Compared to their global peers, Canada’s asset managers are more confident in their organizations’ data analysis abilities and less confident in their data management platforms, according to a new report by BNY Mellon Asset Management Canada Ltd.

The report, based on the results of a survey of 200 asset managers across the globe, found almost a fifth (17 per cent) of all asset managers felt their organizations lack skilled data analysis professionals, while 10 per cent of Canadian respondents felt the same way. It also found more than two-thirds (70 per cent) of Canadian asset managers are concerned their firms rely on obsolescent data management platforms, compared with a global average of about half (54 per cent).

In an analysis of the findings, the researchers considered a number of explanations for the disconnect between Canadian asset managers’ faith in staff analysis skills and distrust in existing data management platforms. One possible explanation related to a cultural quirk of Canadian institutional investors.

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“This may speak to Canadian firms’ history of building and growing talent in-house, obviating some of the challenges of competing for skilled digital staff on the open market . . . . Canadian firms’ lower demand for data talent might simply indicate they are earlier in their data journeys and, as such, may face a sharp increase in talent appetite.”

Canadian asset managers’ responses also differed from global peers in terms of the areas of their businesses they expect to be outsourced in the next three years. While almost two-thirds of Canadian respondents indicated they expect operational oversight to be outsourced, a larger proportion (82 per cent) of global asset managers said they expect such a shift to occur at their firms. And while fewer than half (48 per cent) of all respondents indicated they expect to outsource regulatory reporting duties, 65 per cent of Canadian asset managers expected to do so.

In the report, contributor Joe Lacopo, vice-president of relationship management at BNY Mellon, suggested the reason for the increased appetite for outsourcing regulatory reporting in Canada may also be related to cultural differences between Canada and the rest of the world. “[This] may reflect the significant complexity of the Canadian regulatory environment, which includes federal, provincial and industry self-regulatory bodies.”

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