The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Opus Nebula is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | OPUS NEBULA
Andrew Sherlock and Shawn
Obery, founding directors
Effective and efficient client reporting is continuing to emerge
as a key tool for maintaining and increasing client business.
Opus Nebula, formed in 2014 and based in the City, offer a
sole solution: Reporting as a Service. It reinvents how investment
management firms undertake this critical function. Enabled by
recent technological leaps, it allows investment firms to benefit
from significantly reduced implementation timeframes, lower cost,
reduced operational risk and improved reporting. Lower barriers to
entry, higher quality and greater flexibility and scale, coupled with
fully automated reporting processes, allow them to bring world-
class reporting to a broader spectrum of investment firms. Andrew
Sherlock, one of Opus Nebula’s founding directors, wonders if it is
a solution that will become the de-facto standard in time.
Often, we read about technology solving a problem that doesn’t yet exist. In this
case, however, the technology definitively resolves the challenges emerging from the
next generation of client reporting needs.
I have lived through a number of similar technology-led transitions, moving from
manually prepared and hand-typed schedules to an era of in-house tailor-made
reporting solutions. It was not until the turn of the millennium that the need for
investment firms to individually build their own systems was finally negated. Each
evolutionary step provides the following benefit over any predecessor system:
»Reduced total cost of ownership
»Improved operational efficiency and
»Improved client reporting and client
Our solution is the next step on this path, underpinned by the core systems and
expertise that have come before. Coupled with cloud technology and online delivery,
the solution we can deliver becomes extremely compelling.
With each step forwards, the benefits of the new solution are increased, and the
hurdles to adoption lowered. With Reporting as a Service, the high levels of reporting
flexibility, automation and scalability become available and affordable to investment
firms of all sizes, not just to those with deep pockets.
Our solution minimises initial set-up costs; the core platform is already built and only
requires configuration to meet individual client needs. The entire system is securely
hosted in the cloud, so there is no technical infrastructure required for the client. The
multi-tenant structure of the system maximises operational efficiency, manages risk
and provides appropriate separation and segregation of data. Robust interfaces and
powerful data loaders are pre-built and configured for each firm’s data sources, and
automatically load the data into our specialist reporting data mart.
Data validation checks are configured to ensure data quality and completeness.
Additionally, we have templates that create reports with the precise content, layout
AT A GLANCE
»Founding directors: Andrew
Sherlock and Shawn Obery
»Established in 2014
»Based in the City of London
»Services: Lean, efficient
client servicing and reporting
»No. of employees: Fewer than
»Pay-per-use business model
»100 per cent paperless
»Entirely cloud-based solutions
provided for all firms
29OPUS NEBULA |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
and branding of each client. Finally, our
automated distribution system ensures
that each completed report reaches the
correct recipient. This entire end-to-end
process is implemented with maximum
efficiency and minimum cost.
On-boarding typically takes between
four and eight weeks, rather than the
six to twelve-plus months normally
required for an equivalent in-house
build. The set-up costs are similarly
scaled and significantly more affordable
to all, including smaller investment
firms who may not otherwise be able to
access such a solution.
Ongoing report production costs
thus benefit from the high level of
automation provided by the system and
the flexible, cost-effective nature of the
cloud. It becomes far more efficient
over the traditionally high fixed costs of
an in-house model.
Thanks to these efficiencies, we are able
to offer a pay-per-use model regardless
of whether the business is producing a
handful of reports each period, or tens
of thousands of reports per year. We can
ensure our solutions are affordable for
any organisation that might requirethem.
Improved efficiency and
Many firms continue to operate with
a hybrid reporting model: this sees
automated processes supplemented
with often arduous or time-consuming
manual procedures. Reporting as a
Service automates the end-to-end
process while the workflow processes
enforce business best practice.
The automated audit trail that our system
generates keeps track of how each
individual element has been created,
reviewed, authorised and distributed. This
is a key element in satisfying regulatory
demands and reporting controls.
Improved client reporting and
Our solution allows the investment
firms’ own teams to manage and control
the reporting process, while delivering
scale and capacity with improved quality
and dispatch timeliness. The time firms
gain allows them to more effectively
service clients rather than sacrificing
hours producing reports manually.
The flexibility of the underlying engine
allows for all reporting requirements to
be automated. As the industry moves
towards more personalised reporting for
each individual client, any system used
requires report templates to dynamically
flex based on a number of underlying
factors including the nature of the
client, their investments and other
Above all else, we believe that
investment firms should be doing what
they do best – managing money and
servicing clients. If their time is spent on
various attempts to be a client-reporting
IT solution provider, it detracts from
what they should be doing, and what
should be most profitable for them. The
Opus Nebula solution allows firms to
exercise best practice, ensure their focus
is in the right place and continue to
build a business appropriately equipped
for the 21st century.
The financial services sector is presently
faced with the demand for increasingly
sophisticated reporting, combined with
a requirement to reduce costs and risk
– this combination might have seemed
unreachable to many until now. Our
solution transforms client reporting
within the sector as a result of advances
in the application and use of cloud
We intend to remain lean. The nature
and model of our business does not
require a sprawling base of employees
– we are 100 per cent paperless, and
thus require no bank of dedicated
administrative staff or expensive
office space. Opus Nebula will, in the
future, remain lean, streamlined and
affordable, allowing us to provide the
Reporting as a Service solution as an
accessible response to many investment
firms’ needs for years to come.
Reporting as a Service:
securely hosted in the cloud
and accessible from any
should focus on
clients, and not
try to be an
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.