St. James’s Place is a FTSE 100 company, with over £100 billion of client funds under management. The company is known for providing highly personalized, face-to-face wealth management services to individuals, trustees, and businesses. St. James’s Place was looking for a modern data integration platform that could enable the company to comply with rapidly changing financial regulations in the EU and the UK.
Changing Data Regulations for the Financial Industry
The key challenge that led St. James’s Place to Denodo was a European legislative framework called MiFID II, which is aimed at regulating financial markets, increase the transparency of costs, improve the record-keeping of transactions, and strengthen data protection for investors. Before MiFID II became enacted, St. James’s Place had to start preparing for it. “MiFID II is the core of our business,” explains Barney Eccleson, senior data engineer at St. James’s Place. “Every client needs to know how we are managing their funds, to prove that we are delivering good value for the money.
The company also took a hard look at its cloud infrastructure, and realized that many of the data sources were separated into silos, which meant that many reports required time-consuming data integration efforts, increasing development time. “Within AWS we had a fairly fractured historical data landscape,” says Eccleson. “We offer a wide variety of products, and many of them come from different systems and databases. We also use a range of different reporting tools.”
Virtual Data Marts to the Rescue
St. James’s Place implemented the Denodo Platform as a virtual data mart because the company was specifically interested in the client data and fund data. This data is published in annual regulatory reports for end clients, which contained a summary of the client’s costs and charges data. This annual customer report is the biggest mailing that St. James’s Place performs, and all of the data for it comes from the Denodo Platform. St. James’s Place leveraged the Denodo Platform to establish an XML-based unified semantic layer between the different data sources and the reporting environment. As Eccleson describes it, “The print engine, which produces many of our reports, has to satisfy a list of stringent requirements, so they need pre-defined XML. In front of the print engine, we needed our single source of the truth, before it can convert that data into the needed outputs.” Such outputs include an annual MiFID II costs and charges report, a biannual retirement contribution summary, a quarterly valuation statement, and a biannual retirement investment and withdrawal summary.
By implementing the Denodo Platform, St. James’s Place gained:
- One annual wealth accounting report used to require five days of preparation, but after implementing the Denodo Platform, the same report can be developed in a single day.
- St. James’s Place performed an extensive migration behind the scenes, without the slightest interruption to daily data access, operations, or service delivery.
- Streamlined regulatory compliance. The Denodo Platform made it considerably easier for St. James’s Place to maintain compliance with the stringent requirements of MiFID II.