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The systems and infrastructure used by financial supervisors to collect data is being challenged by new requirements. With many supervisors collecting transactional or granular data, the load on the collection platform can increase exponentially. Traditionally, supervisory authorities selected a preferred format, the most common being online web forms or upload of Excel, XML or XBRL. However, rather than a convergence on a single format, we are now seeing supervisors choose different formats for different collections based on which is most appropriate for the data collection in question. Irrespective of format, there is also a general move to more sophisticated data models. Another significant trend on the rise is the use of ad-hoc returns. Supervisors have increasing demands for additional data to be turned around instantly. Such ad-hoc returns can become large and unstructured very quickly, impacting quality, supportability and ultimately supervision of the sector.
All of this change brings additional considerations to privacy, data integrity and security. With basic upload portals, many of these elements are not included. This leads to significant and ongoing IT support costs and issues as the business tries to secure the resources needed to address them. For example, not only is authentication required, but there is also a need for full and comprehensive permissions management, that one would expect of any mature enterprise software application. Also, as point solutions are implemented over time, there is a growing supportability issue when a supervisory authority finds itself with separate portals and disparate systems to manage. This ultimately ends up as a hindrance to the business and causes confusion amongst the industry.
The impact of these new challenges is that supervisors have a significant overhead of manual effort before they can really use the data for supervision. Also, many basic portals do not include support for authorisation and approvals between supervisor team members. Additional areas which are taking supervisors away from their main duty of supervision include dissemination of data around the organisation, data exchanges with other competent authorities and the publishing of high-quality data. Unlike a simple collection portal, a complete collection platform should support more of the supervision process.
According to a Harvard Business Review report from industry, 80% of analysts’ time is spent simply discovering and preparing data.
Imagine what could be achieved by an organisation where that statistic is turned on its head.
The Vizor Regulatory Return product is a purpose-built data collection platform for the complex and growing needs of financial supervisors. It includes support for not only online web forms but also all types of file data (XBRL, XML, XLSX, PDF and other types of attachments or custom file formats). However, the platform data model is abstracted from the format and storage of data itself. This means that the data model can be used to drive system efficiencies via automation such as automatic decisions, alerts, triggers and routing of workflows. Data is also immediately ready for peer group analysis and other types of reporting. Cross time and return rules can also be applied to the data to further enhance automation and supervisor value. None of this is achievable via a basic portal regardless of the format. For example, XBRL on its own cannot do cross-time/return rules, you need a sophisticated, enterprise platform around it.
As a single platform, it is easier for business to use and for IT to support. As an enterprise platform, it includes strong privacy, data integrity and security capabilities. For example, as standard there is a comprehensive permission management framework. Freeing up supervisors for actual market supervision, as opposed to system administration, data scrubbing, etc. is one of the key principles of the platform. As such, and by way of example, supervisors can choose to delegate specific responsibilities for user management in market participants to principal users at each institution, freeing up time for their core supervision activities.
Not all data collection portals are created equal. Frequently basic portals specified for one set of returns cannot meet the growing complexity of supervisory authority needs. When planning future direction, avoid tactical solutions which inevitably become strategic and think about what can enable supervisors to focus on what matters. Address not only the current data requirements and opportunities for efficiency and automation of supervisory tasks but also the capability to adapt, innovate and cater for the future, something only a proven product can provide.