managers and their team(s)?

A: You will have time to be more thoughtful about your data and brand strategy.

A: Less stress from looming database deadlines and knowing that your data is distributed and reconciled as soon as it has been assembled in the warehouse.

A: Save time later when uploading and migrating data so you can spend more time reconciling it to make sure it is accurate and has landed in the database(s) or destination(s) you’ve outlined properly.

A: Following these suggestions will prevent inaccurate data distribution in the database platforms.

In the end…

Be reminded that investors and analysts rely solely on your reporting to help gauge the health of your company. When providing data, the timeliness of submitting data is of utmost importance. When your data is submitted on time either monthly and/or quarterly it has a domino effect: the data is distributed faster to the databases which means you’ll have searches of your firm sooner which means an increased chance of more clients which means you increase your AUM! And that, my friend, is the goal!