FactSet: The Vantage Point

FactSet: The Vantage Point

Transparency has become the battle cry for entities in the capital markets arena as the complexity abounds the financial marketplace. “As investment processes and asset types become more complex, the financial community is seeking increased insight and transparency on performance and risk across their enterprises,” explains Philip Snow, CEO, FactSet. Furthermore, increasing macroeconomic nature of finance markets, and constantly evolving regulatory requirements add to the woes of the investment community. Gaining visibility into the performance of portfolio and risk levels still remains a challenge. Since inception in 1978, FactSet has always focused on providing the investment community with comprehensive view of the financial market data to help investment managers and financial institutions optimize their investment decisions. Over the years, the company has delved into desktop analytics, mobile applications, and comprehensive data feeds to address key areas of concern such as managing risk and compliance.

Sheer Analytics

FactSet’s intuitive risk analytics solution caters to the every stage of the portfolio management process wherein investment managers can measure predicted risk, analyze risk-based performance attribution, and construct an optimal portfolio. Predictive risk characteristics such as tracking error, beta, value-at-risk can be viewed and exposures can be studied to gain insight into the sources of portfolio risk. Furthermore, clients can test their portfolio by creating scenarios that represent extreme market conditions through which managers can identify and hedge against investment vulnerabilities. The managers can also leverage FactSet’s predictive risk models to analyze portfolio risk and understand where vulnerabilities exist. Besides, FactSet also helps clients in analyzing multiple portfolios concurrently by comparing results and determining whether there are areas where risk is concentrated among funds.

With FactSet, investment managers evaluate the performance of the portfolios based on the investor’s unique investment attributes such as fixed income, alternative assets, or fund of funds. The managers can not only create portfolios but analyze and optimize them across asset class. By measuring portfolio performance against the benchmark, the managers can view the performance trends and be informed about the risks. Leveraging FactSet’s information-rich databases, the investment community can stay abreast to the latest developments in diverse markets, track specific industries and companies of interest, analyze trends, evaluate transactions, and value companies. FactSet’s analytics solutions also play instrumental role in gaining a clear view of M&A transactions, governance, among others.

FactSet has acquired several companies recently including BISAM Technologies S.A through which the company looks forward to explore BISAM’s solutions for portfolio performance and attribution, multi-asset risk, GIPS (Global Investment Performance Standards) composites management and reporting. “Over the past 20 years, we have continuously invested to evolve our analytics solutions through innovation, acquisition, and strategic relationships,” says Snow. “The combination of BISAM and FactSet allows us to better serve the critical workflows throughout the portfolio lifecycle and fulfill our clients’ need for more consistent performance and risk data, throughout their organizations.”

While analytics is crucial, reporting also forms a key part of FactSet’s overall analytics framework. With the ability to automatically generate portfolio commentary directly, the company is helping investment management firms to scale their reporting capabilities exponentially. Further, users can file quarterly and monthly reports with ease as the generated commentary adheres to compliance best practices.

“Client reporting is a rapidly evolving area of the market as regulatory requirements rise and investors grow increasingly sophisticated,” shared Ali Stewart, Vice President, Analytics of FactSet. “We’re dedicated to continuously innovating to provide a truly client-centric, cost-effective customer reporting solution.”

FactSet has recently bagged a deal with Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) where FactSet will provide its multi-asset class risk model, workstation, and analytics suite for its finance management needs. Dhvani Shah, Chief Investment Officer, IMRF, says, “FactSet’s multi-asset class risk model, backed by comprehensive analytics, modeling capabilities, and outstanding client support model made FactSet best suited to meet our stringent demands for overseeing the Fund’s fixed income, equity, and alternative asset risk.”

Collaboration as Force Multiplier

FactSet has collaborated with Symphony Communication Services LLC, an integrated financial information and analytical applications provider, to establish seamless integration of the FactSet platform with Symphony’s communications platform to enable real-time collaboration across the financial services industry. “Enterprise-wide collaboration across members of the financial investment community will dramatically improve industry productivity,” states Snow. “This partnership reinforces FactSet’s commitment to delivering solutions that help our clients be more efficient across their workflows.” With this collaboration, investment professionals will be able to access quality messaging experience integrated with FactSet’s advanced analytics, content and technology.

Over the past 20 years, we have continuously invested to evolve our analytics solutions through innovation, acquisition, and strategic relationships

As an implementation highlight, 71M, one of the UK’s leading providers of investment management services, has partnered with FactSet to provide financial information and analytics to its team of investment professionals. By making FactSet a vital part of their investment process, the idea for 71M has been to bolster the communication between relationship management and investment management roles at the company. 71M now delivers vital market intelligence quickly by accessing the distilled news summaries from FactSet StreetAccount. With StreetAccount, clients gain access to regularly published topical summaries on macroeconomic issues, political issues, oil and sector moves in addition to StreetAccount’s global market summaries. Justin Urquhart Stewart, Head of Corporate Development at 7IM said that it was FactSet’s personalized services which prompted them to select FactSet’s software. 71M now has the access to FactSet’s 24/7 global support services and dedicated local account team for in-person training and to gain information on the latest product enhancements. The company now customizes the software to its individual workflows as FactSet’s service model incorporate client feedback into future product updates and technology innovations.

Effective Data Integration

With FactSet’s data integration and management solutions, clients can organize data and distribute it across their locations, enabling them to transform their decision making in portfolio management. The data management solutions integrate accurate data from a numerous data sources—including Factset-sourced and third party databases—in one analytics platform enduing intelligence to the end users.

FactSet’s data management solution provides the ability to manage market data and reference data by exploring the hierarchies between entities, securities, people, and funds. The solution leverages hub-and-spoke model to connect disparate sources of information to a single master entity identifier. The breadth of the company’s data capabilities facilitates data manipulation and processing by easily exporting data to Microsoft Excel while being able to combine commercial data with proprietary content. The company actively brings to users the data feeds streamed from companies and markets.

The company beams real time information pertaining to portfolios right to the user’s mobile device. FactSet StreetAccount news is a feature that scans the U.S., European, and Asian markets for corporate news such as corporate conference calls, FDA and EU drug approvals, SEC filings, FTC antitrust decisions, and brokerage firm upgrades/downgrades. Thus, users can steer clear of all the noise, quickly find relevant news, and get unrestricted access to crucial intelligence about the markets of user’s interest.

The company’s smart data management and delivery capabilities drive the investment community’s capability to traverse the complex maze of compliance and regulatory requirements. FactSet holds expertise in helping clients with regulatory requirements such as KYC and AML, Solvency II, PRIIPs KIDs, MiFID II, GIPS, MAR among others.

Tools for Better Decision Making

With FactSet, building models for analytics is easy. While the presentation tools facilitate adding and updating of latest market data to the Word and PowerPoint, they also enable linking models, text, tables, and charts from Excel to Word and PowerPoint. The users can create and update charts from any application in FactSet and still use their proprietary templates to present the data. They can insert refreshable data into the Excel models and build auditable models with easy access to underlying calculations and source documents.

The company’s screening tools on the other hand help users to uncover investment opportunities and generate buyer list, and find deals. The screening tools enable users to search by specific criteria, identify opportunities, and target potential customers and investors. So users can create profiles for firms with information such as net buyers and sellers. They can also create reports on stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and institutions. The impact of the investments, updated watch lists, and portfolio performance can be viewed through any mobile device.

The users can leverage integrated reporting tools to build data by combining key portfolio analytics with proprietary content in a presentation-ready document format. FactSet provides tool that seamlessly integrates with the company’s portfolios, data, and workflows to ensure compliance and meets Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) regulation.

As the investment community chases transparency and agility as the gateway for sustained growth, FactSet embraces with its comprehensive analytics, inventive technology and engaging services embraces the global finance world. As volumes of data keeps churning out of the digital platforms, FactSet stands resolute to harness this data so that the investors gain their ROI while the investment management get their due dividends.

- Syed Haseeb Ahmed
    April 17, 2017