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5 Takeaways from Adminovate 2020

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Now in its third year, the Adminovate conference, at Trinity College Dublin, aims to create the inspiration for innovation in the Fund Administration. 

The day-long forum this year focused on familiar topics such as operating strategies, the future of data management, and digital transformation, as well as asking what’s ahead for the fund industry in 2020.

The event is highly regarded, with a wide variety of panelists from leading firms such as Mercer, PwC, Sanne, MontLake, Broadridge, Man Group, Grant Thornton, Deloitte, Citi, State Street, HSBC and MUFG. Aside from being a day full of insight and education, the conference offers an opportunity for those in the industry to catch-up in the new year and reflect on some of the major topics in their industry. 

Here are our top five takeaways from the event.

1. Demonstrating substance

Post CP86, demonstrating substance for super ManCos has increasingly become the focus of the thematic reviews by the Central Bank of Ireland. 

A focus of the “Operating Strategies – optimising the people and technology” panel, was how to demonstrate substance across all six functions of a ManCo. Technology can help here, particularly when it comes to auditing and control requirements. In addition, automated workflow can help with tracking key procedures and providing evidence of operational oversight.

2. Data as a Service (DaaS) to gain traction

Increasingly, managers and asset service providers require self-service access to their data.

As Broadridge’s Gerard Gilsenan explained, service providers are moving toward a motto of “Your Data, Your Way”.

That’s likely to prove a boon for data as a service (DaaS) providers, too, with the Adminovate panel (Moderator: Gerard Gilsenan, Broadridge with Jason Bingham-Sanne, Paddy Governey- MontLake and Karoline Keane-Man Group) predicting a rise in data specialist firms that can offer flexibility in how fund data is accessed, managed, controlled and reported. 

3. Successful outsourcing

Outsourcing has become core to the operations strategy of regulated firms. But this brings with it third party and vendor risks which need to be managed. So, what’s the key to success when selecting an outsourcing partner? Some panelists suggested choosing a partner where the outsourced task is core business or area of expertise of the third party- rather than an additional add-on.

The important thing to remember with outsourcing is that firms should experience even better outcomes than if they were performing the function in-house. That should be the value-add that vendors can offer

4. Diversity and third parties

Diversity of viewpoints, including an independent outsourcing partner, can help when it comes to grey areas or best practice. Oftentimes third parties will have a wider industry viewpoint, particularly if they are working across jurisdiction and across regulations. This gives your firm access to a diversity of views and best practices, which is core to the spirit of the regulation. 

5. Innovation and buy-in

The forum also highlighted a number of innovation success stories. 

On the successful projects panel, panelists gave examples of innovation within their own companies, with Rémy Astié from VAUBAN stating he takes inspiration from the retail sector, rather than the funds industry when brainstorming innovation. 

Finally, a recurring theme throughout the day was that nothing can be achieved without energy and buy-in from key stakeholders. 

Keynote speaker Kevin McStay reminded the audience of a quote from 17th-century author Thomas Fuller “If you command wisely, you’ll be obeyed cheerfully”. Team involvement from the outset, particularly in the decision-making process, is crucial in order to avoid resistance. Transformation is not a task to do, he said, it’s a mindset. 

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