Developing or enhancing an investment management website? Know your data feeds.
March 13, 2023 3 min read
As an investment management marketer, you know how important keeping your website up-to-date is to your organization. There are many branding, audience, UX, and reporting factors to consider.
The one area you may not think of right away is data feed integration. Since these feeds power the information used to research and make decisions about your solutions, you need to understand what’s involved with these integrations and make sure they’re set up and working correctly.
Your custodian may provide much of your data, such as pricing, holdings, and performance. But, you may generate some data internally and tap other providers for certain specialty data. Data feed integrations may also require data storage, which could involve your data warehouses and connections or partnerships with third party aggregators.
How do all these sources work together and get served up on your site?
Some of you have team members who will help you through the requirement discussions, while others of you may ask your site development and data partners to work it out. Whether you’re directly involved with data discussion details or not, here are a few best practices to keep in mind.
- Determine which data points will be shown. Each product type may have its own data requirements. Think about what you want to convey and keep compliance in mind. Determining the frequency of data updates will help organize what files are needed and when.
- Create a mapping document. Once you’ve identified the points you want to display, create a mapping document to help track changes, identify providers, and see where the info is coming from and when. Label the items clearly to aid in the discussion around data sourcing.
- Consult your data providers upfront. They have a wealth of information, so speak with them right away. Ask your custodian what they can provide and how. This will help identify what data is immediately available, what may need custom modifications, and if additional providers are needed. Integrating all the data into the fewest number of sources as possible can help minimize potential failure points.
- Ask for sample files. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes seeing a sample file can address questions, help identify any gaps you need to fill, or point out new opportunities. Revisit the mapping document to ensure everything is aligned.
- Keep asking questions. Unclear on how data will be pulled from files and displayed? Get clarification. There are no dumb questions.
- Make sure your developers and data providers are on the same page. Tech stack and file type requirement discussions will need to take place. Ensure any error reporting, notifications on missed timing of documents, and all requirements are being met and tested.
- Build in time. These systems can take longer than expected to review, source, and set up correctly. It can take up to 3-4 weeks to set things up across multiple business units.
- Fallbacks and Notifications, and Edge Cases. In most cases the data is an automated process so oversight, notifications, and fallback plans may be essential. Identify any edge cases, errors, or timing issues that should be flagged if something goes wrong. Things like bank holidays, after hours trading, and missing data or errors can be accounted for. A notification system can be built to alert you when something is off, and a manual process for intervening can be planned for.
Developing or enhancing your website is an important initiative that takes time and resources. These best practices are meant to help you optimize those resources and lessen any potential issues. We’ve built many financial websites and worked with several data providers. Our insights and experience can help you navigate the data feed web and tie it all together.