Future Focus Forum 2023
Bringing together the corporate, trust and funds services sector.
We are delighted to report that another highly successful Future Focus Forum took place on 12 October in central London. Once again, thank you to everyone who attended and sponsored the event.
Hosted jointly by TrustQuay and Viewpoint, this annual event brought together over 120 leading participants from the corporate, trust and funds services sector for a day of presentations, discussions, panels and networking. Also unveiled at the event were the findings of our latest Future Focus Report, our annual survey into the issues and opportunities facing the sector.
One topic that has rocketed up the agenda in this year's Future Focus Report is that of data quality, named in this year’s survey as the top business challenge facing firms, ahead of increasing efficiencies and reducing costs, and regulatory burden.
In an introductory session, Heath Davies, Robert Browning and Rolf Heemskerk introduced the latest survey results which included the finding that nearly half of firms are still relying on spreadsheets to manage client information, with two out of three firms saying improving data quality was a top priority for 2024.
A follow-on presentation by Adrian Ackers then outlined a series of step-by-step processes on how to navigate the data lifecycle, examining in more detail data governance, integrity and remediation, and the important role training and culture plays within organisations in order to improve data quality.
In the early afternoon, the topic of data quality was revisited in a session entitled “Turbo Talks” in which Ed Creswell moderated a panel discussion with guests Stuart Geddes from Ocorian, Estelle Spiers from Zedra and Naomi Rive from Highvern. In this session, the guest panellists spoke about their own particular business challenges relating to data, and stressed the importance of the “people factor” by making life easier for those people at the coalface of inputting data within an organisation.
Regulatory rigour & automate to accumulate
Our latest survey found that 96% of firms feel that the regulatory burden is continually increasing, with half of firms saying they need to invest more in technology to meet the increasingly digitalised requirements of regulators.
At this year's Forum, Rolf Heemskerk led a session with Jelly Chai and Tom Devlin from Riskscreen, which outlined some of the regulatory issues facing firms and best practice with regard to regulation, followed by a walk-through by the team of eFile Connect.
Later in the afternoon, Suzanne Pritchard and Chanel Choo provided a walkthrough of the features designed to improve efficiencies and reduce costs via a live demonstration of TrustQuay NavOne and Viewpoint Connect.
From mist to mastery – making the most of the cloud
This year's survey found that 77% of respondents believe firms will increasingly move away from on-premise software towards Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). This was picked up by Robert Browning in a session dedicated to SaaS, which also examined some of the visible and hidden costs involved when calculating the return on investment and savings delivered by SaaS over time.
Putting her faith in the venue's wifi signal, Suzanne Pritchard then gave a live demonstration on how to access and use TrustQuay Online in the field.
Unleashing AI – from Chats to Cha-Ching!
Looking to the future, Adrian Ackers delivered the last presentation for the day with a session on how AI could revolutionise the sector. Our survey found that the potential benefits of AI are already being recognised, with over half of respondents feeling that AI will increasingly have a positive impact on helping firms increase their data quality.
Examining how AI can be applied to solve problems, Adrian’s session covered generative AI and the different AI models that can be applied to tasks, the ethics of AI and the importance of retaining humans in the loop.
These presentations were followed by feedback from the teams that participated in the pre-event Hackathon in which four teams built and tested AI powered solutions to address de-duplication and migration, business intelligence, product support and telemetry. Solutions ranged from using Akkio as a means of interrogating time records using natural language prompts, through to how ChatGPT can be integrated into Business Central to provide responses to error messages generated by TrustQuay Online.
Following this, John Gamble and Stuart Richford of C5 Alliance gave a demonstration of the art of the possible by presenting a test case in which AI was used to help automate HR tasks such as booking holiday and ability to interrogate their own employee handbook to provide answers to staff questions without the need for human intervention.
Panel discussion on the topics highlighted in the Future Focus Report
The day was rounded off by a panel debate led by Paul White which started by asking the panel what technology they missed. Jeremy Swetenham favoured technology of yesteryear was the sound of the internet dial-up which certainly brought back memories for many. The panel then went on to discuss topics such emerging technologies they were exploring, how technology can support better data quality and provided some highlights of how technology had supported the need to be more efficient.
Thank you to our sponsors
We’d like to thank once again our sponsors for this year’s Future Focus Forum, whose support, input and involvement in our panel discussions has been crucial to the success of the event:
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