COO at SEQVOIA
A journey to connected data
Data organisation is a challenge for all businesses, says SEQVOIA COO Susanne Schartz, but especially asset managers, who possess a wealth of data that needs to be centralised, taken out of silos, and made available to create additional customer value. And innovation, she adds, is only real when people buy it, otherwise it’s just research.
Can you present SEQVOIA and how it originated?
SEQVOIA is a dynamic, client-focused organisation that helps the financial industry deal with information challenges. Our technology creates value inside and outside our users’ companies, especially for their interaction with investors, distributors and regulators. It is a journey that is developing with the evolution of investment products but also adapts to the changing regulatory landscape – this is the age of regulation! – and expanding investor expectations. SEQVOIA was created in 2012 as a spin-off of Victor Buck Services with the aim of creating cutting-edge software for the financial industry. To achieve this, we have built a team of 25 industry experts who average 15 years of experience and share a credo of excellence.
In a context of digital transformation, how is your clients’ relationship with their own data evolving?
Digitalisation is not a new challenge for the financial industry: it has been digital, albeit in silos, for many years. An asset manager deals with a wide range of specialised software every day. The challenge is to build bridges between these silos and create a system in which data can be stored once – the golden copy - but shared consistently throughout the organisation. This sounds easy, but it is very complicated. Even small businesses struggle with the challenge of data being stored many times in multiple locations. It is much worse in asset management – replicating the same data over and over again creates costs, risk of errors and reputational damage and might confuse investors or shareholders. Today, data must be consistent for regulatory reasons, which is what drives the move toward data organisation. It’s a difficult task, but partners like SEQVOIA can help achieve it. Our solution brings the data together to create value inside and outside the company. Asset managers possess an immense amount of information, but they need to centralise it in a single source from which it can be output to a large number of diverse users. Maintaining access to this central information creates value and reduces risks.
How is SEQVOIA adapting to these developments?
An important buzzword today is innovation. At SEQVOIA, we look at this in the context of the fast-evolving needs of our clients, the skill-set of our team and the competitive landscape. This drives our constant acquisition of knowledge and new capabilities. When you are standing on a golf course on a hole that calls for a fade, for example, you cannot play it unless you analysed the shot and practised it many times. It is the same in business. What makes SEQVOIA unique is the very high level of expertise and commitment of the entire team, who is prepared to constantly learn, identify opportunities, and deliver solutions that work for our clients. Innovation for us is complete when we send an invoice; without that, it is just research. At SEQVOIA, we’ve understood that connected data is what the industry needs. So in the last year we went on the innovation journey: We have developed a product management solution that transforms asset managers into data-driven organisations, by digitalizing manual processes, managing product life cycle, and integrating data into the product value chain. It bridges data silos, creates connectivity and allows asset managers to turn data into knowledge. Innovation is a constant process – it takes focus, talent, and hard work - that’s what we do here, that is our journey.
Facts & Figures
Birth place: Trier
Languages: German, English, French
Hobbies: reading, cooking, salsa dancing
Towns: Lisbon, Vancouver
Places: anywhere in Portugal
Book: Raise high the roof beam, Carpenters by J. D. Salinger, Loitering with intent by Muriel Spark, The lover by Marguerite Duras
Restaurants: Akelarre, Chichel
Music: Salsa & Bachata music
Artwork (or artist): Annie Leibovitz, William Turner