Managing Reference Data Risk -- A Best Practice Approach
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Overview: In recent years, the twin pressures of achieving regulatory compliance and straight-through processing (STP) have highlighted substantial redundancy and duplication of effort in the area of reference data management. Many buy-side and sell-side firms are uncomfortably aware of both the time and cost they devote to purchasing, cleansing, and distributing reference data, as well as the risks that arise when these tasks are not performed effectively, among them failed trades and lost revenue opportunities. Firms are now questioning whether or not there is sufficient value and adequate technology support to consolidate all their market data management and counterparty systems on a single platform. As a best practice, market data and counterparty data should be acquired as a utility and mapped to reference data through cross-referencing. But a robust reference data management platform must underpin such efforts if they are to succeed. Recognizing that there is little competitive differentiation to be derived from managing reference data, many firms are turning to third-party specialist organizations to reduce unnecessary costs and operational risks while improving data quality. Best-practice reference data management may involve leveraging third-party specialist organizations, but only when the purchase, cleaning, and distribution risk points in the process have been considered. Firms first need to understand the gap that exists between their current reference data management processes and newer, best-practice approaches.