Cutter Associates Finds Ops Professionals Optimistic About Improved Corporate Actions Processing

8 May 2014

A recently completed research study by Cutter Associates found that operations professionals are optimistic for a renewed focus on corporate actions processing in the next few years. Citing manual processes and increased risk as driving factors, firms are changing practices and assessing systems solutions available to help improve automation around the corporate actions function.

“Using manual processes and the skills of existing staff is working for many firms. However, our member firms have recognized that automation could greatly improve their processes,” noted Cutter Associates’ Senior Research Analyst, Laura Jesson. “But it’s less about lowering costs and more about lowering risk.”

The amount of data associated with corporate actions that teams are handling from multiple sources makes the creation of a golden copy of the event details very challenging. Indeed, more than half of those member firms surveyed cited data management as a top challenge. And not only at the start of the process: getting accurate and timely data to the front office decision makers in a timely and effective manner is critical. As one manager pointed out, “We don’t want to expose the firm to the potential risks of trading on incomplete data.”

While investment firms recognize the need for improved processes, in both automation and data management, budgets remain tight. As Hugh Griffiths, Managing Director of Cutter Associates in London said, “Unfortunately, the changes may be smaller and slower than corporate actions teams hope for.”

Despite this, firms are exploring their options, and taking those first steps to address corporate actions challenges. Many vendor solutions are available, accommodating a wide array of differing needs – from full end-to-end solutions to those that provide focused functionality.

Cutter Research analysts assessed and provided recommendations on a number of corporate actions systems available in the market, scoring each across a broad range of product features and functionality. The full 145-page report of their findings is available for CutterResearch clients and will be presented at the upcoming Spring meetings in London, New York and Boston.

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