The coming wave of data roles within fund management

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Data management challenges within the fund management sector are quickly turning from a minor annoyance to a full-on headache. Slowly, but surely, data architects are becoming the new must-have for most firms.

Firstly, there's the regulatory upheaval - most firms are ill-prepared for the data challenges around the looming Dodd-Frank reforms, and don't have the right systems in place.

More generally, though, fund managers are facing pressure to reduce administrative costs, increase scalability and use research more effectively for trading ideas - and all of this requires changes to data management, says Gary Goldberg, head of the hedge fund and prime services practice at financial services technology consultant Capco.

"Technically, there are challenges to re-architect their systems to utilise centralised data. This represents resourcing issues as management needs to assess whether they have sufficient staff to make the changes," he says. "They also have to assess whether the people they have possess the requisite skills to make the changes."

In theory, then, this should mean that data architects are being eagerly recruited by asset managers. However, recruiters specialising in this area suggest that so far it's been a trickle rather than a flood.

"Most of the larger managers have mandates out for information architects and data architects, but these are currently still few in number. The smaller firms seem to be outsourcing the work to third-party vendors," says one recruiter.

Goldberg tells us that demand for data specialists in the future should be "strong", and that even when the work is outsourced to consultancies or vendors, there are still likely to be some jobs created within asset managers themselves, even if it's just to maintain the systems.

"Many firms are looking for data architects and head of data roles to do just that," he says.

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