$26 Billion Asset Manager Diamond Hill Finds Efficiency and ‘Peace of Mind’ with Automated Investment Data Solutions by Synthesis
“I can’t stress enough how responsive the Synthesis team has been at every stage of our relationship, from kick-off and implementation, through the products’ launch. Even today, their team’s knowledge of the asset management industry, combined with their experience working with asset managers like us, has saved immeasurable time, money, and frustration. Synthesis arrived with solutions that were industry-tested and ready to go. The only questions were clarifying in nature; in other words, how could they best tailor their solutions to our needs. Once those were answered, the process was seamless.”
~ Lynette Hart, Director of Marketing, Diamond Hill
Diamond Hill, a multi-asset class investment management firm, was increasingly challenged by their quarter-end, data-related processes. The issues? Timeliness, accuracy, and resource allocation roadblocks during the busy quarter-end period.
After working closely with the firm’s marketing, compliance, and data teams, Synthesis:
- Provided an efficient data management system that streamlined the quarterly data verification process;
- Automated quarterly updates to the firm’s market-leading, institutional quality marketing collateral and website; and
- Significantly reduced opportunity costs, vis-à-vis the investment of internal employee resources every quarter, enabling the Marketing team to focus more exclusively on its core function of marketing.
Diamond Hill is a mid-sized investment manager with a focus on both retail and institutional markets. The firm offers more than a dozen products with approximately $26B in AUM (as of 8/31/22).
- Sales and marketing materials needed to be updated, verified, and prepped for distribution as quickly as possible with 100% accuracy;
- The process for verifying quarterly data was slow and needed improvement;
- Data-related workflow processes had to account for the scarcity of internal resources.
A solution that addressed these concerns in the most time-efficient manner was an imperative.
Like most asset management firms, Diamond Hill’s data management and distribution processes were long managed in-house. But as the firm grew its product offerings, data management and the quarter-end production process continued to increase in complexity making it more time intensive and cumbersome. It became clear that automating the process was the only long-term solution to the challenge, according to the firm’s director of marketing.
After exploring several options and working with different vendors, true automation remained elusive.
The software and process implemented by prior vendors did not match expectations, and the firm’s marketing team found itself continuing to invest significant time and capital manually verifying the data on marketing and sales collateral and ensuring previously made changes to fact sheet and pitchbook data sets and designs remained in place from quarter to quarter, which was not always the case.
These tasks sapped crucial firm resources from the compliance, sales, and marketing teams during the critical quarterly reporting period.
The Synthesis Solution:
Synthesis provided Diamond Hill with a time-tested, organized, hands-on and high-touch implementation process.
Over the course of the approximate 4-5 month implementation process for its fund and composite fact sheets, the initial 6-week period was the only time that meaningful internal resources had to be allocated to the implementation process:
“Kicking it off was probably [the most] burdensome [part] because we had to involve several people… this person over here had these data files, those people over there had those data files the technology team needed to be aware of what was happening. We had to get everybody in the same room and go over what data and files were used where and how Synthesis would need to receive the data so their systems could consume it. There were third parties involved as well including our CMS partner who needed to be involved.”
The firm’s marketing team noted that once Synthesis was able to establish connectivity between its systems and those of their data sources (to ensure a flawless movement of data across systems) minimal time was required from other departments.
Full automation occurred in tranches – the firm’s website and fact sheets were the top priority, with pitch books and sales aids coming later. At each stage of the automation process, trial runs were conducted to ensure data was consistently and accurately delivered to the firm’s collateral and website.
The number of individuals involved in reviewing data, materials and website pages at quarter-end has been reduced by nearly 30% and the timeline for completing the quarter-end process has been condensed meaningfully. The reliability, consistency and quality of Synthesis’ work enables the entire firm to feel more confident in the data and overall quality of materials being produced. And with automated data feeds to the website as well, the marketing team can be more hands-off when it comes to quarterly data management.
Lynette summarized Synthesis’ value proposition thusly:
“Peace of mind and the fact that we are so much more productive. We (marketing) were sales support before – there was minimal time to work on marketing priorities. The reduced stress and removal of the late nights during quarter-end also helps with retention and creates a better work life balance.
With the time freed up by automation, the firm’s marketing team was able prioritize and focus on value-add marketing initiatives, strengthening its position within the firm. Today, the team’s size has more than doubled compared to when Synthesis first partnered with them including adding resources in digital, content, and analytics. Lynette declared, thanks to Synthesis and the size of our team, “We are now a marketing machine.”
When asked if they recommend Synthesis to colleagues, she replied,
“Every day… I don’t know how you can afford not to partner with Synthesis.”