Having the right vision
Arne Martin Moen, Chief Operating Officer, is responsible for maintaining and supporting the SimCorp Dimension installation as well as the back office and fund pricing functions. “We play an important role in gathering data from all our vendors, settling and reconciling the trades, pricing the funds and making sure our operations are running smoothly 24/5,” he explains.
A few years ago, Storebrand made the strategic decision to consolidate systems and get more out of SimCorp Dimension. On this, Arne says “We haven’t added a lot of new functionality for quite some time. However, after we made a strategic decision to consolidate systems onto the SimCorp Dimension platform, we had a look at all areas and tried to map out gaps. We have been working closely with the business side and have prioritized the implementation projects in the right order to maximize value to the overall business. The SimCorp Dimension product has always been very strong in the back-office space, but in the past 5-6 years it has really taken off in terms of middle and front office functionality.” So much so that Storebrand is now playing a game of catchup, having maintained a status quo for quite some time, they are now on a journey of consolidation, and expanding into SimCorp’s front office solution.
Taking stock, and moving forward
Over the years, Storebrand has accumulated many systems. Arne explains that, “we made a count of our systems and found that there are more than one hundred systems if you include custom built executions, Excel models and external integrations. While we don’t have a fixed reduction number in mind, our goal is to consolidate as much as possible”
Arne went on to tell of a case they had recently with a manual pricing routine, “we used to copy and paste the data manually between Excel and SimCorp Dimension. We have since automated it in Dimension and now run the calculations in a batch job. We ran the Excel and batch job in parallel for a month and discovered an error one day. The error occurred in the manual process and the automated batch job was correct. It’s clear we need to continue shifting over to SimCorp Dimension and automating the calculations.”
IBOR: A better data foundation for front office
As with all SimCorp Dimension installations, an investment book of record (IBOR) supports firms with their data overview. “Our front office teams require up-to-date position data and it’s important that everyone is working on the same dataset. Having multiple systems and data integrations makes it difficult to manage both data consistency and data integrity among them. It’s great that we get a single view of data out of SimCorp Dimension.” Storebrand still has multiple data sources, so they are looking to continue consolidation efforts to have a more complete overview of their data.
“The great thing about SimCorp Dimension is that there is such a large relational database, so you’re able to connect a lot of these data points,” says Arne. “You can basically query everything, create your own dashboards and get the complete picture when needed. We are heading in the right direction, but still need to do more.” Storebrand really see the value and is on a journey to get the most out of it as they use Order Manager and Asset Manager more and more in the front office space. It is important to them to see everything in the same environment. As Arne puts it, “The beauty of the IBOR is that it supports other aspects of the organization (in particular our front office) and not only the operational side.”
Excelling in the front office
Storebrand makes heavy use of Compliance Manager, managing over 6000 compliance rules every day. According to Arne, “it’s much easier now to follow up on the investment mandates and make sure we have one consistent data source for all our reporting which includes internal, external and regulatory reporting. Just to know that there is no problem with the data consistency is really important.” Compliance staff also indicated they have saved approximately ½ hour per day in the time it takes to do their compliance reporting. Flexibility in customizing the real-time dashboard alerts for portfolio managers, simple drag and drop rule creation and one click drill-through were some of the other operational benefits mentioned.