FE fundinfo is a global leader in investment fund data and technology. Trusted for data, technology solutions, research and analysis, open international network and expert insights, they provide transparency and enable efficiency to unlock business potential for asset managers, fund managers, distributors and financial advisers. 

The FE fundinfo and Godel partnership kickstarted 2020. The team, which was also recently a finalist at the Digital Technology Leaders Awards has been working together to deliver modern digital solutions to manage data and streamline processes to provide substantial benefits to FE fundinfo’s customers. 

In this episode of The Godel POD, our host Laura Ainscough, Service Delivery Manager at Godel is joined by Kevin Scott, Head of Software Delivery and Asset Management Services at FE fundinfo to discuss what’s impacting the financial services industry and how FE fundinfo are overcoming these challenges.

This is an edited transcript, for more conversations on the latest in tech, subscribe to The Godel POD on Podbean and Spotify. Podcast jingle provided by the Hideout YouthZone

Podcast transcript 

Laura Ainscough: Hi everybody and welcome to another session of our Godel Pod. I’m back again, Laura Ainscough, from the service delivery manager and function. And today I think we’ve probably asked this guest for a while now and I finally convinced him to come on. Today I’m with Kevin Scott, he’s part of our partnership here at FE fundinfo, who is Head of Software Delivery and Asset Management Services. It’s an absolute pleasure to welcome you, Kevin, it’s great to have you so. I think we can just start off with a proper introduction about yourself and our listeners.

Kevin Scott: Yeah. So, I’m Kevin, I’m head of software delivery for our asset management services team. I’ve got about 17 years of experience working and a mixture of business and yeah, for ten of those that have been at FE fundinfo. I kind of started out on the client side to get into it. So originally I was a fund analyst at a wealth management team and in a pensions company. I was working quite closely with one of our heritage businesses. So financial express. And yet jumped around quite a few different areas in my darling. So business analysis, and product management in a range of different products and services. More recently, moving into that asset Management Services Department, so we created that team last year and that sort of vision around getting a more coordinated experience for the sort of key client type for FE fundinfo.

Laura Ainscough: Yeah, brilliant, you’ve done a lot then! A question probably would be great for our listeners is what were the main things that made you get into this role? What are the things that pulled you in?  

Kevin Scott: Yeah, I think, I mean, it’s the sort of broad range of solutions that you’re looking at that value chains quite broad and I guess the experience I’ve had in the past, looking at all those different solutions from vaccine production and right through to event-driven architectures kind of fitted this role really well. We’ve got quite a broad range that we look at in the department. It could be from data management right through the value chain of setting up a fund, looking after regulatory sort of commitments, marketing boards and then the components that go into building that. If we’re producing a report, we’ve got document generation systems, we might have to do translations. But yeah, I think the sort of breadth of the role kind of suited my background of having had different experiences in different product areas.  

Laura Ainscough: And again, before we really dive into this, I suppose it would be great to actually understand who FE fundinfo are. Obviously, as a partnership, we’ve been working together for three years. It’s been a while and everything we’ve been working on a range of different products. I suppose it’d be just great to just do a brief introduction of who FE fundinfo are.  

Kevin Scott: Yeah we’re a global leader in investment fund data and technology. So supporting the fund industries value chain, not just data management which is where I’m working, we’ve got some key client types around fund managers, but also fund distributors, financial advisors. There’s a rich history across the different heritage businesses over 25 years of being kind of trusted partners to some of the biggest companies in the industry really. So relying on us for data, for Technology solutions research and the expertise and insight that we can give them. 

Laura Ainscough: And we’re in your London office today. But you’re all over the show right?  

Kevin Scott: Yeah, I mean we we’ve probably got over 1000 different experts in 15 different countries. We’re really close to the client’s needs in a range of different disciplines. Data is the core of what we do. We’ve got millions of end investors that are relying on us, but we cover up foundational areas around data, expertise and technology. Within that, though, like my focus obviously in products and engineering, so we’ve got about 260 technologies now across those different locations and bringing together the expertise in those different areas is what we sort of pride ourselves on doing that value for the client is the combination of that really.  

Laura Ainscough: Yeah, brilliant. And you just flew back from your Luxembourg office. So next time we do a podcast can we do it there!? 

Kevin Scott: Absolutely  

Laura Ainscough: My next question to you is, how do you look to deliver quality digital solutions to your customers? Obviously, we’ve dived in the partnership to quite a few of those, but it’d be quite good to get an understanding of that. 

Kevin Scott: Yeah, I think like I was saying about all of the data that we have and on network reach and getting that data out timely and accurate is that sort of core foundation that we have but also accessing it across a range of different solutions for our clients is the key. So getting the capabilities that we have in the different disciplines across the globe is the sort of trick to making it all work, and so we’ve got quite an innovative agile environment I think to kind of deliver what the clients need. So the way we work to market needs, but then collaborate with the sort of bigger clients and those willing to create with us to sort of drive the solutions forward. I mean we’ve got award-winning products and the clients are happy with the solutions we provide. 

Laura Ainscough: And I know the past few years have been challenging for a lot of businesses. Obviously we’ve been through COVID and the economy as it is at the moment, the industry that you’re working in, how do you find that that’s adapted over well these current years and what have you done to adapt around that?  

Kevin Scott: Yeah, I think it’s definitely been a challenging few years. Our challenges definitely reflect the sort of wider issues that our clients are having. I guess the asset management space that I’m in, we’ve got increasing regulatory scrutiny. We’ve always had regulations. We’ve always had things that need to be produced so annual cycles are always a challenge, but the versioning of that and the frequency of that changing is a challenge for our clients. There’s an opportunity for us to provide a solution. 

I think if we’re looking at our clients and what we’re seeing in their space, the complexity of their business is increasing. There’s consolidation within the marketplace that kind of drives our simplification strategies and supporting them through that I think is where we can really help. I see our clients turning more and more to technology as the solution for that. We see increases in operational expenditures when you’re combining businesses and it could be people overheads or ageing systems, but having that sort of trusted expertise to navigate them through, whether it’s regulation that we’re talking about guidance technologically, how do we migrate the solution into another? How do we integrate new solutions and expand, I think from our side the areas we can provide solutions in their values.  

Laura Ainscough: Would it be fair to say that actually, you found quite a lot of opportunity within this industry and for your clients especially for the past few years.  

Kevin Scott: Yeah, absolutely. I think if you’re thinking around that point where every challenge comes with an opportunity, those areas that are challenging our clients are always a chance for us to have a discussion with them, about where can we help them, where could we change or tweak pivot the roadmap to support them better. Yeah, it’s been interesting times.   

Laura Ainscough: Would it be fair to say that actually, you found quite a lot of opportunity within this industry and for your clients especially for the past few years.  

Kevin Scott: Yeah, absolutely. I think if you’re thinking around that point where every challenge comes with an opportunity, those areas that are challenging our clients are always a chance for us to have a discussion with them, about where can we help them, where could we change or tweak pivot the roadmap to support them better. Yeah, it’s been interesting times.  

Laura Ainscough: How have FE fundinfo reacted to some of these challenges? 

Kevin Scott: We’ve been looking at a lot of different areas, but I think the sort of biggest shift that we’re seeing from product and engineering at the moment sort of is the potential around how AI or ML is going impact the industry.  It’s going to change client expectations to my point earlier about them turning more and more to technology is the solution. But I think it will push us to change as well. It’s going to have an impact on how we work, what we can deliver and the kind of speed that we can develop at. I think if we’re digging down more into it and it’s really fast-paced in that area where we see sort of foundational elements that we just need to get right. There’s also opportunities when it comes to simple simplification and growth within our products. I guess the potential impact for us as well as our clients, it will break out into, is it productivity, consider like new tech that’s going to help drive employee success and thinking of things down the lines of what Microsoft are doing with co-pilot to help developers or even copilot in some of their 365 applications where we’re going to see that more and more coming to our teams.  

But the sort of other side is what can we do along those same lines so advanced services for our clients? Where could we sort of enhance or leverage generative AI to create content rather than us creating the content? Or could we automate some of those traditional processes or accelerate them and then free up our people to be out there doing something different or focused on a new problem. And I think we’re doing pretty well in this space. I think what we’re getting ahead of is that sort of early vision and strategy and it is sort of fast pace and changing, but then engaging the whole of product and engineering, it’s not something people are sort of sitting and ivory tower and work out on their own web. We’re a collaborative business. We’ve got people looking at early adoption of tools to help us, but we’ve got regular hackathons that we run and departments can join up. We afford them the time to look at ideas that leverage more and more of these emerging technologies and the ideas get sponsored. If one of them is successful, then we think it’s a great idea that will allow us to pivot on our Rd maps, move some resourcing and get those best ideas coming through that incubator and then out into the world for clients to use.  

Laura Ainscough: Yeah, that’s amazing. And there’s probably a lot of exciting stuff to be looked into. I suppose like I said over the past three years, we’ve worked together as a partnership and I think we’ve always felt part of the products that you’ve been creating, are you able to just go into a little bit of detail of what we’ve been working on as a partnership and what exciting things we’ve helped develop? 

Laura: Yeah, that’s amazing. And there’s probably a lot of exciting stuff to be looked into. I suppose like I said over the past three years, we’ve worked together as a partnership and I think we’ve always felt part of the products that you’ve been creating, are you able to just go into a little bit of detail of what we’ve been working on as a partnership and what exciting things we’ve helped develop? 

Kevin Scott: And I think it’s been in line with what we were just talking about really. The focus throughout the sort of relationships, a key initiative for us. It’s multi-year investment, it’s quite a broad programme of work for the business. It’s focused around something called the fund information.  We’ve just got a few different pods, but it’s ultimately that sort of unified cloud platforms that we can based on open architecture principles and then leverage these new sorts of advances in technology as they come in. I think we started out to be the foundation building that event backbone. It’s the value chain for everything that fits on it. Historically, we’ve done a lot of API work, but centralising that means we can have an event and then an API for someone to react to that event. And then to sort of layer on top of it that? I think it helps people sort of visualise what can sometimes be quite a hypothetical thing. It’s the portal, so that that kind of single pane of glass where we can bring in. A fully sort of connected experience with that sweet service for the client. We’ve really benefited from having you guys in and that sort of expertise that we get in several areas where we genuinely need support. Not just executing, but coming up with the best route to solve the problem, but there’s also the added benefit of we’re going to accelerate our development by putting in pods from Godel and it will help us hit the sort of targets that we had in the original business case for doing the work. 

I think at the moment the teams have kind of moved on, they’re leveraging those building blocks now. So part of the portal that we’re looking at now is rather than just modules for individual services, we’re looking at allowing clients to create a dashboard that, rather than being quite a narrow view of the world where you might log in and generate a document you could actually create a dashboard for yourself that has elements of data collection, has my data arrived? Is it up to date? Is it ready to produce my document and allow that sort of visualisation and flexible widgetized approach to then bolt on? OK, my data is ready and the event then triggers a document being produced, which is a notification that then allows a client to review it. So it’s kind of joining all of those dots that we’ve been building on throughout the relationship and living up to that vision of a single pane of glass that a client can use to either manage complex processes or really free up if they want to go into that full event driven mode, the sort of manpower that it takes to move from data provision, document production, distribution, post-publication, cheques it. It could be onerous if you’re trying to do that manually with people. 

Laura Ainscough: Yeah, absolutely. And I think our teams have always enjoyed this partnership because you’ve got a lot of client feedback, don’t you? Well, what is the beauty of this industry? And I suppose. They get to kind of complete that and then hear the feedback and the value that it brings automatically. 

Kevin Scott: Yeah, I mean, it’s fantastic. Now that we’re sort of getting out there and the fund information Hub is doing strategic for us, it’s what we’re offering for all of our big clients, new business, everything we’re delivering in that asset management space is now sort of funnelling towards the fund information hub as being the face if you like. I guess for the teams, it’s really nice to see a lot of hard work coming to fruition and it’s in front of people and hearing back not just what they like, but what they don’t like or have we thought of this idea? It’s co-creation, I think with some amount of lines that really now strive.  

Laura Ainscough: Really brilliant following on from what we’ve discussed and what we’ve been doing with the partnership, it would be really nice to understand what’s your favourite thing about being part of FE fundinfo/Godel Tech team?  

Kevin Scott: There’s so many things I could call out. I think it’s been a really good sort of partnership. The commitment, reliability, the organisation. We’ve obviously had quite a few teams working on different strands of work, but I think the one that really sticks out is the collaboration, so it’s not one team leaning and expecting things from one without it being the other way, and sort of learning together, what’s the best way to get that sort of business or tech goal that we’re aiming for. I think the teams all sort of get along, there’s good comradery, everyone’s communicating, sharing ideas and that sort of positive and supportive attitude I think on both sides of the partnership has been really good.  

Laura Ainscough: Yeah, great and we’ve also had some great informal meetings and chats and we’ve learned a lot of games from Poland and bringing them into from UK, India. Yeah.  

Kevin Scott: The quizzes are definitely a favourite, yeah.  

Laura Ainscough: We’ve learned a lot about each other. So this leads on quite nicely as we’ve actually been recognised for our partnerships and the other week were at the Computing Digital Technology Leaders Awards and we were nominated for Digital Project of the Year, which is probably credit to the team and the work that you guys do. It was a great night, sadly we didn’t win, but it’s obviously great to be recognised, isn’t it? It was a tough category and it was good to be well recognised. But I think it was nice to be in a room full of all those different businesses and obviously to see what they’ve been achieving. With events like the one that we went to, why do you feel they’re so important to the IT industry?

Kevin Scott: I couldn’t agree more that they are important to the industry. But I’d second it’s great just to get there and get shortlisted. I think that award being specific for companies that are using digital tech and looking for that competitive advantage kind of speaks to the fact that we’re producing innovative digital tools and it’s good for the teams. I think it helps our clients sort of recognise that we are out there, industry-leading, but it’s good I think as well, just as an opportunity to sort of recognise and celebrate what our people and teams have done, it’s not the winning it’s the taking part. But I think that sort of like you say it was a highly competitive category and I think it reflects a highly competitive industry. Technology doesn’t stand still, and the Asset Management world isn’t standing still that sort of changing landscape is a tough one to keep up with. But it’s our aim. We want to stay competitive. We want to step ahead of what our clients need and I think the nomination for the award really recognised this.

Laura Ainscough: Like you say it’s good to know what’s out there and what’s happening as well, so yeah it was a good evening. I suppose, like you say, it’s just good to be kind of keeping on top and kind of ahead of that industry, isn’t it? As it has been your first podcast, Kevin, how did that go?  

Kevin Scott: Yeah it was brilliant. 

Laura Ainscough: Well, thank you so much for coming on today it’s been brilliant to talk about the industry and especially what FE fundinfo are planning and keeping on that competitive edge and seeing what’s coming our way. Thank you so much. And thank you everyone for listening.  

Kevin Scott: Thanks a lot. 

[Outro] Laura Ainscough: Huge thank you to all the listeners out there who’ve listened to this instalment of the Godel pods. If you like what you hear and would like to know when we’re releasing even more episodes, please just subscribe to the Godel page on Podbean or Spotify.