I’ve spent the bulk of my career helping mid-to-large investment management companies extract actionable information and insight from their data. In my seven years working at FactSet, a leading financial data and analytics provider, my time was primarily dedicated to working with its advanced portfolio analytics platform. This system and others like it, analyze the performance of clients’ investment portfolios and the attribution of that performance to various factors. The software is designed to assist clients in answering important questions that inform critical decisions. Questions such as:
- Why did this portfolio outperform or underperform its benchmark?
- Did our portfolio perform as we expected, given our investment style?
- Did the investment decisions we made help or hinder performance, and why?
The answers to these questions are located within various data sets and derived through analysis by the analytics software. Using the data output, asset management firms embark on the process of communicating their performance results, creating a variety of written reports for key stakeholders – investors, customers, employees and distributors. These portfolio commentary reports explain quarterly performance and are published on websites, delivered to clients and investment boards, and distributed through sales and marketing channels.
In order to create the reports, analysts, writers, and portfolio managers must review data files from systems such as FactSet, Eagle, Barclay’s Point, StatPro, and Wilshire, and write summaries tailored to specific audiences. The first step in this process is to analyze the data output, answer the question of “what happened,” and then communicate outcomes to clients in an understandable and efficient manner. Time and again we are told that these first steps are highly repetitive and costly, requiring significant time and resources that could be better invested elsewhere.
We work with numerous investment communications teams to automate their portfolio commentary writing process using Quill – our artificial intelligence platform. Our clients, including American Century Investments and Nuveen Investments, have been able to:
- Reduce the number of days spent producing portfolio commentaries by 50% – 75%
- Generate commentary on Day 1 of the quarter, written in a consistent and compliant manner that incorporates their tone, style and guidelines
- Free up resources to focus on the higher value tasks that drive their business