Building a compliant discretionary portfolio today
Asset- and Wealth management firms need to understand in which situations their client-facing experts can offer discretionary services to international clients. But complexity often starts after a discretionary mandate has been sold: Portfolio managers have to ensure only suitable investment products are allocated to a client portfolio.
To maximize return while matching a client’s risk profile, portfolio managers constantly monitor the financial markets’ situation to know if to shift gear or adjust the portfolio allocation because of market trends.
The challenge of building compliant discretionary portfolios
While portfolio managers are trained investment experts, they are often struggling with the complex and country-specific regulatory and tax aspects on investment product level. Paper manuals and siloed compliance tools are often not powerful enough to cover all of the more than 400 single rules per country. Therefore, portfolio managers today often have to double-check with internal legal, compliance or tax experts or even external consultants, which slows down the work process additionally.
Even where advanced portfolio management systems are used, allowing investment restrictions to be coded into the tool, these advantages are short-lived because most systems are not designed for coding and permanently updating hundreds of regulatory or tax rules.
Today’s regulatory complexity puts portfolio managers at risk of overlooking regulatory or tax restrictions on instrument level, triggered for example by the client’s domicile. But not taking these restrictions into account is also not an option since this can lead to regulatory fines or loss cases requiring client compensation.
In conclusion, what’s missing is a ready to plug rule repository that immediately shapes a portfolio manager’s decision toward a set of compliant options. Such repositories, when accessed via an app or integrated into an organisation’s technical infrastructure, embed changes as they happen. Where the rule repository is connected to existing portfolio management systems, they become capable of not only giving a clear picture of risk exposure and portfolio performance but also on regulatory and tax restrictions on investment level.
In this fast-paced reality, decision-makers at asset managers or banks have four options ahead, each with its benefits and fit to individual risk or business appetites:
|Business potential||Risk minimisation||Ease of maintenance||Launch speed|
|Reduce the product universe for discretionary portfolios||+||+++||++||++++|
|Reduce client market coverage||++||+++||++||++++|
|Build inhouse rule framework||+++||+++||+||+|
|Conduct dynamic cross-border compliance checks||++++||++++||++++||++++|
Introducing dynamic investment checks for portfolio managers
Implementing dynamic investment portfolio checks starts with having tax implications and regulatory restrictions on investment product level turned into digital rules for every country where clients are domiciled or where an organisation is offering discretionary asset management services.
Financial institutions face a choice – to digitise existing paper-based in-house knowledge or obtain machine-readable rules from providers ‘out of the box’. Digitising a discretionary framework means being capable of handling hundreds of single rules per country and the larger the geographical footprint of an organisation, the more exponentially cumbersome, time-consuming and even impossible it becomes to manage things the old way (e.g.: with the help of spreadsheets).
In short, smart compliance starts with rule digitisation combined with an easy way to review and update rules and making this available throughout the organisation by integrating into existing applications, portfolio management systems, portfolio optimisation tools, and so on.
There are three pillars to build a scalable framework for investment product checks:
- Regulatory restrictions for providing discretionary asset management services in a digital format: an easy to maintain a repository of country- and product-specific rules that are easily matched to an organization’s needs
- Front-end for portfolio managers: digital rules can be either integrated into a fully-fledged portfolio management system or accessed via a simple compliance front-end tool
- Product data expertise: investment product data experience to ensure a seamless integration with existing data providers
Benefits of using dynamic investment portfolio checks
With the help of dynamic investment product checks performed automatically, organisations stand out from the crowd and enable long-term business growth
- Create targeted portfolios highly customised to the risk profile and serving the investment strategy of even the most sophisticated clients
- Reduce risk: up to 8-fold reduction in compliance breaches and client complaints
- Speed up time to market with up to 12 times faster suitability checks on ISIN level
- Scale efficiency across distributed teams by easy addition of new markets or asset classes
- Remove IT bottlenecks with one-time integration and business-specific APIs