Fund management practitioners feel there are too many organisations setting rules for how processes around fund orders and transfers are handled, a survey indicates.
Just over half of process specialists working for UK firms that service corporate pensions thought the number of groups exerting influence over market standards or practices to do with automation was too high, the ViaNova survey found.
This could be because satisfaction with process automation levels for fund managers and administrators that service corporate pension funds is high – at 93% – and the majority of firms enjoy automation levels of over 80%.
Yet a quarter of firms still only have 40-60% process automation levels and a few score even lower – which might be why the ViaNova survey found many firms also disagreed that too many groups were active in setting automation strategy for the industry. Forty six per cent disagreed there were too many groups.
ViaNova weighed-up the results and said that with 38% in agreement and 15% in strong agreement, “it seems that there is a strong view that there are, indeed, too many organisations in this space”.
One of the organisations looking to increase fund automation is the UK FTS initiative – though the FTS effort appears welcome with 66% of respondents saying they found the aims of FTS either quite or very valuable. Just over 22%, however, said it was unhelpful.
Automation levels could improve significantly over the next two years, said ViaNova, as the survey reflected that automation was a high priority for firms.
Notably in the context of Brexit, nearly 70% of firms said their corporate pension funds processing involved contact with EU countries.
ViaNova is itself a rule-setter in the corporate pensions industry.
Bill Gourlay, chief executive of The Idea Group, a member-firm of ViaNova, said asset management operations do not frequently “get the limelight” but still offer insight into the state of the market.
“I think the recent survey of the ViaNova community provides the industry with some great food for thought, regarding where the next areas of focus should be, and should spur several firms into realising that they need to improve their levels of operational efficiency in order to keep pace with the competition".