Note from the BISAM Blog Editor, Erika Alter: Summer is here, and intern season is upon us! I’m pleased to introduce BISAM’s Insights intern, Meredith Wade, a rising Junior at Villanova University, who is pursuing a double major in Accounting and Economics. Today, Meredith shares her interview with BISAM’s Head of Data Management, Lisa Conner.
Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Lisa Conner, BISAM’s Head of Data Management. Lisa and I discussed how her perception of data management has changed since her arrival at BISAM just over one year ago. Following BISAM’s acquisition of FinAnalytica earlier this year, Lisa shifted into a more strategic role with a focus on both Performance and Risk data and analytics, and her outlook on data strategy has evolved accordingly. We discussed the future of data management, regulation, and compliance in the financial services industry.
Lisa’s outlook has wholly changed as the market has seen more stringent regulatory standards requiring cleaner data to be used across Wall Street. During the financial crisis, many financial service firms were exposed to just how important and necessary it is to have accurate and trustworthy data. Internal audits, scrupulous regulation and increased compliance checks have upped the stakes for reputational risk in the industry. Lisa believes that the increased regulation has proven to be a positive thing as the quality and accuracy of data is now much improved. “What drives the front office now has to drive the middle and back office as well,” Lisa said. “Data generated by the traders and settlers, or the front office, has to be the same data that is utilized by the middle and back office.”
Data management has become an increasingly paramount position that no longer affects just the back office. Lisa notes that the exponentially growing role gaining ground in the C-suite is the Chief Data Officer (CDO). Chief Data Officers are responsible for creating and maintaining the data strategy throughout the firm. Along with this position comes a responsibility that Lisa notes as the future of data management: data governance. Data governance is the process of gathering data across a firm and creating an infrastructure that forms a set of standards, policies, and rules to ensure consensus on where the data should be sourced, what data items are specifically being used and how to verify that the highest quality of data is being utilized. Creating data governance is an extremely complex process, but it is critical to data utilization across a wide variety of user groups in large global organizations. The growing importance of data governance has led to the evolution of the Chief Data Officer as the process is usually chaired by the CDO. Thanks to the burgeoning “big data” industry, what once was strictly a back or middle office position now affects everyone from the C-Suite to the IT team.
Increased regulatory and compliance standards have created the demand for even more stringent data governance within firms. When asked whether or not she thinks Wall Street could be susceptible to even more regulation of data management in the future, Lisa explained that while the regulation may not be directly related to data management, it would certainly be a byproduct, as data is always at the root of all processes. However, we can possibly expect more regulation when it comes to the consistency and timeliness of data.
The future of data management is largely driven by regulatory standards on Wall Street. As roles like Chief Data Officer start to become progressively more prevalent, we are likely to see the position assume more responsibility. Lisa says that if people today still question the value of data management, they should consider the repercussions for a company whose data managers simply get up and walk away. Data is at the foundation of all organizations, or as Lisa put it, “the data will make you or it will break you.”