Automating the Prospectus

Terry Flanagan

The prospectus is the cornerstone document of securities, but its production remain a manually intensive process that has been largely bypassed by advances in publishing.

A single fund complex might produce dozens of prospectuses, many of which have common disclosures which need to be kept up to date. The process is compounded by a manual typesetting environment.

“When updating one of those common share disclosures, it is difficult to ensure that the proper update is made, that they update all the documents they need to, and do not update documents that should not be updated,” said Paul Soltis, North American market manager at Confluence, a provider of investment management services. “It is a rather difficult task when you have dozens and dozens of Word files for your content management system to make sure that you have updated all of them properly.”

Confluence has launched Unity Prospectus, an automated system that eliminates the need for manual typesetting.

The system eliminates risk associated with the multi-party, multi-system, manual reporting process that asset managers have traditionally relied upon to develop prospectuses, according to a release.

It includes a content library that allows content to be maintained once and reused across documents within a fund prospectus. It also provides the ability to reuse content to create new fund prospectuses or update changes across all prospectuses that share content.

Since 2009, the SEC has required all open-end mutual funds only) to use a summary prospectus format set out in the first few pages of the fund prospectus. Mutual funds also may, but are not required to, use this short summary as a stand-alone selling document outside the regular prospectus.

“An open-ended mutual fund, which is the market where we are going into, has to update its prospectus each year,” said Soltis. “You have to put out an updated version and file that version with the SEC every year. Our solution will do is automate that. It will be a content management system that will have a single storage for all of the shared content, which then can be distributed automatically to all the documents that need it.”

Unlike working with a manual typesetter, the content never leaves the system and updates are made in a controlled and audited fashion.

“Within our system, not only are we doing the content management, but we can also automate the production of stylized content, which will be a big benefit to the back office team,” said Soltis. You get a lot of efficiency by keeping everything in one system, one controlled system, in making these updates, and being able to generate your own stylized content.”

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