QMV Super Community - Data In The Superannuation Supply Chain



Last Wednesday QMV opened the doors to its monthly thought leadership session ‘QMV Super Community’. An oversubscribed and diverse delegate attendance gathered at Melbourne’s RACV club for a light lunch and to observe a panel discussion, moderated by QMV’s Managing Director – Mike Quinn, on the topic of ‘Data in the Super Supply Chain’. Providing valuable perspectives were four industry leaders representing an internally managed fund, an outsourced fund, a TPA and a technology and data vendor:

  • Shane Collister : Executive Manager Technology Projects, UniSuper

  • Michael Guilday: General Manager Investments Legal, CBUS

  • Elizabeth Hall-Walsh: CIO, Pillar Administration

  • Dr Alex Johnston: Director of Client Technology, Thomson Reuters


The discussion commenced with each panellist generously providing an overview of their respective data infrastructures, strategies and short, medium and long term challenges. The panel then tackled the definition of ‘Big Data’ and if it existed in the super supply chain. The consensus being that indeed it did exist, the most significant challenge is not the volume of data, but how to validate, normalise, store, access and connect it together.

Robust conversation ensued with insights including:

  • NO fund has yet reached ‘Big Data’ capability or benefits

  • Data is the key to understanding and retaining members

  • Funds are endeavouring to achieve a singular view of their members

  • Funds have a common challenge to aggregate disparate data sources to obtain meaningful information on which they can make informed decisions

  • Internalising of data sourcing, aggregating and storing can be advantageous to funds, so they can easily own, access, manipulate and govern data

  • Cost efficiencies can be realised by outsourcing administration functions, with the draw back being the associated cost and time to retrieve underlying data, when required

  • Operating data, should be isolated from core (transactional and processing) systems, with examples of ‘data mining’ bringing platforms “to their knees”

  • Funds or operations should be the owner of data, potentially not IT departments who do not necessarily have a full view of business requirements

  • Privacy and governance of data is an ongoing and significant challenge, as domestic law has not kept pace with data technologies and ways to collect, store and profile it

  • Anonymising data, can be an effective method for ensuring privacy and control of data

  • Identify the critical success objective when analysing data and define the process for obtaining it, otherwise the result will be masses of data, in the bottom of a muddy lake

As the clock moved past the hour, the panel moved onto new data technologies, with examples of current data projects advised in addition to the potential benefits of data innovation, inclusive of:

  • Cataloguing and tagging: knowing what data you have, need and how to label it

  • Automating data flows: mechanising streams of data to reduce cost and risk

  • Disparate data sets: connecting normalising data from differing sources and perspectives

  • Atomising data: methodology for breaking data into small pieces and sets

  • Cognitive computing: the ramifications of enhanced computing power

  • Vendors in the marketplace: no one-stop in the marketplace, best of breed providers

  • Generation ‘C’: potential behaviours of future generations

The community closed by taking questions from the audience and summarising that the key to a successful data strategy is to understand your needs pertaining to: VelocityVolume, and Veracity

QMV thanks both the panellists and delegates of October’s ‘Super Community’ and looks forward to the next session, scheduled for Q1 2017.

Best regards


Michael Wilcox
Business Development Manager