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PwC & SunGard Endorse Data Standard From AltExchange

Momentum grows for AltExchange Alliance's global data standard for the alternative investment industry.

Four major players in the financial markets, PricewaterhouseCoopers, global equity investor AlpInvest, the technology and service vendor SunGard, and The Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA), have become the newest members of the AltExchange Alliance.

The AltExchange Alliance is a global private equity group committed to implementing a common data standard for sharing alternative investment information. The Alliance launched with 21 founding members in March 2013 and over the last year has formalized the standard by working across the breadth of the private equity sector firms with limited and general partners, consultants, and service providers.

Today, the common data standard is being used by nearly 50 firms in the Alliance, and each member contributes resources to the ongoing evolution of the standard. According to the press release, the Alliance's focus has shifted from formulating the standard to promoting its widespread adoption.

"This announcement is the next step up," explains Stuart Keeler, managing director of data services at eFront Financial Solutions and VP of AltExchange. "To have those four firms join and participate is a big step forward in terms of endorsement."

The standards aren't exactly revolutionary, Keeler adds. "The information is information that general partners already provide to investors today, but typically they provide it in PDFs or their own design of Excel. But if you're an investor with 500 fund positions you have to do a lot of re-keying of data, and so this helps with the automation."

“In defining common data standards and promoting their adoption, AltExchange will have transformational value for the alternative investment industry,” said Doug Morgan, president of institutional asset management at SunGard in the press release. “Many of AltExchange’s current members use our Investran private equity platform, and ultimately these standards will enable technology solutions to help increase efficiency and provide more insightful data and analytics.”

Firms producing this information and consuming it are typically eFront and SunGard clients. Their membership and support of the Alliance makes it easier for more members of the industry to participate.

Incoming member ILPA represents around 300 institutional limited partners and has been active for years in producing its own guidelines and best-practices for the industry. Keller says its endorsement brings momentum to standardizing data messaging and bringing in more members.

Becca Lipman is Senior Editor for Wall Street & Technology. She writes in-depth news articles with a focus on big data and compliance in the capital markets. She regularly meets with information technology leaders and innovators and writes about cloud computing, datacenters, ... View Full Bio

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Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
6/29/2014 | 3:01:41 PM
Re: Standards need backers
Agreed, Ivy. With the growth of alternative investments comes increased demand for efficiency, so it's likely a few standards are in development.  It will be interesting to see if other standards in the market start adding new big players to their user-list after this announcement, or if there's a run on standards joining forces with AltExchange like ILPA.
IvySchmerken
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IvySchmerken,
User Rank: Author
5/31/2014 | 1:39:20 PM
Standards need backers
This is a sign of the growth in altermatives and private equity investments. Private equity firms investing in other funds need ways to track their portfolio investments. The support of major players like Altinvest is important to a fledgling data standard. It's noted that users of the standard mainly use the eFront and SunGard platforms. It would be interesting to watch if this standard gains adoption outside of these 2 specific platforms.
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