As the financial industry evolves, so does the presence of data—information. It’s used by everyone, everywhere, and is core to the investment fund industry. One of the core drivers to this evolution is the way that we collectively handle data. The FinTech sector notably is rooted in the intelligent use of data through technology to spur innovation in the way we do business and interact with our finances. Since the turn of the century, the industry has been pushing to adopt newer technologies such as structured markup languages to help handle the increasing demands for data, instead of static, compiled documents and messaging in predominance today. One such initiative was born back in 2001, when forward-thinking German investment companies recognised the interest in using XML (acronym for extensible markup language) to define a format that could be universally adopted throughout the European fund industry as a standard. They named it “FundsXML”, and over the past decade initial versions have been adopted by various market participants, and it has gained the endorsement of national investment fund and asset management associations. The membership of the FundsXML group is made up of data experts from industry bodies across Europe. KNEIP was invited exceptionally to join, given the breadth of our expertise in fund data management. We joined the steering committee to be able to not only contribute on a technical level but help shape the best practices learned from the various actors throughout the fund industry that we have contact with, be it asset managers, administrators, fund platforms, data vendors, or regulators. The most recent technical workgroup meeting was held in our new headquarters in Luxembourg. The fragmentation that exists today between messaging formats (Swift, OpenSource from FundInfo, proprietary messaging systems, …) is one of the signs of an immature industry. Working to develop standards is our way of helping the industry become more efficient and future-proof. The FundsXML group is currently working on the next version of its open data format, which should be ready in 2017. With messages already in place for KIID, Solvency II, dynamic and static data transfer, and several reports, many more are underway and the FundsXML standard is poised to make a positive impact in the industry.
By Lee Godfrey