State Street Looks to Project Beacon

Shanny Basar

JR Lowry, EMEA head of State Street Global Exchange, said one way in which the global custodian bank’s clients are benefitting from its project to digitize its core business is through faster calculation of net asset values.

State Street Corporation launched the Global Exchange unit in 2013 to help clients use new technology to handle new regulations and an exponential increase in the amount of data they need to process and analyse.

Lowry said in a press briefing today: “Project Beacon is the third wave of transformation for State Street.”

He added that the firm is investing $550m in Project Beacon over a four-year period, which began a year ago, to digitize its core business. The aims of the project include increasing rates of straight through processing, fewer queries and increasing transparency for clients.

“For example, some clients have been able to calculation net asset value 30 minutes earlier which which has helped them attract funds,” said Lowry.

State Street reported last month in its full-year 2016 results that the Beacon initiative had delivered tangible benefits to clients and more than doubled the expected annual pre-tax savings last year to $175m.

Joseph Hooley, chairman and chief executive of State Street, said in the results statement: “We are focused on our 2017 strategic priorities, which include: advancing our digital leadership through State Street Beacon; driving growth from core franchises; continuous investment in new products and solutions; and achieving our financial goals, including generating positive fee operating leverage and continuing to return capital to shareholders.”

Lowry continued that clients need help in dealing with increasing amounts and complexity of data, which is usually stored in multiple systems within an organisation. “As the volume of data increases, it becomes harder to distill signals from noise,” he added.

For example, State Street Global Exchange offers DataGX, a cloud data-as-a-service platform which allows clients to load, enrich and aggregate multi-asset investment data from any service provider or data vendor.

State Street Global Exchange has also developed the Quantextual Idea Lab which uses machine learning and human curation to synthesise hundreds of research reports from the sellside, buyside and academia so clients do not miss ideas which are important for their strategies. Clients can automatically upload their research reports from subscriptions into a private Idea Lab cloud, receive personalized recommendations and customize searches.

Lowry continued that new fintech providers can be complementary to State Street’s own technology.

“We do not have to build everything ourselves,” he added. “We can bolt-on solutions from third party fintech providers.”

A new State Street survey, Finance Reimagined: Finding Long-Term Value in a Digital Age, found that the emerging technologies that asset managers are likely to be adopt in the next five years are blockchain; predictive analytics; artificial intelligence; real-time tracking systems and identity software based on biometrics.

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