The challenge: combine investment data with member-specific details and present the particular information in a way that satisfies the needs of regulators, internal auditors and accountants.
Currently, super funds have to collect around 900 data items on a regular basis to satisfy the needs of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). With effect from July, the number will increase to about 4000. Some of the information is naturally collected by custodians and some by the funds themselves or their administrators. For the first time, though, it will be necessary to combine large quantities of investment-related data with member-specific details. The regulator has been asked by the super funds and the custodian banks to introduce the changes gradually.
Rhys Octigan, regional head of business development in Australia and New Zealand for DST Global Solutions believes that the new changes have highlighted the complexity of data management by the super funds. “Many organisations have implemented tactical solutions to address reporting challenges. This has led to a plethora of databases, data consistency problems and a lot of integration code to maintain,” he says.
However, the intelligent collection of large quantities of data is only part of the headache for the super funds, custodian banks and administrators. Notes Octigan: “In the first place, everyone – regulators, internal auditors and accountants – needs to be satisfied that best practice is being adhered to. Further, the data gathered needs to be presented to users in a way that meets their specific needs. Finally, the solution needs to be flexible to cope with further regulatory changes.”
DST has been boosting its team in Australia so that it is better placed to deal with the challenge. “Many of the clients with whom we are working are multi-national organisations that operate in several jurisdictions,” say Octigan. “It is very common for clients to collect data to meet the requirements of several regulators simultaneously. And those requirements are constantly changing. DST is currently monitoring the evolution and implementation of about 18 separate pieces of legislation around the world.”