Empowering Your Data Platform with a Security Master

April 24, 2024
Read Time: 6 minutes
Financial Data Stack

When investment managers are forced to prioritize decisions between the front and back office, the tipping point often comes down to the income-generating potential of the front office.

What if firms began to assess their front- and back-office priorities through a new lens?

When stakes are high and regulations stringent, a well-designed data platform is not just a competitive advantage but a necessity. As data volumes and complexity continue to grow, so do the challenges of ensuring accuracy, security, and accessibility. For asset managers looking to optimize the time to value of their data initiatives, investing in a robust data strategy is essentially investing in the success of the front office.

In an era defined by data-driven decisions, your front-office teams need easy access to centralized investment and reference data. A security master that captures essential information, such as industry classifications and ratings data, helps streamline data management processes and enhances data quality and accuracy. A robust security master also improves operational efficiency and enhances front-office analysis and decision-making.

Equipping your professionals with synchronized investment data empowers front-office teams to access information crucial to their roles, meet reporting requirements, and foster a data-driven culture.

RELATED READING: Build, Buy, Partner: A Framework for Optimizing Time to Value for Data Initiatives

What is a security master?

A proper security master — sometimes informally referred to as a sec master — is a centralized repository of investment instrument data that provides a comprehensive view of all securities of interest. While each functional system will have its own “mini” security master, holding only the specific attributes the system needs, a centralized security master serves as the golden source for security-related data. The centralized sec master encompasses all attributes such as security identifiers, industry classifications, accrual data, payment frequencies, and more. This will then sync to the other security masters, ensuring everyone is working off the same information.

Asset managers may need to master instruments such as equities, derivatives, bonds, currencies, interest rates, equity options, mutual funds, indices, and credit securities. This requires multiple data models often supported by numerous best-in-class systems. A cohesive, centralized solution to properly manage various data from diverse sources lets your organization improve operational processes, optimize resources, and reduce costs often associated with duplicating efforts.

Because data accuracy is crucial for business success, your teams need continuous access to their information, especially when reliable, precise data is necessary for their role. A powerful and well-integrated security master enables seamless access to data from all upstream and downstream systems and gives users across roles such as trading, risk assessment, and finance a single source of truth for your firm’s reference data.

The importance of centralizing investment securities and reference data

The need for centralized investment and reference data has never been greater in the financial markets, where transactions occur in milliseconds. Traditionally, financial firms have relied on disparate data sources and manual processes to manage their data, resulting in inefficiencies, errors, and compliance challenges.

Key benefits:

  • Operational flexibility and efficiency
  • Managing data in silos can lead to redundant efforts and inefficiencies. By centralizing data management, you streamline processes, enable faster access to information, and reduce time and resources spent on data reconciliation and maintenance. Your security master solution should be able to accommodate the growing volume and complexity of your data with features such as low- and no-code integration capabilities that let users easily add new data sources and comprehensive search parameters so that teams can easily search for securities using any attribute. You’ll also want to ensure your sec master can support user-defined fields that encompass the full requirements of your systems and professionals.
  • Seamless data integration
  • By consolidating data from various sources into a single repository, asset managers ensure consistent, accurate, and timely data across their entire ecosystem. This reduces the risk of discrepancies and improves the quality of reporting and analysis. Established connectivity with multiple data providers also lets you systematically ingest securities data at preconfigured frequencies or on demand.
  • Data governance and quality
  • Proper data governance is essential for ensuring quality, integrity, and security. The solution should provide robust data governance capabilities, including access controls, data lineage tracking, and audit trails to enforce compliance with regulatory requirements and internal policies. An organization-wide golden copy will also help to eliminate data redundancy, minimize errors, and reduce operational risks.
  • Consistency and accuracy
  • Timely access to accurate data is crucial for making informed investment decisions. By centralizing investment securities and reference data, front-office teams enhance analytics capabilities, gain deeper insights into market trends, and respond more effectively to changing market conditions.

RELATED READING: Transforming Investment Management: The Urgency to Modernize Platforms

How to implement a security master solution

Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario where an investment firm is looking to centralize its investment securities and reference data to enhance operational efficiency. The implementation process involves several key steps:

  • Requirements gathering
  • Collaborate with your vendor to define your data requirements, including security attributes, data sources, integration points, and reporting needs.
  • Platform configuration
  • Once you identify data requirements, your partner will configure the security master to your specifications, including data model customization, integration with existing systems, and access controls with role-based permissions.
  • Data migration and validation
  • At this stage, your partner will begin migrating historical data from your legacy systems to the security master. Your partner will also perform data integrity checks to ensure the migration is accurate and consistent between the existing and new platform.
  • User training and adoption
  • Once data is migrated, your teams will receive comprehensive training, including data entry, updates, and reporting capabilities. This is also the phase where your users can provide feedback on areas for improvement and optimization.
  • Ongoing support and maintenance
  • At the last stage, your partner will begin providing ongoing support and maintenance to address any issues or enhancements required post-implementation, regularly applying updates and patches to ensure security and performance.

Why your tech stack needs a security master

In an age of data-driven decision-making and stringent regulatory obligations where teams are being asked to do more with less, your front office demands seamless access to unified data. A centralized security master establishes and maintains a unified repository of security data, terms & conditions, and asset-level attributes, ensuring validity and trustworthiness. The reference data repository also lets your teams maximize operational efficiency and reduce risk by implementing automation and quality controls.

What to look for in a security master

A security master that captures crucial details like identifiers, ratings, classifications, and other metrics, such as Greeks and liquidity scores, streamlines data management processes and enhances data quality and precision, ultimately boosting operational efficiency. Your systems should simplify access management through role-based permissions and facilitate administration and governance of both system-based and manual data changes. Lastly, you’ll want a security master that can quickly generate reporting and analysis with a bitemporal data model, storing effective dates and knowledge dates for every instrument attribute for a comprehensive audit trail.

Empower your front-office teams

By arming your professionals with a synchronized source of investment data, you empower front-office teams to access vital information for the unique data demands of their role. A security master that lets you flexibly customize options and tailor the platform to your preferences will be particularly pertinent in allowing your front-to-back teams to manage the complete investment instrument lifecycle.

Implementing a comprehensive data management solution that delivers a golden source of information empowers your teams — from the front office to the back — to meet the evolving demands of today’s modern financial landscape.

To learn more about the benefits of a security master, read our article on Organizing Your Securities Data with a Security Master.

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Rochelle GlazmanHead of Product Marketing

Rochelle, Head of Product Marketing, is responsible for enabling go-to-market and growth strategies across sales, marketing, product, and client engagement. Before taking on this role, Rochelle was a Senior Pre-Sales Consultant, engaging with clients and prospects across the financial services industry. Prior to joining Arcesium, Rochelle spent over five years at BlackRock Aladdin servicing institutional asset managers and leading several implementation projects across North and South America. She graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in economics.

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