All investment firms need a flexible client reporting system, so that they can accommodate the various reporting requirements of all their clients. A hot topic for these firms is flexibility when producing fund factsheets. Ideally, and a growing trend, is that fund factsheets should be produced for each shareclass, for each region in which the fund is registered and promoted, and in the language/s appropriate to that region. Producing accurate and timely fund factsheets at this most granular level can be a challenge for many firms, particularly when reporting teams and resources are already over-stretched.
Remember, producing a factsheet for a particular region in a particular language is not as simple as just translating the English elements on the factsheet into the required language. It is much more complex than that. Also, some regions may need multiple languages to be produced, for example Factsheets for Swiss investors, may require, Swiss-German, Swiss-French, Swiss-Italian and Swiss-English. Producing and rendering a fund factsheet for a specific shareclass, region and language combination typically requires the following;
- Formatting of date formats to suit the local market for that language
- Formatting of numbers to include commas or periods (full stop) as required by that region
- Inserting the correct local office contact details; address, emails and telephone numbers
- Including the correct local Regulator details
- Displaying the appropriate disclaimers and regulatory statements for each particular region in the correct language
- Translating the text (such as objectives and risk statements), tables, headings and labels to the local language
- Inserting or removing specific tables, charts, text and other content as required by the specific local variation and display rules
- Of course, only including the data and content specific and appropriate to that particular shareclass, in terms of performance, fees data, accumulation and distribution data etc.
Based on the above, it’s immediately apparent that there’s a significant number of permutations and combinations that exist which in turn equates to a high level of dynamic processing in order to produce timely fund factsheets at this level of granularity.
With legacy or largely manual systems this level of granularity of reporting may only be achieved by maintaining multiple templates, perhaps even one template for each shareclass, region and language combination and with this comes additional risk and exposure to errors. In this scenario on-going maintenance and introducing enhancements or changes becomes a huge overhead to the business; in terms of the number of templates that need to be updated, the amount of testing required, and the time taken to implement and deliver the change. Thus, typically only the very important or regulatory based changes ever get made. Enhancements that improve the user experience or increase the level of client service, are often left undone and filed under the “too difficult/too expensive” category.
Also, in my experience, if the factsheets are being manually created, it is almost impossible to keep all the factsheet templates in step, and inconsistencies and inaccuracies creep in and remain in place, unnoticed for some time by the investment firm.
High level of customisation, multiple templates, lots of reporting rules or a team working their socks off manipulating factsheet templates can look like flexibility, but it isn’t. Flexibility achieved in this manner is unmaintainable. For flexibility to be maintainable, it must be automated and dynamic, based on configuration.
Unmaintainable flexibility tends to have the following impact on fund factsheets;
- Old report design; often not updated to the latest branding guidelines, or updated long after all other reports
- Static content; teams unable to simply and easily affect change and include additional data and content
- Inconsistencies; unwanted differences between factsheets of different shareclasses, regions and languages
- Fund level; firms producing factsheets at fund level rather than shareclass level
- Single language or limited languages; firms producing factsheets in one or two languages only, rather than all that are required
If any of these points resonate with you, it’s time to consider a new, modern and flexible reporting solution. Reporting as a Service delivers all this flexibility via simple configuration, so your current issues are solved at a stroke. Additionally, Reporting as a Service is a future proof solution, cloud based, flexible, scalable and supports a digital strategy.