Investors can only make timely, high-quality decisions if they learn about key events as they happen. This global asset manager had access to all the news and company reports it needed – but merging the data and channelling it to the right decision-makers was proving a challenge. To help them, we used a combination of automation and process redesign to improve both speed and information quality, freeing up analysts’ time and improving the quality of portfolio managers’ decisions too.
The client, a leading asset manager, tracked news on all the companies in its portfolios on a daily basis. This allowed it to identify key events quickly and make timely investment decisions.
However, this news originated from multiple sources, so it had to be manually collated and filtered. Once created, the aggregate news flow also had to be formatted according to the client’s brand guidelines and published in a daily newsletter. Overall, the process was cumbersome, inaccurate and slow.
The asset manager also tracked the financial performance of its portfolio firms on a quarterly basis. Unfortunately, due to limited resources in-house, portfolio managers sometimes didn’t receive an earnings update for two or three days after the portfolio firm had released it. Even then, the team might not have time to cover the company at all. The process was inefficient and hindered portfolio managers from making the right investment decisions.
It was clear that the client needed new, streamlined processes for managing news and reports. So they turned to us for help.
First, we streamlined and part-automated the process for aggregating news. We created code for each individual source to optimize the content and send it directly to analysts, who could then review it and prioritize news based on its impact on a portfolio and/or the firm itself.
To help with newsletter publication, we developed an Excel tool using macros written in VBA to automatically generate headings, body text and links for news items. Recurrent themes can be individually monitored, so analysts can track important news stories as they unfold.
On the financial reporting side, we restructured the process to make it simpler and more efficient. We automated factual reporting, and simplified the reporting template to focus on key factors that were likely to affect the investment position.
Our redesigned process for news-gathering saved significant time and effort on manually screening data sources.
The same level of coverage was maintained, and the portfolio newsletter became even more impactful. However, time spent on news aggregation and distribution fell by nearly 50%.
Thanks to our theme tracking, the CIO is only notified of the top four or five themes that merit attention or demand a response each day, simplifying the process of portfolio monitoring.
In terms of financial reporting, our solution reduced the turnaround time for earnings analyses of portfolio companies from two or three business days to less than 24 hours.
On top of that, the human effort required to complete an earnings analysis was cut from 10– 12 hours to less than four hours.
Instead of being bombarded with factual data, portfolio managers now receive a much more focused analysis, with actionable insights.
Finally, thanks to the time and resource savings, the asset manager could extend its reporting coverage to credit investments as well as equities.