Your guide to 2021 in securities services part one: Data

Global Custodian has compiled a series of predictions for 2021 from some of the leading voices in the securities services industry, part one focuses on data.

By Jonathan Watkins

Roman Regelman, chief executive officer of asset servicing and head of digital, BNY Mellon

In 2021, we can expect more digitalisation, standardisation and outsourcing. Across all aspects of client servicing, we will see increased automation, with data and digital capabilities coming to the fore. Data, in particular, will emerge as a competitive advantage for asset managers and asset owners, and become an asset class in its own right. To make this happen, data management and accessibility of data will emerge as key capabilities, and expectations for quality service and resilience will continue to increase. And because transforming data into higher alpha and cheaper beta with lower cost and less risk is not easy, open architecture and ecosystems will play a greater role in facilitating the delivery of data to the people making decisions. Tools, apps and services that democratise data and bring capabilities and content to more users in an organisation will help give firms an informational edge and operational advantage in an increasingly competitive market.


Roy Saadon, CEO, AccessFintech

The past year has given us a glimpse into the future, as employees work remotely, teamwork utilities will become essential, and collaboration within and across organisations will become key for efficiency and control. Amongst that, it has become clear that data is the fundamental asset that will be the focus of the next five years: data control, data as a catalyst for change and data as a differentiating asset. The ability to productise data, enable transparency, enable mobility yet increase the power to know who can access and use data will become a base line for a well-functioning ecosystem. For example, we saw a jump from zero to 90% in automation in situations where none previously existed. 


Sebastien Danloy, global head of asset owners & managers, markets & securities services, HSBC

2021 will be the year when ESG regulations start to take effect, with the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) commencing in the EU, requiring asset managers to categorise and disclose on their funds according to climate and wider environmental criteria.  Regulators are also consulting in Hong Kong and Singapore.  In 2020 there have been greater inflows into ESG funds so there are clear drivers for integration across custody products, including post-trade periodic reporting and digital and data solutions.  We expect our clients’ requirements to become more complex and to support this we’ll need ESG data content to become more consistent and comparable.  The time for action is now and most custodians already offer ESG products.  We offer reporting based on a choice of leading ESG data providers, so that the differing results can be easily compared, to provide meaningful insights for our clients until quantitative ESG data becomes available.

Annelotte De Nanassy, product manager, financial information, SIX

In 2020, significant technological change has taken place out of necessity, and finance, which quite often innovates as a result of regulatory pressure, has been no exception. One area within financial institutions that still lags behind, though, is the collection and processing of corporate actions data. A substantial amount of human capital is still required for many different types of corporate action events, all differing in complexity. However, as shown by a recent survey from SIX, institutions are increasingly interested in undertaking projects to streamline what remains a largely manual process. The main drivers for increasing automation are the reduction of operating costs and to cope with growing corporate action volumes. In 2021, we expect to see financial institutions take greater steps towards replacing legacy technology, in order to automate a greater number of corporate actions events, freeing up capacity to focus on more complex tasks and improving data quality.